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Root Down Farm Ramblings

Summer Share #16 of 20: 9/21+9/23- Bulk Harvest

by Erin and Steve on 09/19/21

**Next week will start share renewals for the 2022 season. We'll email you with details**
This week the farm to-do list largely consists of harvesting as much as we can as the weather allows. You might think to yourself 'Oh that's it?', and the answer is yes, but bulk harvests take our crew half a day. It also takes half a day to harvest for each share, plus almost half a day to pack for our wholesale accounts, plus 2 half days for share distribution (which doesn't take the entire crew, but still). But if 'harvest potatoes' is on the list, we'll do as much as we can do in the time available. So let's say we get 4 beds, or 1600 bed feet, of potatoes harvested and bagged in a half day then that's a ton of potatoes picked up and we still have to do that 4 more times before all the potatoes are out of the ground. Some crops take longer to get out of the ground, like sweet potatoes, and some crops get washed before they're bagged. That always adds a lot more time onto the tail en of harvest.
But we are on schedule with the transplanting and seeding that needs to happen for the Winter Share greens as well. That involves turning high tunnels over, aka tearing out the tomatoes growing in the tunnels. It's a sad day when we tear out the heirlooms, but it has to happen in the name of winter lettuce and spinach. **BTW I think there are only a few Winter Shares left if you want a share make sure to sign up this week before we're full!**
This week's share will include potatoes, carrots, beets, winter squashes, zucchini, onions, radishes, salad turnips, eggplant, hot peppers, head lettuce, salad greens, fennel, bok choy, radicchio, kale, edamame, celery and tomatoes of course! Enjoy the tomatoes while they last. I refer to out-of-season shipped-from-who-knows-where tomatoes as foam balls.
The fruit share will include raspberries, plums, peaches, pears...and maybe the first apples of the season??
Don't forget your Savage Wheat Project orders too!

Summer Share #15 of 20: 9/13 + 9/15 The Final Weeks of Summer

by Erin and Steve on 09/12/21

It's difficult during a pandemic, on the 20th anniversary of 9/11, for my mind to stay inside our little 'farm bubble'. 9/11 for me took place at night. I was living in Sydney, Australia at the time and was watching the nightly news with my apartment mates when we found out what was happening in New York. At the time we turned on the TV only one of the towers had been hit, and we soon watched the second plane hit on live TV. I was living with 4 other Americans who all immediately started calling home. Everyone was getting through to family and friends, even waking some people up because their families were on Mountain Time. Everyone got through to someone but me. I was the only one with family on the east coast and there was just busy signals for every number I called. It was really strange for me because as we all know now, busy signals disappeared with the onset of the cell phone. There was limited information coming from the news on the TV, especially from reporters in Australia. But coverage soon changed to American TV and I found out that the planes that hit the towers came from Logan International (the airport in Boston) where I knew my dad was flying from that morning. He was supposed to be on a flight to Chicago I think, I can't remember now. He usually never flew out of Logan; it was usually LaGuardia or Newark. So I went to sleep that night, wondering how I would fall asleep, but assured I was going to talk to my dad the next morning. It was still the night of 9/11 in the US, and I did talk to my dad then. He ended up renting a car with some others and they drove to their destination.
I was in Sydney for another two months before I came back home. In that time my dad was volunteering to help clean up Ground Zero. I told myself then that the next time a national disaster happened I was going to be there to help clean up, now that I was home. And I did. I was in New Orleans after Katrina hit 16 years ago, helping to gut and clean out homes that had been ruined by the storm, but salvageable.
And here we are, 20 years after 9/11 and we just pulled out of Afghanistan, and Ida just hit New Orleans (of course amongst other locations including NYC). I'm hoping people are still feeling called to duty to help others during difficult times instead of pointing fingers. I'm hoping people are still feeling empathy for others during difficult times, instead of pointing fingers. I'm hoping people still feel a sense of resolve when we are collectively going through a difficult time instead of pointing fingers.
To now completely change my thought process and maybe crawl back into that 'farm bubble', we are still signing people up for the Winter Share. We have 29 spots left. The Winter Share includes greens every week through the end of January as well as winter squashes, root vegetables, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and fermented and frozen farm produce (like turmeric :). This is most likely the last week to sign up for it! So bring your payment and verbally sign up this week on your pick up day this week.
We will be starting renewals for the 2022 season in October.
This week's share will include: potatoes, summer and fall squashes, carrots, beets, peppers, eggplant, kohlrabi, onions, kale, celery, head lettuce, greens, and tomatoes.
The fruit share will include grapes, peaches, plums, and pears.
Don't forget you Savage Wheat Project orders, too.

