Wednesday, January 31, 2018

2018 Shares: Come and Get 'Em!


2017  mid-season share. Snag your 2018 shares here!

Each year promises new adventures on the farm, but there's a foundation that grounds us--deepening familiarity with the land along with stewardship to help the soil get richer and healthier. 2018 marks our fifth year farming the same land in Winfield, and we have some important changes in the works based on said familiarity.

Every year has its own challenges and successes. We excelled at shell bean production in 2015, including our beloved bush Lima bean, but struggled on the bean front for the next two seasons. 2016 delighted us with a fantastic strawberry crop and our best summer and winter squash crops to date. 2017 was our best fresh and shell pea crop, but a complete loss of our winter squash and melons. There is always an ebb and flow. But we can see patterns, and the culprit behind several crop losses is weed pressure (which is the no. 1 labor demand on a small chemical-free farm like ours).

So what's a farmer to do? These farmers are investing in a four-wheel tractor. A full-size tractor will not only allow us to work the soil in a far more efficient way (what takes us days to do with our walk-behind tractor will take only a matter of hours with a traditional tractor), but we can also weed quickly using the great beast. Truthfully, we've been hesitant to get more mechanized because such a giant machine compacts the soil (and our focus has always been primarily on soil health). But since this land has been coming back to life, so have the weed seeds that have been buried for decades. Weed pressure is no joke on this plot, so we feel the trade-off is worth it.

In addition to a tractor, we are also investing more heavily in another weed fighter, biodegradable film (made from corn), for crops like winter squash, onions, and melons (it covers the ground and prevents weeds from growing around the crops). We used said film in 2016 and saw our best production of many of these crops. We were mostly unable to lay it down this previous season and saw minimal to no production on onions and squash. So, we intend to rectify that this year.

We start every year hopeful, but this year marks our biggest investment in this hope. The audacity! Join us this year as we strive to be even better. Snag yourself a share right here--we'd love to have you as members and, equally important, supporters of our small farm.

Returning members, we offer our gratitude! New members, we advise you to check out our blog thoroughly, especially our CSA Info tab, to make sure our shares are right for you.