From the Farmer

Week 1 – 5/13/2013

Potluck, First Week of CSA, And Looking Forward…

Welcome and Welcome back to the Willowsford Farm Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.  Through CSA, you and the farm can deepen our relationship with each other, with the food we eat, and with the land itself. This is the first newsletter of the season and you can expect one each week. You’ll read updates from the farm (time to hill the ‘taters), discuss topics of interest (frost tonight?), and otherwise share what is happening at the farm.  We also provide recipes and information about our produce – what it is, how to store it and how to use it.  And we’ll let you know what else is happening at the farm stand.

We’ve made a few changes this season that we think you’ll like, and more on that later.  First, a Save the Date for this weekend, which is almost here already…

This Sunday – CSA Potluck, 4 pm – dusk. 

Join us at the Farm this Sunday for a farm potluck.  Farm tour, food, and time to relax and meet your CSA neighbors. We’ll eat, we’ll socialize, we’ll climb on stationary tractors, walk the farm as you like. As last year, this is a casual event: make or bring a dish, make or bring your family, and make or bring a game or musical instrument if you like. Please don’t make or bring pets. Rain or shine.

Let us know if you plan to attend – what you think you’ll bring (main course, side dish, dessert, drinks, etc) and how many of you in children and adults.  Drop us a line at farm@willowsfordfarm.com, or call the farm hotline: 571-297-6900.

Directions: The Farm is located behind the Farm Stand on Founders Drive. Please park across the street from the Farm Garden in the pool lot.  The Farm Loop Trail takes you past the garden and up to the farm.  If you need to park closer or drop off something heavy, the farm driveway is off of Founders at the bottom of the garden – take your next right turn and follow the gravel up to the barn.

What a difference a year makes.  This time last year we were moving into the barn, turning the water on for the first time, distributing CSA shares out of the back of the Tenant House and had been wearing shorts and a t-shirt since early April. Global Warming was so compelling an explanation that we planted strawberries and bumped up the season four weeks.  Explanation or not, this is already a very different year: a mix of stability and new activity both. We’re comfortable in our digs at the farm and opening new fields for production; we’ve grown the size of our CSA and are integrating animals into the farm; and while we’re building new things, we’re also fixing things. Funny that there’s a sweet frustration at fixing familiar things. Feels like home.

The season itself has started very differently from last year, cool and on the wetter side. Tonight there’s a chance of frost, which means that it’s May 13 and we’ll be spending time protecting our strawberries. For comparison’s sake, last year’s last frost was the very beginning of April.  So the ground has been slower to dry and work and some crops are a little behind where they were last year, but this benefits us in other ways.  Whereas last year our spring broccoli performed poorly in the heat, this year’s broccoli and cabbage both look very nice so far.  Barring highly erratic weather, which these crops don’t like, we should see some nice cool weather crops.
And that’s how it goes, right.  Seasons are different, we get new circumstances every year, and we make decisions on the fly.  Let’s not plant those peppers just yet, let’s wait for it to dry and for this cold snap to pass, and plant on Wednesday after harvest.  As they say, the best way to make God laugh is to tell him your plans.  One of the reasons we like farming.

Speaking of plans, just a few things to highlight this first week.  First, the CSA MO:

  • Arrive at the Farm Stand or Boat House at your scheduled pick-up time – if you arrive early, please expect to walk the garden or pick-your-own herbs
  • Sign-in on the Sign-In Sheet – just check your name under the appropriate date
  • Empty a veggie box into your re-usable bags (you get two of these this first week)
  • Egg Shares are in a cooler marked "Egg Shares." These are for pre-paid eggs only – please take eggs for purchase from the refrigerator
  • Flower Shares, which will start later this month, will be in buckets and marked separately from any flowers otherwise available
  • Take your shares (and any break, milk, honey, cheese, meat, pies, meat pies, and cheesy meat pies) home and enjoy with your family

This week also marks the beginning of our weekly Farm Stand tastings and demonstrations.  Each week one of our vendors or friends will visit the farm stand to tell us about their product, offer samples, or host an activity.  This week Bill and Joan Baker of New Asbury Farm will be at the Farm Stand with samples of their lamb. Bill and Joan are neighbors and CSA members who raise sheep just up the road. I can't live without their breakfast sausage!

In your box this week are the first of the spring things. Spring boxes will undoubtedly be “lighter” than later on in the season, this is a natural part of CSA.  Greens, salad greens, early scallions, bok choi… after a winter of storage crops and long-distance shipping, we start craving fresh chlorophyll. Boxes will start getting more robust as things warm and the strawberries come on in the next weeks.  There’s also a non-eating item in your share this week!  We’ll let you guess which one.

That’s all for now – thanks for reading!  Next week: farm team introductions, the farm stand, and more.  Until then, be great.

Mike

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Willowsford Conservancy

41025 Willowsford Lane, Aldie, VA 20105

Phone: 571-440-2400

info@willowsfordconservancy.org

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Willowsford Farm Stand

23595 Founders Drive, Ashburn, VA 20148

Phone: 571-297-6900

farm@willowsfordfarm.com

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