Summer Share #14 of 20- 9/7+9/9 Back to School

by Erin and Steve on 09/05/21

**Don't forget to sign up for the Winter Share by bringing your payment with you to pick up your share!**
The school season is built around growing seasons, as I'm sure some of you know, but some may not. The reason for the Summer vacation for schools is so that kids could be at home during the growing season to help out on the family farm as a lot of families were farmers. Now the percentage of farmers per capita is around 2%. The school calendar never changed with the times, though. So Summer break has turned into "Summer vacation". But this year this week that marks the date a majority of kids are returning to school is a big shift on the farm as well. We've mowed our first and second plantings of tomatoes, are onto our fourth and final planting of zucchini and cucumbers, have started flipping our high tunnels to house winter greens, and are working on bringing in the acre of winter squashes in the field.
This week's share will include: potatoes, kabocha winter squash, zucchini, cucumbers, peppers, eggplant, cabbage, onions, carrots, beets, radishes, kohlrabi, kale, chard, celery, salad greens, head lettuce, tomatoes, spaghetti squash and the last of the melons!
The fruit share will include: peaches, plums, nectarines, and raspberries
Don't forget your Savage Wheat Project orders

Summer Share #13 of 20- 8/31+9/2 Time to Sign Up for the Winter Share

by Erin and Steve on 08/29/21

That's right, the time has come to sign up for the Winter Share. All the info you need to sign up is in the email sent out to all current members. We usually sell out in about 3 weeks, so make sure to sign up as soon as you are able.
This past week and weekend(s) of heat have been a bit brutal for us so we are looking forward to the cooler week ahead. Of course I can't talk about the weather without thinking of everyone on the Gulf Coast being impacted by Ida right now. It made landfall on the same day Katrina hit 16 years ago, and it's hard to think about what some people are going through right now.
As for the farm we keep chugging along the best we can, getting as much done as time and weather and our collective energy allows. Right now focus is on the start of the Winter Squash harvest. If you follow us on Instagram you saw that we already harvested the spaghetti squash. We plant a whole acre of winter squashes, so we have a lot more to harvest! Next up is the acorn squash amongst others, like the delicata and some kabochas. You might have also noticed we have already started our storage potato harvest (they are no longer considered 'new' or uncured potatoes), and finally finished the onion harvest (all the storage onions are currently being cured in the greenhouses; they will last all winter share long). The seasons are starting to turn, too, and you will begin to see the return of some of the brassica crops like kale, arugula, and radishes which means that broccoli can't be that far away! On the flip side, peak tomato, summer squash, and cucumber season is past. We will continue to have them, just in lesser quantity from here until they are gone. These seasons are fleeting, so enjoy them while they last!
This week's share will include potatoes, squashes, cucumbers, carrots, beets, melons, onions, peppers, cabbage, spaghetti squash, salad radishes, tomatoes, head lettuce, edamame, and escarole.
The fruit share will include grapes, peaches, nectarines, and pears. Don't forget to order from the Savage Wheat Project, or grab one of their grab bags.

