Ahead in this newsletter blog…
- Weather or Not
- Only a few CSA shares left!
- Online signup: it’s new, easy, and helps busy farmers…
- Community Shares go electronic
- Meet the New Crew
- A letter from the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust
What’s going on at the farm these days? Plenty. The past two weeks have been clipping along like a train on schedule. Our new farm crew is getting their feet under them and together we have opened several acres, planted a long list of crops, and even set up our irrigation system (which we used today – a first in the nine Aprils we’ve been here). All of the plants both in the greenhouse and in the field look great and if the weather continues (or even goes back to normal) we’ll be looking at an amazing year.
Everywhere we go, people have been asking how this warm weather is impacting our plans in the fields. The warm dry weather has allowed us to get ahead in the fields and naturally, it has also allowed the fields to get ahead as well. Weeds like shepherds purse and campion are blooming almost a week early and we have our first pests arriving to the table early as well with flea and click beetles making an April appearance for the first time in our experience. The sheep are getting restless in the barn, especially those ewes that look out over the greening pastures. We may start grazing this month as well – which would be yet another first.
There are two ways to think about all of these early developments. One is to take them in stride and hope for a great year. The other is to wring your hands and wait for the other shoe to drop. Like most farmers, we are optimists who temper a sunny view of the world with a teaspoon of worry and many helping of preparation. Part of the satisfaction of getting so much done early is the it allows time later for adapting to bumps in the road that will surely come next week or next month.
Only a few CSA shares left!
As the season has arrived early, so have most of our CSA shares for this year. If you are thinking about joining or just haven’t gotten in touch with us yet please click the Join Our CSA button at the farm webpage and follow the easy online sign-up process. As always payment plans are available.
Online Sign-up: It’s new, easy and helpful to busy farmers.
If you have signed up in the past six weeks you’ve seen our new online sign-up system. For the uninitiated, its a fast easy way to sign-up pay and follow share balance. This system has already helped us keep up with all of the administrative duties of managing multiple payments from all of you. You can sign up online and continue to mail in your checks, and we also can now take electronic checks, credit cards for your share! Check it out if you haven’t already…
Community Shares Go Electronic
We expanded our community share program this year by making electronic donations available via our website. This program is in cooperation with Midcoast Hunger Prevention Program who matches us up with local families that may not be able to afford a CSA share. Your donations are matched by us to offer shares at the farm in Brunswick. Last year we had three families who participated. Already this season we have five shares with more donations coming in each week. Many thanks to those of you who have given so far.
Meet the crew!
We have an all new crew this year. We welcome Ailish, Courtney, Mike, Jacqueline, and Phil. Phil is currently a junior at Bowdoin College. He has been waking up early a few mornings to join us for our 6:00 am starts before classes. Once school is on break for the summer, he’ll be with us full time. The other four are settling in to our long work days, learning the tractors, seeding, tilling, transplanting, field planning, irrigation, fencing…a ton of learning for the first two weeks. As we’ve had in the past, we have a group of smart, hard-working, college graduates who are motivated to learn as much as they can about growing food. We’ve had a stellar first couple weeks with them. As you can see below, we’ve also practiced the importance of supporting our downtown and community with a trip to Gelato Fiasco’s successful People Plus Fundraiser.
A message to Crystal Spring Farm CSA members from the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust (BTLT):
As a member of the Crystal Spring Farm CSA, you probably are more intimately acquainted with this beautiful piece of land than most people in our area. But did you know that Crystal Spring Farm is owned by the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust? And did you know that the BTLT created and now maintains the wonderful system of trails that winds through the farm property on both sides of Pleasant Hill Road, in addition to extensive trail systems at the Skolfield Preserve in Brunswick and the Bradley Pond Farm and Cathance River Nature Preserves in Topsham? And did you know since 1985 the BTLT has preserved over 1,900 acres of farmland, forest, fields, and shoreline in Brunswick, Topsham, and Bowdoin?
Crystal Spring Farm was conserved in 1998 through the dedication of the BTLT and generous support from the people and businesses of Brunswick. It quickly became an invaluable community resource, hosting farm days, pumpkin tosses, sledding, and other outdoor activities for the public. In 2003, BTLT’s commitment to local agriculture led us to Seth and Maura, who lease the farm and run their farming operation independently. Through this relationship, BTLT’s dream of restoring the agricultural potential of Crystal Spring Farm was realized, and we all benefit from Seth and Maura’s careful, sustainable stewardship of this jewel in Brunswick’s agricultural crown.
If you appreciate the relationship with Crystal Spring Farm that your CSA membership affords you, we hope you’ll show equal appreciation for the organization that saved this farm from development and made the Crystal Spring Farm CSA possible by becoming a member of the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust. Joining is easy. You can do it online or by downloading our membership form and sending it in with your check.
Many of you are already members of the Land Trust, and if you are, we thank you. If not, there’s no better time than now to become part of this organization. A generous friend of the Land Trust is currently matching new memberships dollar for dollar, so if you join now your membership will go twice as far, leveraging grant money and providing funds to safeguard the BTLT’s stewardship of Crystal Spring Farm and its other properties, and to help us protect additional farmland and open space near the farm and elsewhere in the Brunswick-Topsham area.
Click here to learn more about the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust.
We look forward to seeing you out at the farm! And, please Join Now!