Dear Friends of the Farm,
Unprecedented Start: Members who have been with us for many years can tell you this is the earliest start date we have ever had! It is mind boggling what is happening here. I have been asked about our water situation. And yes, we will be fine this year because last year was so wet. But here we are again, in a severe drought. If we do not get rain or snow this winter, our situation could be quite different for 2013. But we will have to worry about that later! For now, we have an exciting year ahead of us!!!
Produce: We deliver produce every week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Your Distribution Center (DC) location will determine the day of delivery. Your produce will come dirty. We do not have refrigerated trucks, nor is there refrigeration at the DC. So don’t be surprised if some of your crops will be wilted. These are very hardy vigorous plants. A cold water bath is all they need to refresh them and make them look amazing. Especially your lettuce. Give them and your carrots time to hydrate. It may take several hours, so don’t get discouraged! It is a good plan on pre-washing outside to get the majority of the dirt off in the yard and not down your drain pipes. Children especially love this task. (They are very good at picking off the worms in your corn too! Make it a game and see how many they can find.) By getting your kids involved in the pre-prep work, talking about the produce & asking them what they want to eat will help get them motivated to try the different varieties.
This Week: You are getting a variety of veggies this week. Because of the heat and lack of rain, our spring veggies didn’t germinate well. Our fields are a little lopsided! So there is a chance that no two days will be getting the same combination of produce for a few weeks. You could see garlic, peas, Butterhead lettuce, a romaine type lettuce called Freckles (don’t throw away, it’s supposed to have spots), Chinese cabbage, turnips, kohlrabi and popcorn. We planted the different varieties of greens so that we could give them out throughout the spring. But since three varieties are on right now, we will not have several weeks of greens. Now I know this isn’t an earth-shattering amount of produce or a large variety. Our springs always start off this way and it does get better. I know you will be pleased with your produce! Nothing tastes better than spring crops!!
Eggs: After collecting the data and making the schedule for egg distribution, we will be cancelling all egg orders for new 2012 members. Our old chickens are not laying as many eggs as we were expecting and the new chickens will not begin to lay until July. We will retain your order and deliver eggs if our numbers increase. Everyone who ordered two dozen eggs each week will be reduced to one dozen a week. I am so sorry for this inconvenience, but this is the reality of farm production!
Fruit: I have spoken to Chris Kropp from First Fruits Organic Orchard and they tell me they are having the best growing season ever! Their cherries are on early and we may possibly get our first delivery next week. The apricots and plums are looking terrific and so does the peaches, pears and apples. For the first time (in so many years) we may actually get all the varieties of fruit they produce!
Honey: Your honey is coming from Clark’s Honey Farm. All of the honey is harvested from the eastern plains. If you are getting honey monthly, you will get 5 deliveries; one every month. If you are getting bi-monthly deliveries, you will see that in the months of June, August and Oct. If you get a one time delivery of honey, that will be in August. I am currently working with Clark to set dates, but I am looking at the weeks of June 11th, July 9th, August 6th, Sept. 3rd and Oct. 1st.
Expectations from your DC: Please do not forget that your DC is a Member too. They have offered to be a Distribution Center to make it as convenient as possible for you to get your produce. They too have busy lives and are trying hard to please everyone. Most of our DC’s have between 30 and 40 Members coming by. Respect their hours and if you need to pick up at a different time or have forgotten to pick up during normal hours; please call and make new arrangements. They will hold produce for 24 hours. If there is no contact from you within that time period, the produce will be donated to a place of need; including your eggs & fruit. We encourage Members to donate their produce when going on vacation. Last year the Membership donated a whopping 41,545 pounds of produce to organizations around the metro area. Let’s try to beat that record! If you plan on having someone pick up your produce for you while you are gone; your DC will need their name and phone number. This gives them permission to hand out your produce to someone other than you and it gives them a contact number when they forget to pick up…which they almost always do!
Your Expectations from the farm: You are sharing the risk of farming with your farmer. This is no different than gardening yourself. Mother Nature does not always cooperate with our plans. It is unrealistic to expect everything to be perfect all the time. We grow varieties for their taste, not necessarily for their beauty! If there is an abundance of produce, you will get it. If there is a shortage of produce, you will see that too. Along with June rain we sometimes get hail. Don’t be surprised to get produce with scabs from the damage this causes. We try very hard to catch produce that is badly bruised. But sometimes this slips by us & it will start to mold in your bag from the heat. We apologize ahead of time! We do not intend for this to happen!
Newsletters/Blog: A Member with a better Internet system (than I have) will post my newsletters to the blog. Please notify your Distribution Center if you prefer to get a hard copy at the Distribution site or if you prefer to access the blog. It is important to read my newsletters each week because they will inform you of additional “bonus” picking days, other events that may directly affect you or the produce you’re getting and fun things that are happening on the farm. monroeorganicfarms.wordpress.com
Statements: We will send statements at the beginning of each month. It is time to pay your second produce installment. You may pay these fees in full or in half by July 15th and the other half will be due September 1st. If you are purchasing summer lamb, those animals will be going to processing in July or August. They should be paid in full by July 15th.
Welcome to the 2012 farming season with Monroe Organic Farms. We hope you enjoy every morsel! I can’t tell you how excited we are to have produce this early! This is just a sample of what’s to come. My family is very excited about being your farmers. Thank you for giving us this opportunity. We are looking forward to a fantastic summer! When there are extra crops to pick you will hear about them through one of the newsletters. Feel free to give me a call if you have any questions. Your Distributors are a wealth of information; they too can answer most of your questions. Best way to reach me is by phone, especially when the busy spring becomes an extremely busy summer!
Jacquie, Jerry, Kyle and Alaina Monroe