Summer Share #12 of 20: 8/24+8/26 Some Reminders

by Erin and Steve on 08/23/21

That's right, here's some shop talk:
**Winter Share sign ups will be starting next week!! I'll send out emails to remind you, but the Winter Share runs for 7 weeks from November until the end of January. In order to sign up just bring your payment with you to share pick up (next week) and say you want a Winter Share. Info coming atcha soon ;)
**If you want to buy tomatoes or pickling cucumbers to preserve, right now is the time to do so. They are peaking. We don't have tons to sell, so the best time to buy is when you see them. Please don't wait until mid to late September, there won't be a lot of extras then.
**A reminder that WE GROW EVERYTHING IN THE CSA SHARES. Why in all caps? Because sometimes I have to scream it (in a nice way, of course) a few times in order for people to hear me. There is a lot of skill and some freaking gosh darn talent involved in running this farm. Also a lot of time, and  sweat, too. The only things we do not grow are the fruit in the fruit share which is explained on our website under the fruit share tab. Sometimes people then get confused that we grow melons. Melons are annuals, they grow like cucumbers and work in our farm rotation so we grow them and include them in our Summer CSA veg share. They are not perennials like stone fruit, tree fruit, and brambles, which are all in the fruit share.
**The share this week is HUGE and will include: potatoes, squash, carrots, beets, onions, eggplant, peppers, cabbage, cucumbers, cantaloupe, lettuce, watermelons, and tomatoes
**The fruit share will include peaches, plums, and nectarines
**Don't forget to order your Savage Wheat Project goodies

Summer Share #11 of 20- 8/17+8/19: Slog-ust

by Erin and Steve on 08/15/21

August can be referred to as Slogust because this is (hopefully) the homestretch for the part of the season where we just work WAY TOO MUCH. But that also means we are really starting to harvest a lot. We still have the last real round of weeding to do out in the big field as well as the UPick's final planting of beans (Yes, everything in the UPick fields have been weeded and weeded again and there are weeds still because it is all part of an ecosystem). However, it's also time to start pulling in all the onions, the first of the winter squashes, more potatoes, and the second plantings of carrots and beets. Soon we'll get more rest.
This week's share will include potatoes, zucchini, summer squashes, carrots, beets, cucumbers, peppers, eggplant, cabbage, onions, lettuce mix, melons, tomatoes and sweet corn.
This is the week to grab your canning tomatoes and pickling cukes!! They're at their height right now.
The fruit share includes table grapes, peaches, nectarines, and plums.
The Upick field has some resident ground bees. We are working on getting rid of them, but the area is marked off.
Don't forget you Savage Wheat Project Share. Select our location and pick up day. At the moment you need to order 3 days ahead of time because Emily bakes everything fresh to order.
Hang in there:)

Summer Share #10 of 20- 8/10+8/12: I Got the Finger

by Erin and Steve on 08/08/21

Since, let's call it the "COVID era", began people have been taking on more home improvement type projects. I know a lot of people are hiring out the work, but I think a good amount of people are taking on the work themselves. Sounds great, I just want to be sure they are being careful with a mind for safety! Learning new skills is awesome, but one thing I learned in my teenage years is that people who are REALLY good at something make that something look super easy. Almost so easy that one might think to themselves, "well I could do that". Case and point is happening right now, the Olympics. In a poll of Americans apparently 40% of us think we could compete in the Olympics. This made me laugh, out loud, hysterically, when I first heard it.
Back to the home improvement point: Steve and I have a few MD's in our families, and one is a radiologist. She told me, she can't figure out why, but she gets a patient in the ER who has cut off at least one finger once a week. It's become so routine that she just expects it now. I suspect it is a hybrid of a DIY mentaility mixed with the delusions of grandeur explained by the Olympic poll. Hmmm. Just a deep take on some cultural shifts brought on by said COVID era.
As for the farm, we are ticking right along. This week will be a hot one, but it is August after all, and in order for things to ripen we need the sun and warmth! Speaking of ripening this week's share will include: melons, tomatoes, sweet corn, carrots, beets, zucchini, summer squashes, cucumbers, peppers, eggplants, lettuce, fennel, and potatoes.
Fruit Share will include stone fruit like peaches, plums, apricots, and nectarines.

