2021 CSA Newsletter #4

Here we are at week 4 folks, and I'm about to make my first weather post. Holy smokes, has it been a wacky start to the farm season. In my years of farming, just about every season has been unique, in of its self. And this year is no different. I keep saying to myself that I've seen it all, but I don't think that's really the case. We had a pretty good winter with significant cold streaks and snow, which helps break up some pest cycles and helps with ground water level at the beginning of a season. I was feeling good after winter and even the start of spring but then we had that cold and wet snap. That was a little rough. After that, we got hot and dry a little sooner than usual and then last week. Monday was wild here for about an hour. We hadn't seen much rain and then it dumped about an inch and we lost power for a bit. I found out the following day that a tornado was confirmed less than 10 miles away! The start of this week but I will save that for next week. I will say, it's been some of the craziest/beautiful lightening I've seen in a long time.

It was a short week for the interns last week but we still managed to get a huge task done. Last week I shared about all of our hoophouse and greenhouse crops. Well, one thing that is necessary is to trellis our tomatoes and peppers. Since the tomatoes grow so much faster than the peppers, they get priority. We trellis by dropping a biodegradable string to and then tie them to each plant. We do this because we grow all indeterminate tomatoes, which means that they will grow as tall as the season allows. There are different ways to do this process but we do what's called a "single leader". That means we will be "suckering" each week a lot of growth. My philosophy behind this is because tomatoes have a limited amount of energy for root growth, foliar growth and fruit growth. By keeping just a "single leader", we can plant a little closer and fruit will ripen a little sooner than usual. One thing that I really love about farming, is that it's a profession where you are always learning. I've been dropping string a certain way for years and Farm Intern Laura (who hosted last week's CSA pickup), shared a much more efficient way to drop the string. Efficiency techniques are crucial in small-scale farming and it's great to learn something new that is going to help an operation. All 225 heirloom plants and the first 180 paste and beefsteaks are started to be trellised. 

Another big thing that we were able to accomplish last week was to liberate the currants and elderberry plants between the barn and greenhouse. Those were planted in 2017 and we are just beginning to harvest the currants in the last couple of years. This year looks to be our biggest harvest yet. I thought it was from the rain but the branches have been starting to hang low but it's actually because the plants are loaded. So, be on the lookout for black currants in the near future. The elderberries on the other hand, haven't been as successful . It's hard to compete with the birds when the fruit starts to ripen. This year I decided that we'd harvest as many as the elderflowers as possible and bring them down to Coltivare. I'm excited to find out what they end up using them for.

This week's share we're getting a little help from our friends over at Main Street Farms in Cortland. I've known owners Bob Cat and Allan for about 10 years and its been amazing to see their growth over the years. This week's share will have garlic scapes, carrots, black radishes, herb bunches, the first hot peppers, and beets, scallions, some zucchini from MSF. Before this evening's rain, I was hopeful that we were able to get the last of the strawberries but we'll have to wait until the morning to see what state they are in. The hot dry weather we were experiencing really helped the last of them to ripen over the weekend and beginning of the week.

Have a great week!


Farmer Todd