CCF Late Winter Newsletter
Winter is definitely going out like a lion this year! As the calendar has flipped, we’ve been experiencing a stretch of unusually cold weather. Despite the frigid chill, we have already transitioned into several springtime activities here at CCF in preparation for another busy year!
March is when the farm becomes busy, especially with the growing season having already started. Our first succession of onions was planted just over a month ago, and we will shortly be seeding a third and fourth succession. By the end of March, all onions will have been seeded, including several tomato varieties, along with our basil and parsley. This early in the growing season all plants are seeded and germinated in our basement on grow mats, and are then placed under T-5 grow lights for their early stages of development. By mid-April a majority of these plants will be transitioned to the garage and Greenhouse 3. This is always the plant's last stop before being 'hardened-off' for field or greenhouse planting.
|Red onion seedlings 🌱|
CSA Vegetable Shares
Sign-ups have been rolling in since early January. Thanks to all who have already signed up! We are running sign-ups in two phases this year. Now through March 20th we are only taking sign-ups from returning shareholders. If you are a potential new shareholder and wish to be added to a waitlist, please let us know! After March 20th, depending on the number of CSA slots available, we’ll be opening up sign-ups to those on the waitlist. Information on our CSA offerings with sign-up directions can be found here on our website...
|Early season CCF CSA Share from 2020|
CCF CSA 2021
Similar to past seasons, we will be aiming to begin our first week of CSA distribution early/mid-June. The exact date always depends on the weather and how quickly our early season crops develop. New for our CSA shareholders this season, we’ll be sending out a very short questionnaire (totally optional), as a way to get to know everyone's veggie favorites/preferences. We already know a lot about our returning shareholder preferences, but want to get an idea about new shareholders too! Our goal, for any week we have a surplus of certain veggies, is to go more heavy on those veggies for those who really enjoy them. Similarly, for people who aren’t crazy about one particular kind of veggie, we would be able to add more of another vegetable that they do like. Keep in mind, a lot of this will depend on the nature growing season, and what we have in terms of crop yields for each week.
Early Season Projects
Barn-side Updates -
Last week we experienced heavy winds on the farm. One of our 40 year old sky panels on the barn roof was torn off during the wind event. We have sourced and ordered 8 new panels to replace all of the originals. The advantage of the sky panels is they allow for lots of natural sunlight inside the barn. Additionally, a few of the older panels had begun to leak, so we're looking forward to getting the new ones installed! After six years of farming we have learned how important it is to have functional structures for proper animal housing and equipment storage.
Pig Palace -
Each year since relocating the farm to Hardscrabble Rd. (2018), we have housed the pigs inside the barn. Last season the barn became incredibly dusty part way through the summer. We are certain the drought did not help this, but with a higher volume of birds and pigs living in the barn last season, it became more dusty than past seasons. To alleviate this, this season we will be moving the pigs into a horse stable that was built in 1982 for Dad’s Belgian horses. The horse stable currently sits on the other side of the farm, but we are slowly dismantling it and will be re-building it adjacent to the barn. We will be updating this structure to include wood flooring and multiple stalls for various litters of pigs. Once again, the pigs will have ample outdoor space for their rooting and foraging enjoyment! Sign-ups for pigs are open and can be found here on our website…
|Horse stable relocation|
We are currently sourcing a new greenhouse. Given the pandemic, various building materials such as steel are in short supply, so there's a current backlog on steel greenhouse frames. Best case scenario this new 24’ X 84’ Gothic-style structure will arrive July/August, and will most likely not be up and ready for operation until the 2022 season. A more controlled growing environment compared to field space, this greenhouse will add more space for various greens, roots, and fruit vegetables, depending on the season and our annual crop rotation.
Maple Syrup Season
The weather forecast is showing a warm up next week, and we are anticipating our first sap run of the season! We have been busy installing additional tubing lines which will replace most all of our sap buckets used in previous years for collection. The sap collection process will be much quicker and easier this season! We’ll be tapping all the trees this Sunday and Monday. New for this sugaring season, we'll be announcing the days we boil sap, so anyone is welcome to come and watch the syrup production at our sugarhouse! Although the sap is collected at our new farm (Hardscrabble Road), our sugar house is located at our old farm location (564 Bird Pond Rd). This is where we boil sap and can the syrup. If anybody has empty canning/syrup bottles or jugs, we love to re-use!
|New sap lines|
If anybody has empty salad containers similar to the ones seen in the picture below, please let us know! We seed many of our veggies (including onions and tomatoes) inside these containers. With the lids included, these cases make for excellent small greenhouses and help keep moisture levels consistent for the seedlings!
It’s still winter!
Enjoy the snow and weather while we have it! If you are a skier (like us here), there should be some excellent skiing/snowshoeing for the next several weeks. Enjoy it while it lasts, because before you know it it, garden season will be here. If you have not already, check out our latest blog post highlighting several of our favorite local ski destinations!