We think 2023 is going to be a great year on the farm! Whether you are brand new to the farm or have been a member for a long time there will be much to look forward to. This year we are trying out two new crops: broccolini and truss tomatoes. We are planning to begin deliveries in the beginning of June and we will send out more detailed specifics about everything you need to know as the first delivery approaches. We met our membership goal in early March, but we are still accepting worker shares. If you know anyone interested in working at the farm to pay for their veggies, have them contact Alyx, the farm volunteer coordinator at email@example.com for more information.
We’ve been picking up the pace here and the work days are starting to get longer. We’ve filled the greenhouse with seedlings, prepped and planted in the hi-tunnels and last week we were able to spread lots of compost and prep outdoor fields for planting. We even seeded some crops (peas, carrots, beets, spinach, cilantro, and assorted greens) hoping that the rain and snow will help the seeds sprout. The garlic, which overwinters, is up and looks great, and the trees started to leaf out last week. We are keeping the transplants in the greenhouse until the long-range forecast looks more stable. The first transplants that go in every year are the onions. We are super duper excited that staff member, Anna, has decided to put the farm's old beekeeping equipment to use this year. It gave us the impetus to sort through all the boxes. Anna will be installing two packages of bees in early May at the farm.
We have been in the process of converting the well at our rental property from running off a generator to running on electricity from the grid -- a process that we began in the fall of 2021 and has been subject to Murphy’s Law since its inception! It is taking much longer than anticipated for a number of reasons, but we received confirmation this week that the installation will be done by May 6th. For us, this is something to celebrate, especially since last fall the well was wired so that it can no longer run off a generator. There have been so many delays that we know not to celebrate until we have running water. We’ve been farming long enough to know that it’s not a good idea to grow vegetables unless you have a way to water them when needed.
This year we are putting more energy into making the food we grow available to people who wouldn’t be able to afford purchasing it. In addition to our share a share program which many of you generously contributed to that makes funds available to support the purchase of CSA shares for families who might not be able to otherwise afford it, this past week we received a $5,000 grant from the Wisconsin Local Food Purchase Assistance Program. This grant will reimburse our farm for donations that we make to food pantries of tomatoes, cabbage, kale, chard, scallions, summer squash, and carrots. We had already set a goal to donate $4,000 worth of assorted produce, so now our goal is set around $10,000.
Historically, almost all the veggies we deliver to members in June come out of our hi-tunnels. Kelly, who manages the hi-tunnels is always relieved when we can plant in the fields by mid-April because if crops do well in the fields early it can supplement the offerings and make for a stronger start to the season. We felt that the soil temperatures were high enough last week to take a chance seeding in the fields-even though snow was in the forecast. It will be a while before seeds germinate and we can see if our efforts were worth it.
Spring can be hit or miss with field plantings because of unpredictable weather. We have been known to lose entire plantings in the fields this time of year overnight which can be disappointing. We try not to dwell for too long on the losses and instead focus on how we can adjust our planting schedule moving forward to make sure we are able to have a variety of harvestable crops each week.