Saturday, November 7, 2009

Beginning of a beautiful friendship...

Today is like Christmas for me.

For months (maybe even years?), I have been waiting anxiously...dreaming about it...imagining all of the deliciousness, the freshness, the GREEN-NESS!!

Yes, today marks the first pick up day of my CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)!!!

I received this email during the week:

Welcome to the 2009-10 CSA season!
Warm greetings to our old friends and new friends of the farm.

Pick up days/times will remain on Wed 3-6 OR Sat 12-4

Our season will begin on Saturday Nov 7th for our full share members and those in the Group “A” . (Designated member name A-L)

Group “B” (designated member name M-Z) will begin the following week on Wednesday Nov 11 or Sat Nov 14.

Any questions, give us a call or stop by. The schedule should be updated on the website and reflect the continuing for 30 weeks until the end of May. For those of you who have been members you know we will continue to harvest into June as long as the weather allows. We are very informal and use the A/B system to keep the harvest stable over the life of the garden. We are not concerned about necessary changes you may need to make as long as we are made aware. Thanks for your support and cooperation.

What’s new at the farm 11/2/09… perhaps the fall season at the farm will be a “tasting” rather than a bountiful “harvest” due to flooding in the fields….

Hello everyone, I have been missing you and hoping you have had a wonderful summer. Many of you have been coming to the farm so you are aware of the work that has been done and how we are re-doing about six weeks of work in the field due to the wet planting season. Following two seasons of record drought and record freeze- we find ourselves in the midst of record-breaking rainfall during the planting season (10 days-12”) and record heat! As we enter our third CSA growing season – we learn the lesson of farming yet again - Rule # 1. It’s all about the weather. No amount of worry or fret is going to change the outcome. Farming will humble you and teach you patience! So what’s a farmer to do?

Of course, there’s - Rule #2. Don’t get too attached to your vegetables! For those of you who have stopped by the farm - it comes as no surprise that many of the seedlings you saw under water in the field did not survive…the poor broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, collards…all swallowed up by the sand and silt. Most of the seeds that were in sharp, clean rows ended up scattered in pools of swirling rainwater, while we couldn’t step foot in the field for fear of sinking in a foot! So what’s a farmer to do?

Most of you know our dear friend Berk Gumus, farm director at the Bern’s Steakhouse Farm in Tampa - you know how this is meant when he says - If it isn’t working – plow it under and begin again. That is oh so difficult to do when you have nurtured those little seedlings from a tiny seed to this point …you want them to succeed, you want them to grow – you want to EAT THEM!!! Our lesson - If something isn’t working in your life, you plow it under and begin anew. Seeds and plants are the same way…So what’s a farmer to do?

Well…first things first - we couldn’t bring ourselves to COMPLETELY till the gardens under; especially when I was so smug as to think I had begun this season on such a positive note when planting had began in JULY! But reality and Berk’s voice - forced us to be brutal…plow the field yet again, add a little compost and replant the seed we had left. Fortunately, when the rain didn’t stop for 10 days and the Farmer had recorded over 12” here at the farm - we saw the handwriting on the wall. When much of the garden looked like a rice patty…we began a list of all crops we needed to replace and began seeding everything AGAIN in the greenhouse.

That’s what a farmer has to do…and that quick action may have served us well if we can get a cold snap in the next few days and a few willing hands to help replant the fields. This week – hundreds of seedlings are ready to venture out of the greenhouse to the field. See list below of what’s to come…

Did you see our “dibbler” (measuring stick) when you visited? The dibbler marks the spacing of transplants in the field. No experience necessary to become a master dibbler! All kidding aside, many of you have asked about volunteering at the farm. Contact our volunteer coordinator Denise - and she will be able to give you specific information about volunteer training most every Sat 10-11 So e-mail Denise at Once you are comfortable with our system, join me from 9-12 any morning except Tuesday or Sunday to help with farm chores or harvest. If the weather cools to the 60’s in the evening - the mornings will be heaven on earth, perhaps almost “sweater” weather.

What’s ready to re-plant – some of which could be ready to harvest in 4-5 weeks…

Kale Red Russian
Kale – Lacinato
Kale – Green Curley
Kale – Redbor

What’s already in the ground – reseeded and growing daily!

Diakon radish
Green beans
Red mustard
Swiss Chard
Asian greens
Sweet cherry tomatoes

Now for the good/better news! The 37 year old Florida Herb Society will be using our 2nd greenhouse for their test garden. They should be around most weekends and you can visit their website for information about their meetings.

So much to tell you about
If you are interested in good, clean, fair food - check them out. A special membership promotion for a limited time - $60 fee is waived – join for any amount!! We are organizing an effort to build a chapter here in the Tampa Bay area. Right now Sarasota is the closest chapter. We had our first meeting at the farm last Sunday and will be having an event at 4:00 - Sunday Nov 22 - A potluck and a showing of “FRESH-The MOVIE.” Details will be posted. Also bring your own table service and a chair! A small fee will be charged by the SLOW FOOD Chapter.

With all that said, we look forward to seeing you at the farm. The harvest may be more of a tasting than a true bounty until the new planting matures…but rest assured it is a LONG season and the vegetables will grow and we will all share a good time and great food. We add Rule #3 – It’s all about the veggies…and herbs and flowers,…and friends. See you soon. If you are partnering with another family, please pass along this e-mail message. I am still trying to streamline this message distribution. Perhaps someone with lots of time to type and who knows Constant Contact software will appear at the farm....HA! So much farming to do, little time to type!!

The Farmer's Wife


I bought a half share, but will be picking up my harvest today since I work on the other days. They are quite flexible at Gateway, which is wonderful. Earlier in the year, my friend from nursing school let me pick up his share of a CSA in Tampa while he was out of town. I know it may sound weird, but when I got in my car with all of those vegetables, I almost wanted to cry. Just to think that these edible foods were in the soil just hours before, growing, taking in light and nourishment...and were now with me, ready to eat...really just blew my mind. I think more people need to see this and feel it. Food does not just come from the grocery store. It GROWS! I know that is obvious, but I often wonder if children (or even some adults) truly understand this notion. Whenever I bite into a fruit or vegetable, I am just amazed at the entire process. I think to myself, "This was on a tree, growing, and now I am eating it!!" Does anyone else think that is amazing?!! Maybe I am just quaked out of my mind?

Either way, I hope to take pictures while I pick up my harvest. I know they mentioned that the first "harvest" may be more of a "tasting" due to the weather conditions over the summer, but that is okay because it is a long season!!

"My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires, and more slow..."


Anonymous said...

Oooh, that's exciting! I'm super jealous...I wish I had the time to grow my own veggies. Good luck!