During the months of March and April Jeff and I are the primary workers at Three Sisters. Just like each of the past nine springs, we are hard at work getting the farm into motion to provide food for you, our members and supporters. You-all along with our family and friends have been at the forefront of our minds as we enter this new phase in physical isolation I(Kelly) have personally taken up the practice of sending out loving kindness to anyone I can visualize in my evening meditations.
The first round of greenhouse seeding has already happened: the onions are up and looking good. They’ll be transplanted in another month. In the hoophouses peas are seeded and up -- we always aim for these to be ready for our first boxes at the beginning of June -- and we are busily preparing beds which will soon be filled with greens and radishes, and then with tomatoes and cucumbers. So far it has been fairly dry (a welcome relief from last fall!) and we are well-prepared and excited for the year.
In May we begin to welcome more help at the farm. Food safety and the health and well-being of everyone connected to our farm has always been a high priority for us. In the current times this takes on new meaning. We continue to monitor the situation and stay current with recommendations for sanitation and social contact that are coming our way. Because we are a small farm with an amazing network of human resources--with some creativity--we can always make adjustments to our dropsite pickups where necessary to make sure that you receive your scheduled deliveries of fresh produce this summer.
Just like every year at this time, spring is returning to Wisconsin. The robins(blissfully unaware of COVID-19) are dancing around the yard and fighting over worms, the maple sap has stopped flowing (we got several quarts cooked down this year!), the rhubarb is poking up and, just the other day, we were awed by the beautiful sight of sixty or more sandhill cranes flying and trumpeting in formation overhead. In the wake of rapid changes in the lives of those surrounding us right now the rhythmic connection with the returning spring feels like a real blessing.
While it may be a little early to say for sure, we are cautiously optimistic about the 500 fruit trees we planted last spring. We did the best we could to protect these: a deer fence seems to have kept the deer from snacking on branches, and individual tree guards (many installed by volunteers) seem to (mostly) have kept the field mice or voles from girdling the bark. The other day we replaced a few trees that died with some we held back in a nursery bed. Now, this year we’ll shift modes: we made a huge amount of compost which we’ll apply to help the trees grow strong and healthy; and we recently scored a boatload of woodchips, which will serve as mulch to help roots grow deep and unencumbered. Healthy trees will (fingers crossed!) yield healthy, nutrient-dense organic fruit… in maybe four years.
Finally, if you or someone you know has experienced a sudden change in income and is a CSA member or considering joining the CSA please consider contacting us about our assistance fund. We have funds available to subsidize the cost of a CSA share that have been contributed by our members.
We sincerely hope you and your families are healthy and warm. Let us know if you have any questions about the upcoming season. We’ll be updating you in the coming weeks as we near the start of deliveries at the end of May/early June. Until then --
With courage and calm,
Farmers Jeff and Kelly
Jeff Schreiber has been farming organically for 10 years. In 2011 he started Three Sisters Community Farm with his wife, Kelly.