Summer Share #9 of 20- 8/3+8/5: Between the Solstice and Equinox

by Erin and Steve on 08/01/21

We are halfway between the Summer Solstice and the Fall Equinox. There are subtle changes happening in the seasons if you are quiet long enough to notice. Bigger harvests are going to start rolling in. One of them being the early seeded carrots. Unfortunately, we are seeing the first effects of the rain we had 2 weekends ago (remember 4 inches in a day on top of already wet fields followed by almost another inch that Tuesday where we actually lucked out). Damage from flooded fields takes longer to see the effects than, say, a hail storm. Immediately after a hail storm you see hail damage on crops (I wouldn't wish this on anyone), but with too much rain all at once there are areas of fields where it naturally runs to and sits until it is dries up. This happened in our carrot fields an if you can imagine a high water table with carrots growing into it what you end up with is rotten tips on harvest-stage carrots. And so we lost about 30-40% of that planting. As a result the carrots in the share will be smaller because those are the ones that survived. We seed 4 plantings of carrots, so we are not worried about them (yet ;) because they are still immature and don't reach too deep into the soil.
As for the share this week it will include: aforementioned carrots, beets, potatoes, summer squashes, cucumbers, peppers, eggplant, fresh onions, cabbage, head lettuce, fennel, radicchio, tomatoes and corn.
The fruit share will include blueberries, peaches, plums, and apricots.
Don't forget your Savage Wheat Project Order

Summer Share #8 of 20 7/27+7/29- Dolly Parton

by Erin and Steve on 07/25/21

If you ever click on this blog and think to yourself something along the lines of 'What the heck is she talking about now?', then just read the Subject line above. It usually is exactly what I'm talking about or the key to the punchline. Now maybe you're wondering why I'm not wondering that if readers can't tell what I'm talking about, then maybe I'm not that great of a writer. To that I say, "No duh", I'm not paid to write professionally. I just do it sometimes ;)
So, to my point. A wise woman once said 'Don't get too busy making a living that you forget to work on making a life', and that wise woman is Dolly Parton. I've loved Dolly Parton since I was in 5th grade when a friend of mine made me a mix tape with Dolly's song Jolene on it. I've always admired her sense of humor and wit as well as her amazing songwriting abilities. I watched the movie '9 to 5' many times as a kid, which may or may not've been age appropriate, but I understood the plot.
Sometimes when you are a small business owner you get into it because you are insanely passionate about it. So passionate that you may even sacrifice too much and forget to work on making a life that exists outside of it. I've definitely gone too far giving way too much of myself to our farm and our business. So much so that at one point I had given up all of my hobbies. There was a moment in 2015 when both my car registration and license had expired (we had moved twice and I did not update the DMV), but felt like I couldn't even leave the farm during business hours in July to update them. That was a red flag.
Maybe Dolly wouldn't like me calling her an 'elder', but it is important to listen to our wisest elders and heed the words of their experiences and the words of their elders.
Here's to a happy, healthy week! This week's share will include zucchini, summer squash, carrots, beets, fresh onions, cucumbers, new potatoes, peppers, head lettuce, kale, chard, fennel, scallions, garlic, cabbage, and tomatoes. The sweet corn is just on the cusp so if we don't have it this week it'll be ready next week.
The fruit share will (hopefully) include cherries, peaches, and plums. I apologize for not knowing exactly, but the crazier the Spring weather is every year the less predictable the weekly harvest is.
Don't forget the Savage Wheat Project and your Providence Creek Meat share pick up this week.
**Look for a Buffalo News article on Emily Savage of the Savage Wheat Project soon

