Thank you for choosing to be part of our CSA this year. As the leader of the production team here at Featherstone, I really love seeing the crops we've been working so hard on going into your boxes. We love hearing your feedback and knowing the work we do is appreciated and the food we grow is being enjoyed by families across Minnesota.
You might have heard through other weekly newsletters or emails that we've been short several key workers from Mexico this summer due to Covid-19 related office closures. Needless to say, it's been a crazy spring/summer. As usual, though, our team never fails to amaze me and we've managed to grow some really nice crops for you so far this summer. So many people on the farm have been playing multiple roles and filling in where needed to help ensure a smooth season and healthy crops.
Nathan, our operations manager, and I spent many evenings and 95 degree afternoons pressing beds to keep up with the crazy transplant season while the harvest leads and warehouse guys stepped up to help Esteban and the production team get all those baby plants in the ground while they were prime- leading to healthier crops overall. Jose Emilio, a 6 year worker (who's featured in this week's photo with me!), has taken on the crazy job of heading up irrigation on the farm. This is a very important and sometimes frustrating job that involves a lot of problem solving and often leaves you soaking wet. He has taken on this role with patience, skill, and a great attitude. Ellen Russo, the direct seed manager has spent many early mornings, nights, and weekends at the farm making sure our 15+ acres of fall carrots all go into properly prepped beds, are flame weeded at the right time, and followed up with a timely cultivation. (After today, all our fall carrots, which our farm has grown famous for, will all be in the ground and that is something to celebrate!) The direct seeded crops are time sensitive and take a lot of attention to detail and Ellen has really put in the effort to get it right.
I could go on and on about our incredible team this year- and have to mention Esteban, who has been here for almost 20 years and is a key part of keeping this place afloat. He makes my life 100% easier as he leads transplant crews, problem solving the mechanical transplanter with ease and spends day after day trellising tomatoes and teaching others on the crew how to do it properly so those heavy plants don't wind up on the ground.
We're now shifting from heavy transplant season into maintenance and weed control. Once again the harvest teams have been doing double duty- harvesting for huge orders (while being short many crew members) and stepping up to help us handweed in the afternoons.
All this is to say that the beautiful crops you've been seeing in your boxes and in the stores are all thanks to this hardworking team. I'd love to tell you more about our new asparagus field (!!) and the beautiful tomatoes that are just starting to ripen in our hoophouses. About the first little carrots pressing their roots down into the soil, and our potato crop which may be one of the best we've grown in years. I'll be happy to tell you more about all these crops and more in another letter. Right now, I'm just so thankful for the individuals here every day making this farm run, and I can't see those tomatoes or lush fields of kale without putting this crew in focus first.
Thanks again to all of you for supporting us in this work!
Field Production Coordinator
p.s. some photos of the tomatoes coming soon in your weekly share!
Found this beautiful little butterfly on your tomato plants!
Our Red Grape Cherry Tomatoes are riping!
Jose Emilio with one of the first ripening slicer tomato from our hoop house!
Jasper picking some of the first red grapes of the season!