Newsletter – September 28, 2015

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Dear Members,

This is week 16 out of an 18 week season and you are getting Yukon Gold potatoes, yellow onions, yellow carrots, cauliflower or cabbage, cucumbers, squash, globe eggplant, sweet peppers, green beans, tomatoes and orange honeydew.

Raising Animals: We were asked how animals became a part of the farm. We started out raising them for ourselves, actually. When members, came to visit or came to volunteer; they asked if they could get beef or pork too. We started with four of each. Then we added egg layers and offered the extra eggs we had to members. Everything just built from there. At the height of production we had 35 steers, 80 pigs, 25 lambs and 1200 chickens. It was exhausting, took too much time away from field work and our focus should be vegetables, not animals. So we lowered our numbers to a tolerable amount. We found out we were not making any money on eggs at all and eliminated them. We are now down to 15 steers, 20 lambs and 60 pigs a year.

Five Years of Interesting Weather: So far, the last five years have been so inconsistent; it makes it very difficult to know how to farm anymore. For those of you who have been members a long time, you know how hard Jerry tries to give you the best! But this weather we are having is crazy and it makes it difficult for him to know how to farm, let alone plan for the next year!

In 2011, we had several spring hailstorms, but a beautiful fall prolonged the summer harvest! It wasn’t pretty, but we did get a crop. 2012 was the worst drought anyone has ever seen here. However, the quality of the produce was outstanding! We had plenty of water due to all the snow the winter before. It was a good thing since it didn’t rain or snow again until March of 2013. That was the year we didn’t think we would be able to farm at all because we started the season with no water. We had a devastating hailstorm the first week of August and then the flooding in September. It was a light year of produce and we didn’t have any melons at all. 2014 was pretty crazy too. It consistently rained on and off the whole entire summer. I took forever to plant and as expected, everything was delayed. But we had decent produce…once we got it!

Now we come to 2015 and a non-stop rainfall that lasted 21 days in May. But what really hurt was the fact we had absolutely no sunshine for 26 days in that same time period! Funny thing: Plants do not grow without sunshine! There was so much moisture in the ground, it took forever to dry out enough for a tractor to drive through the fields. Again, produce was delayed. But we had no hailstorms throughout the summer and the nice warm days have slowly ripened the crop bringing us another decent late summer and a fall crop. It’s hard to believe we went from the rainiest May on record to one of the warmest Septembers on record. Unbelievable! Thank goodness too, because what kind of a season would we have ended up with if it had frozen early….say between the 20th & 25th of this month, (something that happened on a regular basis when Jerry and I took over the farm in the early 1980’s)!

It would help us greatly if you would take a few moments to fill out this Survey. We want to know if the share size needs to change based on eating habits. Keep in mind each share has a specific household to feed. The following information is very important to me; please do not skip the beginning of this survey! Be blunt, we need to know what is on your mind to help better serve you. Thank you very much for your time!

PLEASE EMAIL OR SNAIL MAIL THIS TO JACQUIE. ANSWERS LEFT ON THE BLOG WILL NOT BE SEEN.

I wonder what our winter will be like…if only that darn crystal ball would work! Jacquie, Jerry and Kyle

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