Well, I spent last week curled up in the fetal position sucking my thumb. The weather was supposed to turn last Saturday or Sunday, that was after a week of rain and clouds. We needed it, the sun. We had plenty of crops in the ground, we got them in just in time for a nice, gentle, half-inch soak (Al, way to stay late and plant onions by hand in the rain with me; Deb, I told you that lightning wouldn’t hit us before we finished the cukes).
But plants thrive on sun. I mean, they’re photosynthasizers. Photo- is science for Sun. Sun makes them happy. It warms the ground, and the ground microbes wake up and digest and cycle nutrients in the soil and pass them on to the plants. They grow, they sing, they get green, then they can be eaten. Sun makes them happy. Sun makes us happy. It’s a miracle of cosmic energy.
No sun, no happy. Cold soil, peaked plants. Wet ground, can’t use the tractor, no mowing, no tilling, no cultivating, no planting, no nothing. I hate the phrase, but it is what it is, right? Abiotic stresses are essentially unavoidable, and while people need their Vitamin D, plants are pretty much dependent on environmental factors. There are things it’s realistic for us growers to do, but considering the energy budget of techno-agriculture, when the jet stream is stuck the jet stream is stuck.
So I tell you, when the weekend came and went, and last Sunday’s weather report showed the same week as had just passed, my disposition and emotional stability went with it. Are we starting CSA or not? Do we have anything to harvest? It took the better of the week before I could convince myself there was something to fill three hundred shares and that I should probably email everyone and let you know, yes, we’ll be starting CSA, yes, I got your registration and email address, no, you haven’t missed any emails I just couldn’t type with only one thumb. So here we are, a beautiful day and writing the first newsletter.
And here we are. We have a lot planted in the ground: onions, garlic, shallots, scallions; tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, basil; carrots, beets, turnips radishes; broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower; kale, Swiss chard, lettuce, arugula; cilantro, dill, fennel, ginger, lemongrass; potatoes, peas, spinach; sweet corn, beans, cucumbers, summer squash. Some of these are long season crops and we’ll see them down the road. Others are spring crops but behind where we expected them to be, they need sun and some warmth. In many cases we grow multiple successions through the year, and we may have lost some or all of, say, our early cucumbers, or maybe we didn’t get our early melons in. But here we are, we have one of garlic’s finest moments, Spring Garlic; we have a favorite tender broccoli (we call it Happy Mike here); tell-us-what-you-think winter carrots (they love the cold); several other items. See the list to the left or watch this week’s CSA video posted on the farm’s Friendster page.
I have to admit that dealing with the stress of the weather reminded me what Community Supported Agriculture is. I forget sometimes, because I want the farm to be many things, including something you don’t ever want to do without. This is not a food delivery service. We are not Peapod, we don’t source bananas, and we don’t get peppers from greenhouses in the Netherlands when our radishes are slow to size up in May. Yes, there are times when we work with other local farms and bring in a veggie or a special item – main season cukes and squash will come again from David G who used to farm here – but this is a farm not a warehouse, and we’re in relationship you and us. In CSA we support each other, and we do some sharing. We share in the risk together; when times are good we share abundance, and when things are challenging we share in a little want. (I know you wanted those radishes this week).
Such is eating where you live. This spring may find us lighter than at other times of year, but we’ll catch up soon, we’ll get creative, and the seasons should balance itself out as they usually do. And we can’t wait any longer. Look at it outside!