THE BEET: VOLUME 16; ISSUE 3

FULL SHARE & GREEN HALF SHARE

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

Reminders:

Sign up for your volunteer hours now! The CSA is a community endeavor that runs primarily on member labor. Shifts tend to fill up toward the end of the season, so get your work in now! Sign up HERE

Bring bags for your veggies! We have a few plastic bags for those who forget, but it's important to remember to bring your own bags and containers for your veggies and other shares.

If you have any Beet submissions, please feel free to contribute! We'd love to have our members represented in these pages. Send recipes, neighborhood news, food articles to newsletter@clintonhillcsa.org

This Week's Share

·        Kale varieties

·        Broccoli

·        Squashes

·        Swiss chard

·        Hakurei turnips

·        Potted Herbs

·        Fruit Share: Strawberries

Eggs and Fruit are here! Come pick up if you have these optional shares. Flower Shares will start in the coming few weeks. 

From Windflower Farm

Our farm season starts at the end of February, when we dust the snow off our greenhouses, test fire heaters and fans and water supplies, and sow our first onion and tomato seeds. We spend the first 60 days of the season in the greenhouse producing the tens of thousands of seedlings that will fill out our fields once the outdoor growing season gets underway in late April. It might be winter outside, but in the greenhouse it feels as though we’ve taken a trip to the deep south.

The next sixty days of the season - the last two months of spring - are always something of a marathon here at Windflower Farm. This is the part of the season when this vegetable farmer’s life is at its most hectic and stressful. Our target first planting day is April 21st, when any remaining snow is usually confined to north-facing hedgerows, and by June 21st, the start of summer, and longest day of the year, we hope to have the farm fully planted to all but the later successional crops and to have made several deliveries to the city.

Here is a short list of our accomplishments to-date: we have planted about two acres each of "Irish" potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions and other alliums, winter squashes, various greens, sweet corn and cut flowers. We have planted an acre or so each of green beans; root crops like beets, carrots and radishes; Brassicas (cabbages and broccoli); and Cucurbits (cukes, zukes and melons). And we’ve made several smaller plantings of arugula, celery, mustard mixes and herbs. We’ve planted two large greenhouses to tomatoes and a third to cut flowers. And we’ve planted 24 small greenhouses (150’ long structures we call “caterpillar tunnels”) to a combination of tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, cucumbers, basil and cut flowers. In addition, we put in a new quarter acre of elderberries and a half acre of table grapes. It’s been a busy 60 days!

Those first 60 days in the field tell us much about how the season will go. And so I thought I’d share some slightly scattered observations and give you a sense of what to expect. Mother Nature, a full partner in the farm, gave us some challenges. It was an unusually cold and wet spring, as you know, which threw off our planting schedule and will delay some (but certainly not all) harvests. So, where are we? 

I expect tomatoes, peppers, chiles and eggplants, in particular, to be a little later than usual, but our use of tunnels has been helpful and you should see these items showing up in early August shares. I’m grateful for the recent arrival of warm sunny weather. It is bringing on squashes and cucumbers a little earlier than expected. Squash starts this week, cucumbers should start the week after. 

Greens, strawberries, alliums, cabbages and potatoes all like cool, wet springs, and they are happy, if slightly delayed. We are trying to avoid giving you too many greens, but we continue to send them because we want to fill out your shares. Green onions will be showing up fairly soon and will become a regular weekly feature. Sweet corn does not like cool temperatures, nor do beans, and they will be later. My fear is that my four corn plantings all comes in at once! Garlic scapes are coming next week, and garlic bulbs a month after that, right on schedule. Kohlrabi continues to mature, turnips start this week, beets are coming soon, and carrots will start in early August. Eating seasonally is always full of surprises.

Every week, we’ll post an image or two from the farm on Instagram (here). You can also find us on Facebook (here), where you’ll find recipes and can exchange information with farm staff and fellow CSA members. You can reach the farm by sending an email to Andrea, our membership coordinator, at windflowercsa@gmail.com.

Enjoy the week. Best wishes, Ted and Jan