THE BEET: Volume 15, Issue 3


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

In This Week's BEET:

  1. Your Share
  2. Letter from Windflower Farm
  3. Get to know your CSA core and farmer
  4. Fermentations - A la Carte Orders!

This Week's Share:

  • Red Leaf Lettuce
  • Green Romaine or Oakleaf Lettuce
  • Garlic Scapes
  • Your choice of two between Swiss Chard, Arugula and Choy
  • Scallions
  • Radishes
  • Bok Choy
  • Spinach
  • Potted Herbs

Letter From Windflower Farm:

We’ve been irrigating nonstop this past week. It hasn’t rained for two weeks and no rain is in sight, so we irrigate around the clock. We’ve invested quite a bit in irrigation equipment over the years, making it a lot easier to get water to our crops. We have two ponds and a deep, high volume well to draw from. And that is good news because rainfall this spring has been 8” below normal. We use drip irrigation on much of the farm, an Israeli technology that makes very efficient use of water, but we also use a good deal of overhead irrigation. We have invested in two irrigation reels over the years. These are sprinklers that travel the length of beds by themselves, irrigating whole swaths of crops a half-acre at a time.  Nate and I share the workload: he irrigates the back fields from the ponds and I irrigate the front fields and greenhouses from the well. Yesterday he ran drip irrigation on a field of onions and garlic and then on another of cucumbers, melons and squashes. This morning he set up the reel on a field of beets, spinach and carrots. Now he’s irrigating a field of sweet corn. For my part, yesterday, I ran an irrigation reel through a field of mixed crops, including herbs, greens and popcorn, then ran drip on our pepper, cucumber and tomato greenhouses this morning, and I’m now running a reel through a field of lettuce and broccoli. It’s a tight schedule – it takes nearly a week to get through the whole farm. There is a slim chance of rain tonight, so we’ll continue to irrigate. Tomorrow it’s on to a flower field and then the cabbage…
Have a great week! Ted  

Spotlight on your CSA Core and Farmer!

Part of being in a CSA is getting to know your community and starting with this week's BEET, we are going to offer a little insight into who we are (the core) and Ted (owner of Windflower Farm).  And as it's always appropriate to start from the source,  this week we asked Ted a few questions.

1.  How long have you been a CSA farmer?  What brought you into CSA?

Jan and I got our start in CSA farming in 1995 when we helped to start a small CSA on borrowed land in New Paltz, a college town in the Mid-Hudson Valley. e stayed there for a couple of years while we looked for land of our own. We bought our current farm in 1999 and began working with Just Food on developing our CSA soon afterward.

What brought us to CSA? I thought back then, and I believe it's probably still true, that farming in the Northeast is likely to be most successful if it is done in community. For the farmer to absorb all the risk associated with farming and then to compete in a cut-throat marketplace is a formula for failure. There is something special about the interdependency of farmer and shareholder, producer and consumer, sharing in the risks and rewards of the seasons. The cards are too much stacked against small scale organic farmers without the financial commitment of CSA shareholders.

2.  How many CSAs do you work with? Do you sell at other outlets, i.e. farmer's markets?

We work with three CSAs in Manhattan, including Washington Hts., West Harlem and Stanton Street, in the Lower East Side, and five in Brooklyn, including Park Slope, Prospect Hts., Prospect Park, Central Brooklyn and Clinton Hill. In addition, we provide a "Pantry Share" to five food pantries in Brooklyn and four in the Bronx via a grant administered jointly by Just Food and the United Way of New York City. Our farm has been its current size for five or six years. We do not sell our produce elsewhere.

3.  How has your approach to farming changed over the years?

Our approach to farming has changed in two significant ways over the years. First, we have learned to manage risk more carefully, and, second, we have become more mechanized. In terms of risk, we use more row covers to deal with foul weather and insects and we use more greenhouses to more reliably grow peppers and tomatoes. We have mechanized in all kinds of ways to make the work of farming less physically demanding and to make our efforts more productive.

4.  What is the most satisfying aspect of being a farmer?  The most challenging?

Most satisfying? Filling our truck week after week with healthy food, taking good care of our small part of the earth, and building an excellent farm team. Most challenging? Filling our truck week after week, particularly in the early weeks of the season. hich is to say: dealing with difficult spring weather.

5.  What is your favorite vegetable?  How do you use it?

Favorite vegetable? As a kid I didn't really care for vegetables, having grown up with canned peas and creamed corn. Now I like almost all of them. I'm afraid I really can't choose. aramelized baby squash is hard to beat. Cooked beets served cold on a hot day are pretty terrific.

 Ted during the annual Windflower Farm Open House & Potluck

Ted during the annual Windflower Farm Open House & Potluck

Shout Out to Fermentation Lovers!

Do you love sauerkraut?  Pickles?  If yes, you might consider signing up to get a month or two of ferments from Contraband.  (They are independent from the CHCSA)  For more information about them- check out their website!

Contraband is offering TWO Fermentation CSA pickups this summer! One in late June and one in mid-July! You can signup here for one or both!

June's pickup will include a quart of kimchi + a quart of fermented carrots.

July's pickup will include a quart of our Lemon Dill Sauerkraut + a quart of our Summer Purple Sauerkraut.

Cost is $30 per month / you can choose between one or both months! Pickup TBD but it will be in the Lefferts Gardens / Crown Heights area.