Currently viewing the category: "2017 Newsletters"
  Summer has arrived we are clicking along here at the farm. Slow spring or not we are planning for another productive season. Crops from arugula to zucchini are in the ground with more filling in the fields everyday. This last week we put up our tomato tunnels and set out 850 heirloom and beefsteak plants. Sweet and hot peppers will go in soon as well as eggplant, cucumbers, our second succession of spinach and upic flowers.

Shares Still Available!

We have shares available for both Brunswick and our delivered CSA. If you've been waiting to sign up, a great time to get on board is now!  Please also tell your friends about our fresh organic produce, picking flowers in the upic field, eating with the seasons, or whatever you love most about your farm share. It has been a reluctant spring. Dreary days that slow to warm have been the norm. But all of that is behind us and no matter what is happening in the turbulence of our local, state, or federal political scene you still have to eat and you might as well eat great food. Here's the sign-up links for both Brunswick and delivered shares.

When does it start?

It's a bit early to make a hard prediction of our start date. As always we plan and plant to harvest the first week of June but we will know more after another week of real growing weather. Stay Tuned...we will keep you informed of start dates via email.

Add-ons

We have an amazing line-up of add-on shares for you this season. Cheese from 5 different Maine creameries, Maine-raised mushrooms, artisan bread from James Beard award winning Standard Baking, delicious farmstead yogurt, pastured organic eggs, and new this year, our on-farm flower bouquet share. In addition, Brunswick members can order fresh Maine landed fish delivered to the farm. Follow this link for more information on adding these great shares to your weekly produce.

Like to watch your produce growing?

Follow us on instagram @crystalspringcsa for regular photo posts of what we are up to and beautiful shots of the food that is soon to be on your table.

New Member Orientations

New to the farm this year? Come out to the farm on Saturday June 3rd at 3:00 p.m. or Sunday June  4th at 3:00 p.m. to meet the farmers, see the lay of the land, and learn the ins and outs of being a member. See some behind the scenes stuff and best of all meet our new piglets! Don't worry if you can't make one of these times, we are happy to show you the ropes when you come for our first pick-up.  

Seeding flats in the barn and out of the 90 degree heat

 
We are fully underway! After a very slow and cold April we have been in the fields for the past few days. When spring doesn't follow the schedule we get a backlog in the greenhouse as the seedlings wait to go in the ground. Last week every square foot of space was filled by plants and we were hatching plans like using mirrors to redirect sunlight on the snow still covering many fields. Luckily we were able to import some Florida weather for a few days and thaw out!

Open Fields!

The crew has been working hard planting beets, chard, spinach, broccoli and cabbage the past few days. This time of year as the weather swings up and down planting also means covering with large fabric row covers to protect the seedlings from both temperature swings and numerous pests that emerge and have little else to eat but our tender crops. This step slows the process of planting our backlog of seedlings but Virginia, Alessia, Sarah and I have been powering through. There is nothing more exciting than trying to get a 40 by 350 foot piece of fabric to lay down in fifteen mile and hour winds at the end of the day. All in all, even with the slow release of winter's grip this year, we are on track to begin harvesting for all of you the first week or June.

Shares Going Fast...

We still have both Brunswick and Portland-area delivered shares available although they have been going quickly the last week as everyone realizes winter is actually going to end this year. As always please sign up online (look for the green and orange buttons to the right of this page) where we have payment options.

Add-on the Best of Maine

In  addition to vegetable share there are also some great add-on shares to make your weekly trip to the farm or delivered box even more satisfying. These are products that we love and want to share with all of you. Here's a list of this season's add-ons and the farms/artisans that produce them. Sign-up for them all here!
  • Farmstead Yogurt Share: Cream at the top style from grass-fed Guersey cows at Wholesome Holmstead Farm, Manchester, Maine
  • Farmstead Cheese Share: Hard and soft cheeses from Winter Hill Farm, Tide Mill Creamery, Wholesome Holmstead Farm and Barred Owl Creamery
  • Organic Egg Share: Brown eggs from pastured hens at Sparrow Farm, Pittston, Maine
  • Organic Mushroom Share: Maine grown organic mushrooms from Mousam Mushroom Co. in Sanford, Maine (new grower this year)
  • Artisan Bread Share: Rotating Artisan Loaves from Standard Baking Co. in Portland (recent James Beard Award winner)
  • Late Fall Vegetable Share: Our own storage and greenhouse produce November-December
  • Fresh Fish: Order fresh fish weekly from Port Clyde Fisherman's Coop and pick it up with your share.
  • Flower Bouquet Share: New this year!

