Fall, Winter, Spring

With our official last week of summer, fall is in the air. This post has important information about the end of the season, winter shares and a new SPRING SHARE!

Folks have been asking, so the final main season CSA pick-up days will be: Friday October 21 and Tuesday October 25.

A CHANGE from previous years, the Winter CSA will begin early November, Friday the 4th, and continue every other week as before, but finish up the end of February. The main reason for this shift is that the past few years I’ve seen a fair amount of loss in some of the storage crops (squash, cabbage, kale) through the month of November. There’s nothing so disheartening as harvesting a good crop, only to see it spoil in storage. The Winter share prices will remain the same: $250 for a small share and $400 for a large. I will start taking return winter members now, and if we’re not full by the middle of October will sign up new members.

The other reason for this shift is our new Spring CSA! The greenhouses usually sit idle in early spring, but it has been too much for me to grow crops on my own, but as many of you already know, Lydia will be returning next season and will take on the management of the new Spring Shares. I’ll let her explain:

Hi everyone, it’s Lydia here. 

I know it’s difficult to picture winter right now, when we’re stuffing ourselves with toasted tomato sandwiches and salads…but it is coming, and as the snow settles in we’ll start wondering where all the greens have gone! 

Well I have good news for you, we will be running a spring CSA share in 2023! Spring shares from mid-April through May will include succulent sprouts, mustard greens, radishes, Bok Choi, lettuces, green onions, leaf cabbage and more. By signing up for all three shares (winter, spring, and main season summer) you would only go one and a half months of the year without local, fresh veg. 

We will be signing people up through December, but if you want to reserve your spot (there are only 25 shares available), let us know now and we’ll put you on the list. Email me at lydiadyck.sunspring@gmail.com or let us know at the regular pick-up.

Basil!

We have an abundance of basil this year… and it’s not going to be around much longer. We have more than member seem to need, so am looking to sell larger quantities. We can sell it by the bushel or by the plant, or whatever quantity you or someone you know needs!

Peak of Summer! And Processing Tomatoes!

The greens in the tree leaves have shifted from their rush of spring to their soaking summer sun. The days are getting noticeably shorter.

I wanted to remind members who opted for payments spread throughout the season that another payment would be beneficial, and all payments should be complete before the end of the season.

We will start taking orders for canning tomatoes. Like the pickles, a minimum of half a bushel can be reserved for a specific harvest day. We can sign you up until the middle of September. We’ll try to fill all the orders, but it’s never 100% certain what the harvest will be.

I also wanted to tell the tomato’s story so far. The plants are looking great, and it appears it will be a very good harvest. When the plants were potted up back in April, in the greenhouse, there was a problem because we had to change the lime ingredient of our soil mix, and it seemed the new lime was not dissolving and available to the plants. The struggled to develop their roots. We supplemented them with a nettle and compost tea which brought them around to be strong healthy plants. After we planted them out in early June, the weather turned quite cold and windy for a couple weeks, and the plants wished they could have been back in the greenhouse! We even saw frost on June 19th (now the record for latest frost I’ve seen). It didn’t do any damage, but shows how cold the nights were. The plants reacted by trying to make fruit right away, and held off growing. There was a tiny flush of fruit, but then they got into the summer mode and started growing like mad, holding off more fruit production. Now they’ve set a good harvest, although it appears to be ripening a couple weeks later than other years. Every year is different, and I’m always amazed at the adaptability of plants, and feel honored to be in partnership with them!

Products for sale at the farm

Just a reminder that in addition to the vegetables and herbs that you get as a CSA member, we have available for sale: herb salts and tea, salve, currant coulis, and duck from our farm. We also carry chicken and pork from Burdock Grove Farm near Williamsford. Aster Lane bread is available by pre-order on Tuesdays.

Horses and drivers in training

The days of sun this week have given us the chance to work more with Flora and Marcus, the new power-houses (horses) of the farm. The goal for the summer is to have the team, which is both of the horses as well as the driver, cultivating rest areas of the garden where we can plant cover crops to continue feeding the soil during the season.

It’s really fun to see the horses get into the groove of working, they blow through their noses and set into a good walking pace together. These horses want to do work, and it’s a really amazing thing to see them listening well to their driver, Cory, and following commands in formation. It’s a bit of a process to acclimatize the horses to the farm and get them used to working again after a few years of a relaxed life, but it’s been going well, and ultimately we’re building a team in the process, the horses and the driver. “Good work team,” Cory says as Flora and Marcus head into the next garden bed.

Spring…?

Snow-covered currant bushes

Yes, this is what we woke up to this at Saugeen River, and there were a few “Merry Christmases” going around. Luckily, if you take a step through that greenhouse door you’re transported right into spring, it’s like going into another dimension. Seedlings are looking wonderful and we’re potting up tomatoes and peppers like crazy (SO many varieties to look forward to).

Potting up parsley

It has been a longer spring, it’s true, but we’re prepared and ready to to spring into things when it does arrive, which should be in the next week or so! Beds for peas were made in the fall, so we can plant as soon as the ground dries up a little. Yes, you can start dreaming of spring food, we definitely are!

First lettuces and onions!

The coming season!

I’d like to update you on some plans for the farm. As many of you may already know, Lydia Dyck will be joining the farm for the coming season.  You may have seen her at the art supply and framing store in Durham, since her family owns the Colour Jar. She’s grown up a part of the CSA, with her family having a working share picking peas and beans for nearly twenty years now (mostly Barb)!  Lydia’s spent the last couple years involved in other farming ventures, and will be ‘renting’ some land here to do her own project as well as helping with the CSA.  This has been called an “incubator” arrangement, where existing farms can help up and coming farmers get started without them needing to buy all their own equipment and land as they figure life out.  This is very much a win/win since she knows the farm so well already… She will be doing some of the postings and contributing in many ways, so I wanted to let her introduce what she is planning for the coming season: 

Hey everyone! I’m excited to meet you all in the upcoming season. I know it seems far away but we’ve already been planning for it since last year! I’m super excited to be apprenticing with Cory as well as growing a small garden plot of my own and starting a new venture to add to Saugeen River CSA. In developing this venture I am seeking to address two important points: 1) YOU want more eggs (or so a little bird told me) and 2) the farm wants more animals. It just so happens that the perfect solution is to pasture-raise a flock of laying hens. So I look forward to keeping you up to date as this adventure unfolds, keep your eyes and eggs peeled for more info!

2022 Season!

Happy New Year everyone! With so much uncertain in the world, one thing I can say is that the days are already getting longer, and seeds have begun arriving for the coming season! As in other years, I start signing up previous members in the month of January. In February I open shares up to others if there’s space. Many of you have already signed up, but for those who have not, if you could at least let me know your intention if you want a share this season. Winter plans are underway, and neglected bookkeeping. I’ll post more details about the coming season soon…

Grassland bird study at the farm

A group of biologists from Bird Ecology and Conservation Ontario have been studying ground nesting birds (Bobolinks, Eastern Meadowlarks, and Grasshopper Sparrows) in this area for several years. This past year they did a study of our farm, among others. Their goal is to help farmers develop pasture and haying practices that can take into consideration the needs of these endangered birds. It was a great experience to learn how adjusting grazing and cutting timing can make it more possible for these birds to raise their young. I’ve attached the report they gave me about the farm. They also recorded all the bird species they observed here (47 total!).