This is the last week of Distribution and what a ride it has been! You will be getting Yukon Gold and sweet potatoes, onions, leeks, fennel, white turnips, watermelon and daikon radishes, green tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplant and garlic. Just want to warn you, the radishes are hot/spicy this time of year. If you do not like fried green tomatoes, leave them on the counter (out of the sun) and they will turn red for you in 9 to 14 days (depending on the warmth of your home.
First Fruit is bringing D’Anjou pears for those who have a fruit share. These pears are considered a “winter pear” and can be kept for a long period of time under refrigeration. So eat your apples first if they look like they won’t last.
First Fruit Organic Farms has also had a hard season. Their problem occurred when they got a very late freeze in spring. It killed so many blossoms! They just fell off the trees and never made fruit. What was left, they gave to us. 91 glorious pounds of delicious fruit!
Let’s take a look at the whole year: Back in January when renewing members were signing up for the season we did not think we were going to have any water at all from the reservoirs. We called up our city water company and talked to them about using tap water to farm 4 to 6 acres of land under drip irrigation. We gave you a list of crops we were and were not going to grow. Almost 500 of you joined to support this 21 year old CSA! We were amazed and delighted!!!
Then it started to snow in March and rain in April & May. We were shocked! It looked like we might have a normal season after all and got our total of 650 members! But it didn’t stop raining and crops were planted late. That’s ok, no big deal…right? At least we were able to plant all those crops we didn’t think we would have back in January. Oh man did the farm ever look so beautiful!
The season was moving along at a wonderful rate, until the hailstorm from — on the 4th of August. Just at the start of the prime part of the season! 60 mile an hour winds driving small shards of ice into our beautiful crops. Devastation replaces euphoria! We picked like mad and got you the best the plants and the season could give you. We gave you everything we had that was not falling apart, extremely bruised or broken open. Many of you thought we had recovered from the hail, but it was not so. The fields were hurt so bad that everything that wasn’t damaged began to ripen immediately. You got the end result of that. It also meant we would lose our variety of produce a lot sooner in the season.
I know the last few weeks there has not been a large assortment of crops. But that is all there is left. We were very excited to give you Pablano peppers, celery, oregano, cabbage and basil. We thought all these crops were gone but then we saw some recovery in these plants. We picked the entire field and divided it out between the shares. Jerry rushed out and planted radishes and lettuce hoping they could be picked before it froze, which we did. (Jerry is one tired farmer!)
We have had three freezes in the last week or so. Not knowing what the fields had to offer, we picked everything we thought the freeze would hurt. To our amazement, we found lots of peppers and eggplant in good shape! We divided out the number of members by what was harvested and you got a fantastic assortment of crops last week. We are giving you the remainder this week.
We have always picked crops for our CSA first and if there was extra, we took it to market. On normal years, we have plenty for both. This summer, we didn’t go to 3 farmers markets. Right now we only have a little bit left over from Distribution to take to the Boulder market….and it takes me all day to sell it!
I would like to thank our Working Members; both those at the Distribution Centers (DC) and those who make the journey to the farm. The Distribution Centers are very much appreciated for their time and homes. They make it possible for you to have a DC fairly close so you don’t have to drive across town. Working Members at the farm spend an extra hour on the road getting to the farm, plus the four hours every week bagging up your produce, loading the truck and then finishing the day doing farm chores. It would be nearly impossible to run this CSA without their help. So many projects are completed every week! Thank you to you all for your hard work, consistency, patients and good humor.
Being the eternal optimists that farmers are: It will be better next year! We have to admit; we are exhausted and are greeting Mr. Winter with open arms. It is extremely draining (emotionally) when you cannot control the circumstances that control your income. We cannot stress how much we have appreciated your support over the season. The Monroe’s are definitely looking forward to next summer and sharing a much better season with you. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!
Have a great winter,
Jacquie, Jerry, Kyle and Alaina Monroe
p.s. The Winter Share crops are really looking good! We have been harvesting like mad before we have a really hard freeze and the ground is too hard to dig up veggies. All the dried beans have been sitting in the sun drying. You will get kidney, black, Anasazi and a new bean called Tiger’s Eye. We were surprised by the abundance of sweet potatoes once they were harvested. You will get those through the month of November and we had enough to give them to the summer share too. We have enough cabbage, beets (4#) and Watermelon & Daikon radishes to give those out once a month all winter. We will have our normal amount of Yukon Gold potatoes (7#), carrots (3#), onions (2 or 3 of each color), garlic (3 to 6), leeks (6) and a sandwich bag of popcorn and dried beans for every delivery. A bag of lettuce will be delivered until it gets too cold in the cold frame to grow, (normally through December).
If you are still interested in a Winter Share, you can call me and I will do the paperwork in house or you can ask your DC for a Sign-up Form. If you get a form from your DC, make sure you call me and tell me you are sending in a Sign-up so I can keep track of everyone. I can take Winter Share Members through October 23rd.