From the Farmer

Week 27 – 11/17/2016
Here it is, the end of the season. See below for the big send-off, after a couple annoucements.

T’day market

The Farm Stand is open this week and also next Tuesday for a Special, Specspachula Thanksgiving Market on the 22nd, 3 – 7 p.m.  Then we’re hanging the “Closed for Hibernation” sign.
Hear that?  Next Tuesday, 11/22 is the last day the Farm Stand is open this season, 3 – 7 p.m. 7 sharp! Come get last fresh veggies and clean out our fridges and freezers!
We have a short end of season survey this year – 10 questions!  Can you believe I could keep anything that short?  Your thoughts – both those of you who return and those of you who don’t – are most important to us.  Remember, you CSA members are our farmily, you’re the ones we grow food for.  Tell us what you want more of, less of, what’s just right… We’d like to hear from you, CSA lovers, haters and in-betweeners.  It should take five or eight minutes…
2016 End of Season CSA Survey
Winter CSA: Veggies, Eggs, Chicken, and Dinner
This winter we are offering several CSA shares: vegetables, eggs, chicken and Dinner-to-Go 2.0.  These will all last for six weeks, starting the week after Thanksgiving.  Please read all details and descriptions carefully.  Sign up HERE.
Vegetables: this will be a large share and will include fresh leafy veggies as well as storage crops and stored products like jam, sauce, pesto and more. This is a Beta share and exactly what is in a share will depend on the weather much more than the summer share.  We have a limited number of shares this time around.  Pick ups at the Farm Stand on Wednesday afternoons, 3:30 – 7 p.m. only.  Any weeks we miss due to weather will be re-scheduled. 
Eggs: eggs!  By the dozen.
Chicken: whole chicken, weekly.  They look and taste great!  Our birds a little bigger than usual and you’ll see a slight increase in price for winter chicken shares.
Dinner-to-Go 2.0: our second draft, this winter shares will include an entree, 1-2 sides or soup (depending on the entree), and a baked good.  Entrees may include items like chicken pot pie, stew or gumbo, lasgna; some of these may be frozen.  Any frozen entrees will heat well directly from frozen, just put them in the oven when you get home.  Instructions and a menu will be sent each week.  All shares will include protein, meat included.  No vegetarian options for this draft, and no substitutions (thanks for your patience as we develop this share!).
2017 CSA
Keep an eye out for registration information, it’s coming soon.
Egg Share Reminder
Don’t forget, we owe you a week’s share of eggs!  Pick up during your regularly scheduled pickup this week, or come to the Farm Stand next Tuesday, 11/22 between 3 – 7 p.m.  Come get!

The End of the Season
We end most seasons with some sniffles and a reflective moment to consider the season behind us and the people who made it happen.  Those sentiments are with us every year, and I hope you’ll look back at the archives for what the end of the season means to us farmers, and especially to how lucky we are to have this farmily, in particular the farm crew, the nuclear farmily.  My own thoughts – and I think all of ours – about Deb, Al, Lex, Jen; James and Sonya and Kelly, and now Anya, they’ve only deepened since last year.  The farm wouldn’t be without them, and I’m looking forward to next year as they take on more responsibility, and own more of the farm.  Figuratively, that is, the Conservancy still owns the farm!  But they’ve shown that they can manage things and I’m excited to think about how the farm can grow next year with them back.
You all, of course, are the farmily, too.  We feel so honored that you trust us to grow food for you.  We hope this has been a good season for you.  If it hasn’t, let us know why!  Here’s the survey link; we’re your neighborhood farm and want to do better.
This year, this week I’m also thinking about what else we’re doing here.  
We live on a beautiful continent, and in a pretty remarkable country.  We grow an abundance of grains, fruits and vegetables; meat and dairy products.  We are rich in forests and prairies and rivers and coastlines and the ecosystems that make these up.  We have a wealth of knowledge, technology and skills.  We also face large challenges – a lot of what made us who and what we are has eroded: we have dirty water, dirty air; our soil has been washed to the sea, along with chemicals that cause immense dead zones along our coasts; we’ve lost the plants and trees that provide habitat for the creatures of the world; and we’ve lost many of those creatures: the skies are largely clear of birds and butterflies; the woods and prairies of keystone species, predators and their prey; our foods have less nutrition in them than they did seventy-five years ago.  It is not to say that everything is bad everywhere, that’s not true.  But these are facts, though it often takes scientists and old-timers to tell us the story as they can be hard to see given our lives now, as we move often and don’t see the change clearly.
I attended an Envision Loudoun listening session last night (did you know Loudoun is reviewing its Comprehensive Plan?  Take part in this process) and at our table we were talking about what is special about a given place: natural beauty, historical character, comfortable scale; diverse and working landscapes that include agriculture, commerce, neighborhoods and functioning, natural ecosystems.  All of these things historically have been informed by environmental restraints: the lay of the land, soils and natural resources; rivers and valleys; native ecosystems – all influenced the materials used to build structures; the kinds of agriculture and businesses; the shape and distance between buildings and towns; the scale at which we build; the kind of play we might do.  Far less so now. perhaps we could allow those constraints to guide our design again.
I think how we use land, how we design, and how we build in the world is something we can choose.  It’s not that there are too many people – there’s more Ant biomass in the world than Human biomass, and ants leave their environment better – it’s how we design.  William McDonough, author of Cradle To Cradle and Upcycle, puts it like this: no one designed the Industrial Revolution; no one created a system that dirties the air, dirties the water, makes the world unfit for creatures to live and play.  But now we can look at where we are and see what we are doing, and we can do things better.  We have the understanding and we have the technology, now we choose.
There are choices to make across all industries.  Planning – County planning included – matters, as do the methods we use to grow food.  That is, planning our landscape, preserving wildlands and developing ecological agricultural systems are complementary areas of work.  Agriculture affects more land than any other human activity, though in Loudoun perhaps the built environment does so more.  If we can’t do agriculture better we can’t deal with the environmental challenges we’ve presented ourselves.  The Willowsford Conservancy cares for wild land as best we can in the context of our watershed.  The farm looks for how conservation can be a “consequence of production” as Doug Tompkins has said; farming should further conservation aims, not diminish them.  So the farm is a buffer to protected areas, and we encourage wildlife habitat in the nonproductive parts of the farm.  
Ecological agriculture is about first doing no harm.  Working with nature.  Honoring the earth as our teacher.  By choosing farms that hold these values you stand for them, too.  Hopefully, we make it easy to choose.
Thank you for making being here special.  As always, and especially, be great.
Mike, Deb, and the nuclear Farmily: Anya, Alex, Lex, Jen, James, Sonya, Kelly, Julia, cat and dog, goats x 11 (11, right Deb?), chickens x Mudhens, chickens x freezer, Roscoe RIP and Popcorn, reading Upcycle.


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Willowsford Conservancy

41025 Willowsford Lane, Aldie, VA 20105

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23595 Founders Drive, Ashburn, VA 20148

Phone: 571-297-6900

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