Summer Share #7 of 20: 7/20+7/22 Childhood Memories

by Erin and Steve on 07/18/21

We always had cable as long as I can remember growing up (funny I have never had it in my adult years). We also had HBO, which at the time, was a big deal because it played mostly movies. We would then record our favorite movies with the VCR so we could watch them when we wanted. One that I remember is War Games staring Matthew Broderick, who also played Ferris Bueller if you're trying to recollect who he is. The gist of War Games is that during the Cold War the US Military decides that people shouldn't be in charge of the nuclear codes. Instead it would be more strategic for computers to be in charge. So a program is designed by the government to learn as much about war as possible by running simulations and gaining knowledge by playing games as well. And if you've already guessed that a young hacker unknowingly hacks the system thinking he is playing a war simulation game, then you've guessed what leads to the climax of the movie. Broderick's character, who was playing a war simulation as the Soviets, eventually realizes it's not a game and tries to warn the military but is arrested instead. The military believes that the Soviets are in fact attacking the US as the computer is indicating. Fast forwarding a bit, Broderick escapes and with the help of the system's creator convinces the military to stand down. When the supposed attacks from Russia never happen it is apparent that no one else was on the other side launching an attack. Now they have to convince the computer to stand down and not attack. In order to make the computer realize and learn not to attack, they order it to play tic-tac-toe against itself. It becomes a lesson in futility playing out on screen. Each game of tic-tac-toe ends in a draw. Once the computer realizes there are no-win scenarios in life it shuts down and doesn't attack. Of course during this period people are coming to realize how important the "two person rule" is in order to safeguard against unwarranted attacks (because two people need to agree for nuclear launch to happen). In the end "the only winning move is not to play". I remember that line. Why am I telling you this? Because I can't stress enough how important human interaction is. And I mean human interaction with people who are not like you. Real human interaction. Facebook or a comment section on some topic absolutely do not count. Though there are real people behind those screens they would not act the same if they were actually interacting with real people. You need the two person rule...in real life. But instead people are seeking out groups of others online, or on any screen really, who think exactly like they do instead of talking to real community members. It leads to people living War Games in their minds that no one else is playing. I'm sorry for the ramble, but I recently thought about that movie made in the 1980's and how much it still applies to all of our lives right now. Now to actually talk about the farm (see I didn't complain about the rain, yet ;) The Summer crops are coming in bit by bit, which means we some some, but not tons of some of our crops. For instance the eggplants are starting this week, so the crop will probably peak in about 3 weeks, but we'll have some this week. It's very exciting! This week's share will include: Squash, carrots, potatoes, beets, cucumbers, fresh onions, peppers, eggplant, cabbage, scallions, fennel, kohlrabi, lettuce, and tomatoes! The fruit share will include cherries, plums, and apricots Don't forget about the Savage Wheat Project orders, too.

Summer Share #6 of 20: 7/13+7/15 Farm Update

by Erin and Steve on 07/11/21

Sorry I did not blog about the share last week. It is the first time I missed a post during the share season since we started the farm in 2011. We've been a little busy. Thank you to everyone who reminded me and who had such nice things to say about the blog. I'm happy you like to read it. I am currently having some technical difficulties posting this and have already lost this post once after writing it.
The farm is coming along and overall everything is looking good. We're hoping to get more of the Summer crops into the share as they ripen. So hopefully the peppers and tomatoes will be on their way shortly. Same with the melons. I saw a few melons the size of my fist and as little as the size of my thumb. The sweet corn is tasseling and that means the ears are just starting to form. Ears of corn start with the husk around the silks. The pollen provided by the tassels catch the wind and pollinate the silks. Each silk that gets pollinated then turns into a kernel.
Generally, July is a difficult month for farmers. The bugs and the weeds an plant diseases, along with bugs that cause plant diseases, and weeds that help spread plant diseases, and you get the picture. We're still planting and harvesting, too.
I am thankful for this rain, though. We only received about an inch of rain for all of June and the beginning of July until last Thursday. But just a heads up, if it starts to rain too much I'm gonna have to complain about that, too!
This week's share will include carrots, beets, zucchini, summer squash, cucumbers, kohlrabi, onions, fennel, new potatoes, lettuce, cabbage, escarole, and scallions. The fruit share will be cherries. Don't forget to order your baked goods from the Savage Wheat Project.

