Author Archives: saugeenrivercsa

About saugeenrivercsa

Farmer/owner Saugeen River CSA

Seeds!

In brief, we’re looking for return members to start signing up for the 2023 season by sending a deposit or full payment. This is to help cover the cost of the seed order.

Garden planning and seed ordering is always exciting. The future crops are right there, in your imagination… and they always look and taste beautiful! There’s the joy of deciding what new things to try, and the self control needed to resist trying everything. For example, we did an experiment this past year and are excited to bring melons back into the CSA rotation! But which melons to choose?

For the first 22 years of the CSA we would do the garden planning through December and place the seed order early in January. In 2023 this would be too late. Certain varieties would sell out. The seed companies have been getting their catalogues out earlier and we have to be on the ball to get what we want. Now it’s early December seed ordering!

The base share price will remain the same for this season. $400 for a small share, $615 for a medium, and $880 for a large. We recognize how everyone’s budget is tight. The major influencer of food’s price inflation has been the rise of diesel fuel costs, since the food supply chain is based on mass transportation. Although we do use diesel on the farm, it’s a small, small fraction of our expenses and so has not made a significant impact. We are noticing, however, the increase in price of other supplies, including seeds!

As we’ve done over the past few years, there is an optional ‘Capital Pledge’ that can be part of the share price. This is a voluntary contribution, and many of you have been adding something to the share price all along. Thank you. It’s a $100 recommendation, but it’s whatever you can manage. See the CSA Economics page for more details, or send us your questions.

The CSA model has always been about finding more sustainable and community based economic systems. It seems more and more needed these days!

Thank you all for helping make small scale agriculture sustainable and a meaningful part of the community!

Winter CSA schedule

Every other week can be a challenge to keep track of, so here’s the planned pick-up days, Friday’s from 2-6pm:

November 18
December 2, 16, 30
January 13, 27
February 10, 24
March 10

As always, if it’s a struggle for you to make it during the regular pick-up time, let me know and we can make other arrangements. If Highway 6 is closed due to weather I’ll send a notice out and we will adjust.

Winter Squash

Here’s a helpful description of the different squash that will be available at the first winter csa pick-up. We have all these, except there’s no more delicata (unfortunately). We do have a small grey/orange pumpkin looking squash not in this picture that has a similar flavour though…
The buttercups, kabochas, and kuri’s have drier flesh but very tasty for pies or to thicken sauces. Enjoy!

Thank you and IMPORTANT Winter Share info

First off, thank you to all members and market customers for this past season. Your commitment to local food goes beyond the benefits to the farm and to you! It’s part of building resiliency in your health, the economy, community, and the environment.

Winter CSA info:
Pick-up will begin Friday November 4 from 2 – 6 pm in the root cellar (the green door on the north side of the yellow cabin near the greenhouses). I’ll have a sign directing those who are new this year.
NEW THIS YEAR: We had a bountiful squash harvest, and I will be giving out all the squash for the winter season on the first pick-up. This is because we do not have ideal storage for the squash and we have lost more to rot in the past than I care to admit. Squash keeps best at room temperature in a dry location. They don’t like temperature fluctuations, so in your house is best. Put them where you can keep an eye on them, so if you notice one going off – eat it!
Each winter member can take squash in increments of 3, up to a maximum of 18. I will mark down what you take and it will count as part of your overall winter share. So, say you take 12 squash. This will count as 4 items that will go against your share through the course of the winter, to be deducted by the end of the season however you wish. It’s not as complicated as it sounds and I will help you figure it out 🙂 This is all the squash you will get from the farm for the winter, but it will keep better in your living room than in our basement (which is the only space we have here to store it).
For the first pick-up on the 4th bring an extra box or bags for you squash. They also make beautiful decorations!

Fennel

Many people have been asking what to do with fennel. Well since there’s going to be more in the next couple of weeks we thought we’d share some ideas. It has strings like celery, so if you cut it horizontally they become less of an issue. The simplest is to just dip it in olive oil and salt for a lovely Hors D’oeuvre. It makes a nice addition to coleslaw. It’s flavour compliments tomatoes, so in a soup or salad (see the picture below of fennel, cherry tomato, feta salad!)

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.