Dear Friends of the Farm,
Welcome to our first week of Distribution!! We have a beautiful bag of produce coming your way! In May we had two freezes and a hail storm. Jerry has always pushed the limits on trying to get produce as early as possible for you. We have three cold frames filled with carrots, tomatoes and beets. We cover early plantings of field crops such as kale, turnips, tomatoes, summer squash and cucumbers with a light cloth to protect it from freezing and hail stones. The cloth did its job because we are starting to uncover these crops to weed and they look terrific (though the cloth is full of holes)! The rest of the farm is really looking good too. Now that it is getting so hot (hard on humans, but great for plants) everything is growing like crazy & green, green, green!!!
Produce: This week you are getting butterhead lettuce, peas, garlic scapes, summer squash (either yellow straight neck, zucchini or Q-ball (light green, round type zucchini)broccoli, kohlrabi and garlic. We are hoping all three distribution days will get these crops, but it is the first week and we may be short. We will make it up to you next week if a distribution center is shorted. It is very important that you return all your bags every week! Because we reuse them over & over!!
It is a good plan to pre-washing outside to get the majority of the dirt off in the yard (or an extra-large bowl set in your kitchen sink) 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. Did you know children have to try something 9 times before they get a taste for it? It’s true!! So make them eat a bite or two every time it is served!
Your Distribution Center: Please do not forget that your DC is a member too. They have offered to be a DC 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. A majority of our DC’s have 30 to 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 fruit. We encourage Members to donate their produce when going on vacation. Last year the Membership donated a whopping 1440 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 yourself and it gives them a contact number when they forget to pick up…which they almost always do! Ask your DC questions! They are a wealth of information and will help you use your share. Get a cookbook. There are ten recipes for every veggie we grow. And, it was put together by members of this farm! It is useful and the recipes are excellent!!!
4th of July: Since the 4th lands on a Tuesday this year, we will be doing Tuesday distribution on Monday. The rest of the days will remain the same.
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/July 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! We love what we do and care deeply about the land we live on, the food it produces and the people it feeds. We are the caretakers and we intend to take care of you and your farm!
Statements: We will send statements each month. Your first produce payment (including fruit, oil and honey) is due July 15th. You may pay these fees in full, or half by July 15th and the other half by September 1st. If you are paying monthly, then continue making your agreed upon & scheduled payments.
First Year Members: This year will be your hardest summer. It takes time to adjust to getting your produce this way! Plan on going to the grocery store after you get your share. You need time to process your produce by sorting and washing. If you are willing to put up with the dirt, don’t wash until you are ready to use it, it will last longer. Produce breaks down as soon as it gets wet. But I also understand you might not want dirt in your crisper drawer! The tenderer a crop is, the sooner it will need to be eaten, i.e. greens, summer squash, peas, beans, broccoli, cantaloupe, cucumbers and tomatoes. I will give you hints on storage as we go through the summer.
Newsletters/Blog: A Member with a better Internet system (than I have) will post my newsletters to the blog. Please notify your DC 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 your 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. Access the blog by going to: monroeorganicfarms.wordpress.com. Do not forget to check out our Facebook page (also run by members) as well for pictures and videos!
The next u-pick crop coming up is pickles and that will be sometime in July. The strawberries did not make it, so we are out again this year. We need to have normal springs (freezing in Feb & Mar without freezing in May!) in order for a decent crop of strawberries.
How to contact me: Please remember I am gone 5 days a week delivering CSA shares or at farmers markets. I am home on Monday & Friday mornings or Tue/Wed/Thr late afternoons. The best way to reach me is by phone. I am very good about answering phone calls, not so much with email! I am just not in the house that long! Email me if you do not need an answer right away. But if it is about a change in your share or DC, please call me. We pick on Monday for Tuesday, Tuesday for Wednesday and Wednesday for Thursday. Keep this in mind when you want to make a change! Whenever you call about your share, especially if needing to make changes, always identify your Distribution Center!
Thank you: Welcome to the 2017 farming season with Monroe Organic Farms. We hope you enjoy every morsel! I can’t tell you how excited we are to get started! This is just a sample of what is to come. My family are looking forward to a fantastic summer. Thank you for giving us this opportunity; we are very excited about being your farmers!
Jacquie, Jerry, Sam, Kyle and Crew