Gratitude

As the season winds down I am grateful to have received some lovely emails from members and neighbors who enjoy sharing in my harvests and appreciate the beauty and bounty of the fresh food I deliver. Here are a couple of the messages I received

~ Hello Neighbor!

 Holy cats. Those are just beautiful tomatoes! Thank you so very much…

 Have a great rest of your week! Cheers, J ~

Hi Susanne,

Thank you for the email informing us, and thank you for all your work starting this up. I commend you (actually that’s understating it – I’m in awe of you) for entering the risky world of CSA farming and doing a mountain of work – not to mention successfully providing a year of delicious veggies! Please keep me on the contact list if you start up in another location. My husband Bill and I would love to continue to support your efforts starting up a farm. Take care,  Celesre .M. and Bill S. ~

Dear Susanne,

I apologize for my slow reply. But I’m so sorry to hear that this has been a difficult season. And I’m even sorrier to hear that Kate is selling her farm, and that you won’t be able to continue next year. We’ve very much enjoyed our season with you and have loved the many delicious vegetables you’ve provided. Thank you for all you’ve put into this–your work and care have been much appreciated.  Daniel and I look forward to these final few weeks of the CSA, and then we wish you all the best for for what comes next…

With gratitude, Erik ~

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Tomatoes

Every size shape amd color of tomato you can imagine! What fun to harvest even just a small-ish basket full for the end of summer bash for the folks at the assisted living where I work part time. 

A Season Review

I have been facing a bunch of difficulties here on the farm that are trying my creativity and abilities to say the least… Torrential rains and relentless critters munching away on my crops are just some of the influences that I am grappling with. Plants not growing or not producing crops is another challenge I am learning to deal with – calling on fellow farmers in the area who are willing to share their extras with me, or even buying things like sweet corn since mine was a complete loss.

There are many differences to Kate’s CSA besides number of members and her many years of experience. There were always 6 or 7 helpers on the farm, and a lot of action everywhere throughout the day.

I am here by myself, there is much less activity. It is quiet and peaceful and apparently quite inviting to the overflow of deer and rabbits and rodents that mess with my stuff 😉 And much less (wo)manpower to do the work.

In essence, running a CSA is quite an undertaking. And while I enjoy the work and farming very much, I have my share of disappointment and frustration with the things that don’t go well. I still am proud of the beautiful food I grow and the full bags I deliver.

I had big plans for my CSA – fun festivals on the farm, volunteer days throughout the season, scavenger hunt on and around the farm… But all these plans were derailed and fell flat as time progressed. Too few members right from the start, insurance limitations, Kate’s decision to move in spring, preparing for her move early in the season, and finally her move and decision to sell the farm… Things did not turn out as planned at all.

So now that Kate has moved to California and decided to sell the farm, I will be finishing my season here in early fall, and depending on the sale and new folks moving in, will probably stay on through winter to look after things here. This means of course that my CSA on Kate’s land is shorter lived than I initially planned. I am not certain where I will settle next year and whether I will have the opportunity to continue my CSA on another farm.

I thank all my members for their trust and giving me the wonderful opportunity to grow and deliver vegetables this summer. A big thank you also to my lovely drop site hosts! I appreciate all the support and feedback this season! And I regret not having had the chance to have everybody out here for the hands on festivities everyone enjoyed so much with Kate. And to continue growing with everybody through the seasons I hoped would follow this one.

Farm Fresh

There is nothing better than farm fresh.  Here is such a good meal in one “small” batch… Just add chicken breast or bacon or trout… Yum.

I love raising colorful food. And flowers. And this year I have a thing for purple… From purple peppers to purple poppy, things are just looking gorgeous. Hmm… Wonder if there are chickens that lay purple eggs 😉

Weather aside…

There is spring in the air and great progress in the greenhouse! As in nature, where the first wild flowers are adding spots of color to the greener and greener surroundings. To my delight I spotted a large patch of violets happily abloom along the driveway! And in the greenhouse, another batch of seeds I feared lost is finally poking its needlepoint-tiny buds through the soil.

Despite early hiccups with that batch of bad soil that fried my first big set of seeds and set me back about three weeks, things are now growing nicely and rapidly and we are moving right along. Luckily there is a wonderful community of farmers working together and trading seeds, seedlings, and advice is the name of the game.

The first phase of deer fence is up around the garden, next comes the netting to keep those smarty-nosed dears from just walking right through the lines… But I will leave that tedious task for a dry and more pleasant day.

A new bigger hoophouse is going up, replacing the small “pepper shack”… This one is literally twice the size and with double siding offers opportunity for an extended season… Aaaah the possibilities.

I love this place…

Water

I remember years ago, I was living in Los Angeles at the time, wondering why we had to pay for water and why it cost so much. And reading reports about how dirty our tap water actually is… Bacteria, fecal particles, skin and other bio matter and all kinds of icky stuff that was found in the water we so readily drink straight from the tap. And that is served to us in restaurants, hotels and eateries everywhere.

Considering the source of our water in LA, as in most other metro areas, are reservoirs of used water, recycled over and over… Water that ran through sinks and bath tubs and car washes and toilets, ran down sewers and eaves and dirty sidewalks … Recycled and returned to us.

Oh the money we spend on water filters and bottled mountain spring water to reassure us that we drink clean, healthy water. Sucking on our water bottles 24/7 believing that we need to replenish our bodies continuously… While in reality we are feeding our bodies the very dirt, germs and bacteria we so desperately try to protect ourselves from with all the soaps and foams and sprays we can find.

Out here in the country, things are simpler for sure. First of all, getting dirty is a promise, and nobody bothers with antibacterial soaps. We embrace nature and our bodies naturally adjust, as they are designed to. Our water comes straight from an underground vein through a sand point well. Off and on we stop at a natural spring in the woods to fill up water bottles for drinking. The water there is so clean and fresh, and now with temperatures below zero, ice cold, even the best commercial copy writer could not capture the taste in words.

And best of all: it’s free. Cheers!