We are now on Friday and Saturday of our general daily work week description. We plant extra produce, more than what the CSA needs, just in case there is a weather related or insect problem. We attend four farmers markets over the weekend. If there is a production problem, produce would be taken away from the farmers markets. We are hoping the CSA will not feel it. Think of it as an insurance policy for your CSA. This is also how you get your extras to pick for freezing & canning. We have also found that if we do not pick produce just about every day, your zucchinis would be enormous, your tomatoes would be overripe, etc.! In general, your produce would not look as nice! Whatever produce the membership is not using, we take to the farmers markets.
The employees start picking Thursday and will continue until noon on Friday for the markets. After lunch, they will wash any produce with excessive amounts of dirt on it and bunch crops such as carrots & beets. Once this is completed, Jerry gets out the worksheet for loading the trucks. We keep track of what has been placed on each truck. The truck will also need tables, tents, table clothes, plastic bags, pens, paper, signs with prices & baskets for display.
On Friday, Jerry again, begins his day with changing his water. If he can get into fields, he likes to mow the weeds. This cannot be done in fields with vining crops, such as, pumpkins, watermelon and muskmelon, or with tall crops such as tomatoes & corn. But he likes to keep them down around his irrigations ditches and in as many fields as he can. I can tell you this doesn’t happen every week and we are lucky if he can get to it once a month! The animal pens need to be checked at least every other week. Fencing never seems to stay where you want it because of wind, predators and weeds. We spend quite a bit of time checking fencing and fixing it. It is amazing how quickly the animals figure out the electric fence is down!
Friday is “technically” my day off. This is the day I try to get my house cleaned, start the laundry, grocery shopping, shopping for Alaina and Kyle (if needed), Dr. appointments, weed my flower beds and water the trees in the yard. If farmers markets tents need repairing, I do this on Friday too. Other than this, I can lay around watching soapies and eating bon-bons! (I can tell you this happens frequently! Ha-ha!)
Everyone leaves Saturday morning somewhere between 4:30 and 5:30 in the morning for their destination. We attend the Cherry Creek Farmers Market, the Boulder Farmers Market and the Longmont Farmers Market on Saturday. It will take about one hour to get to a farmers market and about 1 ½ to 2 hours to set up. We will sell for 6 hours then load up anything that did not sell or give it to the Food Bank. This takes approximately one hour. When the trucks come back from Saturday farmers markets, we unload all the returning produce. This is noted on the worksheet. The produce is sorted and reloaded onto one truck. Anything that is determined to not be “good enough” for market is fed to the animals. Employees have picked just a little produce on Saturday to fill in what was sold on Sat. They have also changed Jerry’s water for him while he is at market. Half the employees have Sat. off; the other half has Sun. off. The day ends at 5 pm. for me and Jerry will be done as soon as he has checked his water.
Kyle goes to the Ft. Collins Farmers Market on Sunday. He leaves at 9 am. and returns about 5 pm. And once again, we will give excess produce to the Food Bank at the end of the day & bring back what will be fed to the animals. Crops such as potatoes can be kept until the next weekend.
Our biggest money makers are the potatoes and onions. The reason; we have these crops from the very beginning until the very end of the season. The customer favorites, however, are the strawberries, melons, tomatoes and beans.
This concludes our general daily work week. Of course there are so many other things we do during the week; so many they cannot be listed. But it gives you a good idea of what happens on a regular basis. Jerry and I work 7 days a week, March through November, then we slow down to 5 days a week during the winter. We try to take a week or two off during Christmas. Sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn’t!
Several members have been asking about coming out to work on a Sat. or Sun. Jerry asked me to let you know that we are a little overwhelmed with everything that is happening on the farm as well as with Alaina. We basically are doing two things right now: harvesting and tractor work. Jerry thought it would be more to our benefit to have our volunteer work days start up again in Sept. This is when we start harvesting for the winter too. We will need extra help with this project since we are still picking for our weekly distribution at the same time. We will notify you on the progress and when things will start up again; once we have a good grasp on our timing of fall crops.
We would love to create a list of members who are flexible enough to be on a freeze warning call list. We do not usually get more than a 4 or 5 day warning there will be a freeze. The weather is so funny this year; we thought we may have a “normal” fall. We normally have a freeze anywhere from the 20th of September to the 10th of October. If we can start a list of members who can come out at the last minute and help harvest summer crops, we can continue to distribute these crops for another two or three weeks. If you have some flexibility in your schedule, please give me a call at the above number and we will get you on this list.
Half of your fees for summer produce, fruit and honey were due by July 15th. If we have not received your payment by now, you will be assessed a late fee of $15. We will be happy to work out a payment schedule with you if you are in need of one. Please call us! If we have not been paid by the middle of August, produce will no longer be delivered until we have been paid in full for the entire summer.
Well the rain came to visit again this week. Can you believe how cold it got during the night? It rained off and on for three days, totaling about an inch and a half. We have been getting the most amazing lightning and thunderstorms. They have been putting on quite a show at night. Simply put, it was beautiful!
New crops this week are red cabbage, white carrots and either Japanese eggplant or Globe (black) eggplant. Eggplant is a funny thing. It doesn’t like to be cold or hot. Keep it on the counter if you will be using it within the next 5 days. You will not need to sweat the fruit. However, if you do not plan on using it right away, it will need to be refrigerated. Keep it wrapped tightly in a plastic bag. Once the fruit gets to be about 9 to 10 days old, you may need to sweat it. Sweating is a process where you slice the eggplant lengthwise, sprinkle with salt and let the excess water drain off. Eggplant gets bitter the longer you wait to use it. Using it right away will save you this step (because it will be fresh!).
The white carrots are something we found last year and were a huge success! They are very sweet. Try them in your next salad. We may not have enough red cabbage to give everyone one head, it will be mixed in with green cabbage, broccoli or cauliflower. You will not get beans this week. Our next planting is not ready to be picked.
This week you are getting Yukon Gold Potatoes, sweet white onions, red cabbage, white carrots, summer squash, cucumbers, green or purple bell peppers, Japanese or Globe eggplant.
Next week we are hoping the first picking of corn will be ready. First fruit says they will have peaches on by next week also! Now isn’t that exciting?!
Jacquie, Jerry, Alaina and Kyle Monroe