The Beet: Volume 14, Issue 16

In This Week's BEET:

  1. This week's share
  2. Letter from Ted & Windflower Farm
  3. Cacao update!
  4. Open House Essay from Ruth, our CHCSA Coordinator
  5. Pics from Farm Weekend

Pick up today: 5:00-7:30 at PS 56 on the corner of Gates and Downing


This Week's Share:

  • Tomatoes
  • Cilantro
  • Chilies
  • Onions
  • Bell peppers and corn
  • Radishes
  • Lettuces
  • Arugula
  • Assorted Greens
  • Fruit: Peaches

Letter from Ted & Windflower Farm

The heat of mid-summer is beginning to give way. A front this weekend has delivered some much needed rain - we hadn’t had any since early August - and in its wake a refreshing cool-down. Cucumbers and squashes have already come to a near standstill, and the next few weeks will bring the last of our tomatoes, corn and beans. But don’t fret, other good vegetables are on their way! Warm season crops are always too short-lived, but they will be replaced with the hardy, nutritious and delicious crops of fall: sweet potatoes, winter squashes, leeks, carrots, garlic, beets, onions, turnips, broccoli, cabbages, Irish potatoes, fennel, rutabagas, and a range of cold-hardy greens. I can see soups and stews and piles of roasted, mashed and stir fried vegetables.

I’m sorry for not having written these past two weeks. We took a little “slow down” the week after our open house just to catch our breath, and then we became busy with late summer activities. Farm seasons have distinct cycles, and some of the more interesting ones begin in late summer. We are now turning our attention to this winter’s greens, next June’s strawberries, July’s onions, and September’s garlic.

Last week we planted strawberries. We took bare root cuttings and potted them into flats about a month ago. Four weeks later – which was last week - they had root systems sufficient for planting in the field. This week we’ll mulch them and, because their leaves are a favorite food of deer, surround them with a protective electric fence. In mid-October we’ll pinch any runners they produce and cover them with two layers of floating row cover. If all goes well they’ll be ready for harvest next June. I’ll post pictures on our Instagram account.

Last weekend we attended the Southern Vermont Garlic Festival where we picked up some new German White planting stock. We are still on the hunt for Spanish Roja to fill out our planting for next year. In the meantime, we’ve been curing our own crop, which is largely a German White variety that we harvested in early August, and plan to get it sorted this week. We will hold some 1500 bulbs back for replanting, and put the rest, which may amount to just two distributions, in your shares beginning in a couple of weeks. Then the annual cycle will begin anew. We will plant next year’s garlic in a month from now, in mid-October, dig it next August, cure it through September, and ship it off soon afterwards. We’ve already worked up the ground and shaped the beds. We need only lay the mulch and drip irrigation lines to be ready for planting.  And a month after planting, just as with strawberries, we’ll cover the garlic beds with floating row cover. And at about the time we cover our garlic we will plant about a quarter acre of onion sets, which we will be a part of next July’s CSA shares.

We began one other project last week: the seeding of our winter greens crop. We sowed spinach, kales, chard, tatsoi, choy and arugula in preparation for transplanting into greenhouses on Columbus Day Weekend, in early October, after we’ve torn out this year’s old tomato plants. We expect to harvest the greens from November through February, as part of our winter share. Look for a winter share signup link in early October newsletters.

Have a great week, Ted  

Cacao Update

The Cacao has finally made it's journey from Costa Rica to the East Coast, and will be ready for purchase in 2 weeks during the CHCSA distribution!

Avalible on October 1st & 8th

1/2 lb. bags will be offered for 12$ 

Cash only please.

Windflower Farm Weekend Reflections

from Ruth Katcher, our CSA Coordinator

Four hours north of the city, sitting on 90 acres of land, Windflower Farm seems like everything Brooklyn is not: long rows of vegetables and flowers stretching over rolling fields, quiet save for the sound of crickets. This weekend, the outskirts of those fields were dotted with tents, as members of some of the thirteen CSAs served by Windflower Farm came to enjoy the annual open house. 

According to farmer Ted Blomgren, it helps that the flower share, which his wife Jan directs, winds down in the weeks before the open house. It’s a lot of work but worth it, he adds. From the beautifully decorated picnic tables to the fields ripe with harvest to the brand-new outhouse, everything about Windflower Farm was on display. 

The Clinton Hill CSA has a special place for Ted, because he’s worked with us longer than any of his other current CSAs. It was 16 years ago that he took over a CSA from another farmer. The Clinton Hill CSA joined him two years later. 

Planting, weeding, and washing determine a farm’s ability to stay in business, says Ted. Starting his tour in the planting shed, he shows us trays of baby lettuce and chard soon to be transplanted into the fields. A new transplanter—bought on EBay!--makes the job easier, saving time and the workers’ backs. Tomato plants are everywhere, and we pass trays of already harvested garlic and onions. Ted shows us potatoes, carrots, turnips, all nearly grown, as well as squash that’s curing on the vine. Asking for a show of hands on who likes eggplant, he seems surprised that nearly half of the CSA members on the tour responded—perhaps we’ll see more eggplant in next season’s share! 

As an experienced farmer, Ted knows, without seeing the evidence, when a field is ready for weeding. Pointing to one tractor and then another, he shows us that one works between the rows, the other to weed within the row. Asked if he has his weeding schedules on a spreadsheet he says no. It’s all in his head—the information that will allow him to provide 22 weeks of vegetables for a total of 1100 shares. 

After a delicious potluck supper, many visitors to the farm settle down at the bonfire, while others sit at picnic tables and sample warm maple syrup and cotton candy made from maple sugar, both contributed by the Davis family, who also provide our egg share. The moon shows the way to the tents, pitched on soft grass at the edge of a field. The next morning, the Ted’s family provides breakfast, while children weave through the crowd waving duck and chicken eggs they’ve harvested from Ted’s small poultry flock. 

Asked what he’s going to do when everyone leaves, Ted says, “A nap.” In fact, he leads a small group to the Davis farm, where the Davis farmers, father and son, show off a flock of hens, too busy rooting for food to notice strangers in their yard. It’s an enjoyable ending to a weekend of revelations, chief among them the extraordinary amount of work and care that go into our weekly deliveries of fresh produce. 

 Ted & guests in one of the green houses

Ted & guests in one of the green houses

 Potatoes right out of the earth

Potatoes right out of the earth

 The new out house

The new out house

 Camping in one of the fields left for fallow

Camping in one of the fields left for fallow