Farm Blog
01 Mar 2013

The snows of Nemo linger still, the air temperature fluctuates between bitter and balmy, and the ground hog said to look for spring a little later then usual. So what does that mean we do at the farm to pass the time, you may ask.  Answer:  lots!  From machine work, greenhouse prep, creating marketing material(s), seed ordering, the list is endless.  And how do we pay for such things when the fields are barren and we are coming to the end of the storage crops from the previous season?  One answer is the CSA program which we have done for 24 years now at the farm.   In fact we were amongst the earliest CSAs in CT and they are popping up all over as people more then ever want to identify and support who grows their food and how it's produced. 

So what is a CSA program and how does it work?  The CSA model hails from Japan originally, and has been in the US since the late 50's.  It is a unique investment model in which client invests in the farms harvest and shares the risk(s) of the farm.  This capital allows us to make the seed orders, pay staff, fix machinery, and so much more. The return is (usually) a bounty of produce which is picked up each week from early June till the end of the fall harvest.  From sugar snap peas and early lettuces in the spring to summer tomatoes, to autumn classics like winter squash and fingerling potatoes, the diversity and seasonal approach will open your eyes and stomachs to your regions food supply.  We offer pick-ups  at our farmers markets, our farm stand, and a drop off spot in New Milford CT - and most CSAs last from anywhere from 15 to 25 weeks depending on the area and type of farm.   In urban areas their are CSA drop spots all over delivering fresh farm food to the cities nearby, too.  So cool.  At Waldingfield we offer a 20 week season with extensions should the fall harvest be robust and this is usually enough to keep people happy deep into the winter.  

When someone invests in a local farm by participating in a CSA there are many rewards besides just great, healthy, and super fresh food.  There is  the investment in the land and how it is tended. We are a certified organic farm and apply no synthetic chemicals to our fields and orchards.  We care about the water table below, and we care about our neighbors, too.  There is the investment in the preservation of rural character and integrity, as well.  Before too long those pristine fields of the past are parking lots, mini-malls and McMansions.  Ugh.  

Is a CSA for everyone?  Probably not but there are many people who will attest to the fact that being part of a well run CSA brought them closer to the land, closer to their community and reconnected them to food they had not eaten in a long time.  Check Out this link which has all of the organic CSAs in CT, and if you are errreading this from further away, google CSA farms in your area.  We don't think you'll be disappointed.

Author Patrick Horan in Farm Blog Read 5732 times Read more...
11 Feb 2013

Whoa, Nellie, that was some storm!  Our markets were (rightfully) cancelled last weekend and when all was said and done we got 31.9 inches. it has been a while sine we had that much snow and the wind made it that much more difficult to asses the impact until early Sunday morning. Thankfully our greenhouses withstood the avalanche and are all ok.  Two years ago we were not so lucky and they collapsed.  Farmer Q was on the ball and had the hoop-house completely snow free by late Sunday afternoon. .  The farm looks like the arctic, the hounds can barley walk let alone run through the drifts which at spots are over six feet, and if we thought winter was coming to a close anytime soon, Mothernature just reminded us who's the boss.  We were lucky.

However, some of our fellow farmers were not so lucky.  Numerous reports of field tunnels and hoop houses collapsing have been flooding our email inbox, and our hearts go out to those without power throughout New England.  After Sandy, this was all anyone needed and thankfully Gov Malloy and his team were on top of this disaster as best as one could have hoped. 

So where does this put us with our field planning and early greenhouse production?  Happily, the greens we are planing in the hoop house are hearty and can survive even this chilly weather and the snow cover will actually help insulate the ground from freezing any deeper.   So, a mixed blessing.  Movement around the farm in is limited but the warmer air which is coming this week should help.  

Author Patrick Horan in Farm Blog Read 5819 times Read more...
26 Jan 2013

Its was a balmy 15 degrees as we loaded the truck this morning in the early first light.  We were thankful it wasn't zero as the previous mornings had been, and there was little wind.  We were off to sell our fare at the New Haven (Woosetr Square) winter farmers market and the cold air cut through ones breath making it almost difficult to inhale.  The last remaining acorn squash, fingerling potatoes, and beets, as well as our pasta sauces, bloody mary mix, maple syrup, and honey were carefully packed into the truck for the hour long drive.  It was good to have a co-pilot this weekend and as we pulled out of the driveway the sun was now over the eastern skyline.  

New Haven was no warmer as we unloaded and set up our stall, saying our hello's to our fellow growers and producers, each with a remark about the weather, or a swear word muttered under their breath,  Winter markets are for the hearty, dedicated, few who need their local fix, who crave the freshest goods, and this market provides everything they really could need to nourish their inner loca-vore;   Meats, fish, cheeses (both goat and cow), indoor greens, hearty root crops, breads, pastries, and even the glutton free cookies - all are there for the buying public.

So, did the people come?  Well, kind of.  The crowd was slim but brought their cash/credit cards/check books and business was brisk at times.  Of course the exchanges were mostly on the comical side, "how about the heat wave?" etc, but by noon when the sun was high in sky and the market was almost done, we realized it had been a solid market.  Its part of what we do and making every market, 50 weeks of the year, is how we make our living.  Sure, it was damn cold and it would be swell to have an indoor site but such as it is the few truly cold days are kind of an adventure.  At least it was sunny.  

As we pulled back into the farm the wind was whipping over the ridge.  It was still 15 degrees but our pockets were a little fuller and our spirits were high.  Another market down.  46 more Saturdays to go...

 

 

Author Patrick Horan in Farm Blog Read 5617 times Read more...
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