Monday, July 25, 2011

What's in today's share?


It's actually a mystery to me as well and I'm not sure if Kji will have a chance to upload a photo as we usually do. I'm up in BC right now at Foxglove Farm (above photo) to teach a workshop on growing vegetables with Michael Ableman. This is an annual event for me and I was able to check out their annual festival for the first time this year at the same time. Incredible farm with accommodations if you're looking for a vacation spot, and I'll be teaching with Michael again in September if you're wanting a workshop on Urban Agriculture.

Meanwhile, I hope the share is beautiful and self explanatory today. I can't wait to hear what you got.

Monday, July 18, 2011

What month is it?

The weather looks like May, maybe June, and so does the share, kind of. No summer goodies yet, but we're still solid with lettuce, chard, and parsley and favas which really are early summer goodies. This should be our last pick of favas, and it's our first, of what I hope will be many, pick of parsley. I'm not sure what it is about this year but we're already starting to see some vole damage. I noticed their chewings in the beets and the chard today. They took out an entire chard plant and damaged a few more. We have more deer pressure this year than ever before as well.

We need to deal with both of those items soon, but first we need to get the rest of our fall vegetable plantings in. Today we planted another round of green beans. Lots of chicories are getting seeded now, and as soon as we can get beds ready we'll be putting in the fall and winter carrot seedings. Today was mostly filled with hoeing and tying tomatoes. The rain really stimulated a lot of weed growth and we've been ignoring the weeds for the most part as we catch up on the plantings. It was nice to clean up a lot of the beds, at least a little.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Our Bags


For the past three years we've been using organic cotton promotional bags to pack the shares. These are reusable and washable and we mostly try to get folks to bring them back. If everyone was perfect about doing this we'd only need 110 bags for our 55 shares - one that's out with the share, and one that's coming back. Last season we ordered 300 bags for what we thought would be 100 shares. We did a lot less that 100 shares. We've been using those same bags this season, but now it seems we're running out. Bags get lost, collect in piles in odd corners and some even fall apart after repeated washings and use so I'm not totally surprised. The only problem is that I haven't ordered more so I better order more soon. They are amazingly cheap in bulk, even screen printed we get them for less than $3 a bag, including shipping. This means that our nearly $700 order of bags has gotten us through about 45 weeks of shares, averaging about 45 shares per week over that time. That's over 2000 bags we've sent out, or seven uses per bag, very roughly - $0.40 per share per week maybe, or something like $5 per share per season. I actually have the exact numbers, but not the time to collect and tally them right now. On the whole I'm pretty happy with how it's going.

If you do have any bags sitting around that should go back into circulation please get them back to us, we'd love to make it through until our next order of new bags comes in.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Great Garlic

Today there are 8, yes eight, heads of garlic in the share. We do not expect you to eat 8 heads of garlic this week, but these will keep for months and the skins will dry if you leave them in a place with decent air circulation (like an open bowl on the counter). We don't really have a place to store them, so we're sending them all out right now. Last fall when we planted the garlic we were planning for more shares, but then we scaled back a little so there's more garlic than we intended. There were also more onions that we intended so we're giving out the last of the sweet onions this week. The peas from last week were done in by the heat so we've switched over to favas this week. We also have a bit more fennel and the first pinch of basil which will allow the plants to bush out a bit and start really producing (we hope).

This weekend I had the great fortune to spend 7 hours giving a really in depth tour of the farm and our systems to the Beginning Urban Farmer Apprenticeship program that is being run by OSU Extension and Multnomah County. It was a sizable group and everyone had great questions, some of which I'm realizing I didn't answer all that well and I should write out more complete answers when I have a chance. Farming in the way that I do at Slow Hand Farm is something I'd been wanting to do for about ten years by the time I actually started the farm. The farm is a bit of an experiment to see if some of my ideas work, and how to make them better, and I also wanted it to be a model I could share with other folks interested in small scale production. I was really glad to be able to share what I've learned so far with this group of beginning growers, and their questions about the CSA made me remember how much I owe to all of the CSA members who have been supporting the farm over the past three seasons. I love bringing the members produce, connecting folks to the farm, and hearing stories about how people are enjoying the food. What a great community that's supporting agriculture here in Portland.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

What? No Photo?

Yep, I'm rushing a bit today and the share, once again, is the same as Monday's was. I'm rushing to go table for the Portland Area CSA Coalition at the Ecotrust Sundown Series. There's free music, info tables, etc. Come see me there.

Quick update on the farm front, we've finally caught up on all of the planting and seeding, more or less. It was a busy week but I think next week we'll finally get to some of the weeds and other plant care that's been waiting for a free moment.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Spring or summer?

It does kind of look like a spring share today, although I really think of peas as early summer. These are shelling peas so while the pods have good flavor and can be used to flavor stock, they're so fibrous they're not really edible like a snap pea - eat the little peas inside, and they're best sightly boiled or steamed. They go really well in hearty salads or on pasta. A big sweet onion with the onion greens as well. These are from overwintered sweet onions and they'll be good raw or cooked in a dish. A small bulb of fennel with the greens. Greens are good in salad, as is the bulb if sliced thinly. Both can also be cooked, which looses the anise flavor, but is also a tasty treat. Finally, a head of Jester lettuce, big and crunchy. I'm guessing you'll know what to do with this one.

It was a warm one on the farm today. I'm thinking about heading out to the farm for some extra irrigation and planting catchup on Wednesday. We're normally only out on Mondays and Thursdays but the farm could use a little extra love right now. I did manage to stake and prune most of the tomatoes today, although I didn't get them all tied up. There are actually a few green tomatoes on the plants so we should have some summer fruit this year; hard to believe after that wet, cold spring.