Our staple crop the carrot has arrived this week in the share. This variety, “mokum”, is particularly sweet and we are harvesting this just a bit early which makes them extra tender as well. Generally we would like this carrot to spend another week in the ground while its leaves build a larger root. We decided to take them a little early for a couple reasons. The first has to do with the perfect growing weather we have had the past month or so which has been a boon to all of our crops but has also really helped our weeds as well. We need to harvest these carrots because we don’t have time to weed them! The lambs quarters especially are thriving this year and in many places (like in the carrots) are starting to set seed. Weeds setting seed means more weeds for many years to come.
The second reason for an early carrot harvest is rooted in this year’s cold spring. Remember April? Recall those first couple weeks when we not only had snow on the ground but there was more falling? The frost was still hanging on in many places in the fields and working outside was a brisk experience. Our first carrot seeding is on the calendar for April 7 and needless to say we didn’t hit that date. While we did get this first crop planted by the third week of April the second carrot variety was scheduled for the last week of that month. Rather than delay the next planting by 2 weeks we have to keep following the calendar, especially for carrots. Unlike lettuce or kale which we also plant many times over the season carrots take a long time to grow to size, almost 100 days between setting that seed in the soil and having a crops to harvest. If we start pushing the planting dates back in the spring we will be late planting the almost 1/2 an acre we put in for our last sowing this week that will supply us with carrots right up to the end of CSA. Tender baby carrots are great for dipping, dicing or just giving to kids to eat by the handful and unlike the “baby” carrots from the supermarket, these are actually babies!
The Upic Field Opens this Week with Peas…here’s how it works:
This is the official opening week of our Upic field with snow and peas as well as a few flowers. We are asking that you limit your pea picking to 1 pint this week to ensure that everyone can enjoy this crop. We will have pint boxes in the field. If you are new to the CSA and the upic field here’s how it works…
Here’s the skinny on how Upic works. We prepare, plant, and weed this ½ acres plot just for you, the members of the farm. Growing there you will find green beans, herbs, flowers, and most notably this week, peas. These are crops that are particularly rewarding to harvest and can add a lot of value to your share as they often are great accompaniments to the “field crops” we harvest and wash for you each week.
The important thing to understand about this field is that it belongs to everyone who has a share in the farm. There are 275 shares this year and we try very hard to plan each planting so that everyone will be able to enjoy every crop. The idea is that all of these crops are compliments to the field crops and not necessarily staples in and of themselves. While we would love to be able to plant enough Upic basil for everyone to make pesto for the winter or sow enough beans to share with your neighbors, it’s just not possible in the space we have to work with. Those of you that split shares, we ask that you be particularly aware of your picking quantities.
With the exception of these first couple weeks we will not suggest amounts for you to take from the upic field. The idea is that we all take our share and consciously leave behind enough for everyone else. The upic field has always been our grand experiment in community spirit and in thirteen years of CSA growing all over the Northeast we have never been disappointed.
We All Do This Work Together…
We had a poem forwarded by a CSA member that speaks very well to the work we are trying to do here, growing food to fuel everyone’s good work and build soil for the next generation of farmers. Please know that all of you are vital to the longevity of this farm. The extra effort you put forth to support this land by giving your time and intention to pick-up and prepare your share when it may not always be convenient does sustain this place.
by Wendell Berry
The need comes on me now
to speak across the years
to those who finally will live here
after the present ruin, in the absence
of most of my kind who by now
are dead, or have given their minds
to machines and become strange,
“over-qualified” for the hard
handwork that must be done
to remake, so far as humans
can remake, all that humans
have unmade. To you, whoever
you may be, I say: Come,
meaning to stay. Come,
willing to learn what this place,
like no other, will ask of you
and your children, if you mean
to stay. “This land responds
to good treatment,” I heard
my father say time and again
in his passion to renew, to make
whole, what ill use had broken.
And so to you, whose lives
taken from the life of this place
I cannot foretell, I say:
Come, and treat it well.
What’s in the Share this Week…
What’s in Upic…