Ready or not, the first week of the summer CSA is here! Thanks so much for joining us this season! We have so much great stuff planned and we're excited to get started.
Although the season is starting this week for you, it started many months ago for us. Some of the crops we'll be harvesting for you were planted last fall. We've been seeding and transplanting for many months in preparation for this moment!!!!
Every year, we're always a little nervous about whether or not we can have enough food available for the first few weeks of the CSA, and we've been biting our nails more than normal due to the cool spring this year. If you've ever grown a garden, you'll know that it's not easy to have much to harvest before June, much less before May even begins. This is our 9th season farming, and it's been the most difficult spring yet.
It isn't that we've had any memorable record-breaking cold snaps, it's just that we've had pretty consistently colder and cloudier than average weather all March and April. As a result the soil temperature has been 10 to 15 degrees below normal most days. Soil temperature is really critical for seed germination and plant growth. You may have noticed that the trees are way behind normal in leafing out this year. That is because of colder than average root zone temperatures affecting bud break. While this may be good news for our little apple orchard (delaying flower budding until danger of frost is past), it isn't good news on the vegetable front.
Like all our local farmer friends, most of our outdoor crops are 3 to 4 weeks behind schedule. For instance, the sugar snap peas we planted 6 weeks ago are only a couple inches tall when they should be knee high by now. Normally our outdoor planted radishes, lettuces, and greens are ready to harvest by now, but they're not even close. We've got so much great stuff planted, it's just now starting to grow.
So what does that mean for the CSA? Well, it means we'll be tight on production for the first few weeks relying heavily on overwintered crops and tunnel-grown spring crops. This season, we're more grateful than ever before for these protected growing spaces and for the interplanting that we do in them. Inside these spaces between, among and around the warm season crops like peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers (Which are all off to a good start but still weeks away from producing), we've got cool season crops growing strong. We'll have to depend upon these interplanted crops longer than we thought while we wait for the outdoor crops to catch up.
Although we've been reluctant to scale up the CSA membership this year, we have planned on increasing production of specific crops that have proved high-demand among our members. For instance, we have more than 3,000 broccolini plants in the ground and we've tripled our sweet Italian pepper plantings! We're in high hopes for a great season this year. Due to the cool spring, however, we may need to wait a few extra weeks before we get into the real bounty of spring.
So please bare with us as we harvest our limited protected space for all it's worth these next couple weeks to get just enough for everyone's boxes in confidence of much more abundance and selection as the weeks progress.
Bread and Cheese:
Bread Share: Farm to Market Sourdough Artisan Loaf
Cheese Share: Hemme Brothers Garlic-Dill Curds
Looking forward to sharing the harvest with you this season!
Dave and Sheri