Abundant Bouquets along with your produce! The best Mother's/Father's Day Gift!

This year we are offering lush flower bouquets each week with you share. For twelve weeks from late June-September your bouquets will be cut and arranged from our dedicated flower garden (not upic). Anemones, exotic poppies, dahlias and sweet peas are just a few of the varieties. A weekly bouquet as a gift for your Mother or Father on their day will knock their socks off! This is a starter project by dedicated crew member and second year farm apprentice Virginia. More info and sign-up here.    
 
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    Spring is right around the corner here at the farm. Even though the snow is falling today (heavily) it won't stay around for too long and in no time the plants in the greenhouse will be out in the field and the season will be underway. As the farm comes out of its quiet season we have lots to talk about.
  • 2017 CSA sign-ups
  • Add-on shares
  • What's happening these days at the farm

Sign-up for 2017 Shares

Thanks for all of the sign-ups for 2017 so far. Our new online payment system has worked like a charm with both full payments and the payment plan. If you haven't signed up yet click here. As always you have the option of paying online or sending us a check.

Add-on Share Sign-up Open:Add Great Local Food to Your Produce Each Week

Our 2017 add-on shares are now available for sign up. Eggs, yogurt, bread, mushroom and cheese are all listed and look for a note in the next week about flower bouquet shares as well. These shares are an easy way to add unique and outstanding products from our local farm/artisan friends to your weekly share. Follow this link for more info and to sign-up.

Fish at the Farm

We have partnered with a fisherman' cooperative to offer fresh fish picked up at the farm every Friday. Starting in June you can preorder from their long list of ground fish (plus crab and shrimp) and take home you catch with your produce. Order whenever you like and pay each time right on their website. Fish will be delivered on Fridays by 3pm. Here's a link where you can sign-up for a weekly email listing what they are landing and how to pay.

The Farm Transitions...

Once the sun melts off all this new white stuff we are ready to kick into high gear. As always our first task outside is turning over ground from late last season, adding fertility (either with compost or organic fertilizer) and forming up new beds. By burying last years debris and turning up dark aerated soil help the ground warm faster, which is the only thing I use as a gauge as to when to start planting. Soil temperatures have become my touchstone in this new age of hyper-changable weather. I liken this standard to swimming in Maine. It doesn't matter if the air temp is 80 degrees June 1st, the water will quickly make you hypothermic at 38 degrees. The plants feel the same way (and they don't have the luxury of getting out!). Many damaged or lost crops in the spring have come from planting when its warm outside but not under our feet. First in the ground are peas (40°) then onions (45°), broccoli/cabbbage (50°), greens (50°), tomatoes/cucumbers (60°) and lastly the very sensitive peppers/melon (65°).
For now though winter is still here. It was slow to arrive this year but I have to say I'm happy to have a bit of snow and some cold to force me out of the fields and inside. For most of the year the office is a pit stop between pressing tasks outside. But when the blizzards start I can get deep with tying things up like making budgets, tax prep and general organization. Before the snow started in earnest Kristin and I were able to spend many days in the barns cleaning and sorting everything from bolts to tractor manuals, rebuilding the systems of organization that slide towards chaos over the season.   Once things are organized it allows me to work on a new project or two before we hit the fields next month. For many years we have needed a better system to germinate seeds that do best with higher temps than we run in the greenhouse. Heat mats have been the solution but they dry out the soil in our soil flats and ultimately heat unevenly. Last year we had a double door reach-in freezer die and instead of sending it to the recycler I kept it, knowing it had a greater purpose. These freezers are super insulated and humidity tight- a perfect place to germinate seeds. After I had the refrigerant drained from the system I pulled out the compressor, evaporator and lots of associated wiring, leaving me with a metal box full of shelves. A friend welds aluminum so I had him make me a watertight pan to fit on the floor of the freezer and I added a water heater element wired to a waterproof thermostat. Once the pan was filled with water the element heats it up and maintains the temp that the thermostat is set to inside the cooler. Since the heat is made from warming water the chamber runs at about 99% humidity, which is perfect for seeds in flats. I added a few waterproof led lights and our first round of leeks germinated almost perfectly in just 4 days. Many more projects like a composting toilet, road repair and hay equipment service are just a few to squeeze in before March comes to an end. Stay warm, find your optimism and enjoy the strengthening sun (it will be back tomorrow). Seth and Maura
 
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