Summer Share #4 of 20: 6/29+7/1- The Fruit Share is Starting!

by Erin and Steve on 06/28/21

Well good news, the fruit share will be starting this week. I apologize for not emailing everyone that it was coming, but we thought it would start next week! So it's a good surprise heading into the 4th of July weekend!
This heat is just making us want to egg on the Summer lovin' veggies to get a move on already. Now of course they are right on time but that's just where the mind goes when it's almost 90 degrees for 4 days straight! Hard to believe we are only 9 days into Summer come Tuesday. So get off "social" media this weekend, enjoy some real conversations with people while enjoying some farm veggies (and a smorgasbord of other food and drink ;)
This week's share will include: carrots, beets, zucchini, scallions, kohlrabi, broccoli, cauliflower, scapes, radicchio, bok choy, radishes, salad turnips, lettuce, salad greens, and cabbage!
The fruit share will be a boatload of cherries, both sweet and tart.
Don't forget to order from the Savage Wheat Project this week!


Summer Share #3 of 20: 6/22+6/24 Busy Bees

by Erin and Steve on 06/20/21

What an amazing month June has been so far (watch me jinx it). Of course we have had some wild swings in the weather, but all in all...well you can tell by the shares that things are moving along, right? This is a very busy time for us, so please remember that if you are going to miss your share and you think of that during share hours to please call or text the farm phone number (in the email sent) and ask us to put a bag together for you before we close shop. If you email us during share distribution we will not get it in any sort of expedited time.
The crops continue to roll in, including our first planting of broccoli that we typically harvest  harvest over the course of 10 to 14 days. It took all of 5 days until all of it was harvested because it was all maturing at the same time!
This week's share will have: broccoli, salad radishes and turnips, scapes, carrots, beets, scallions, kale, chard, head lettuce, spinach, bok choy and kohlrabi. I'm thinking the cauliflower will start coming in this week, too!
Don't forget to order your Savage Wheat Project Share for the week!

Summer Share #2 of 20: 6/15+6/17- Why So Serious

by Erin and Steve on 06/13/21

We as a people have come to a place in time when we all think we can do everything better than anyone else. This thought process seems to run rampant these days. Even without an ounce of learning, training, attempting, or even trying we think we can do something better than the person who does said thing for a living. What is that about? I guess people get behind a computer screen on facebook, and twitter and that is enough for people to think they can do everything better than the next person. Where's the humility or humbleness? I watched a show (a while ago now so don't ask me what the name is or where I watched it) where they would take tweets from people sitting in their homes watching professional sports, and tweeting about how much better they are than the professional athletes. The show got a guy who tweeted about a missed field goal in a football game saying something like "I could easily make that kick, and (the player) should get fired for missing it." So the show set the tweeting man up on a football field, at the same distance from the goal posts to kick it through the uprights. They even put the ball on a tee instead of snapping it, and guess what. The tweeter's attempt didn't even get off the ground, wah,wah. Afterward he made a comment about how difficult it was and that maybe he shouldn't be so hard on the players. Well, no duh. If you've only attempted something from behind a screen, that is no measure of reality. So now that we are coming out of this pandemic slowly (once again to echo posts of the past 'pan' in 'pandemic' means world...this isn't just happening to you it is happening to everyone), get out and attempt something new, learn how actually difficult it is, and gain some humility and respect for the people who do it better than you;) And then laugh and have fun and enjoy yourself because isn't that what all this is about?
Right, so let's just talk vegetables now. The warm weather has some things maturing faster than they should. Sometimes it's not a problem, sometimes it means the size of things will be smaller, and sometimes it results in losses. Let's just say that I'm happy this coming week is a little cooler! But things are looking good in the fields and the tomatoes sure didn't mind the heat. The second week of the share will include lots of broccoli, salad radishes and turnips, kohlrabi, bok choy, garlic scapes, head lettuce, spinach, and bunched greens.
Don't forget to order from Savage Wheat Project if you want those baked goods!

Summer Share #1 of 20: 6/8+6/10 Summer Share Start!

by Erin and Steve on 06/05/21

It's starting! The Summer CSA season is starting next week. If you are picking up on Tuesdays we will see you the 8th from 2:00 to 6:30. If you are picking up on Thursdays we will see you on Thursday the 10th from 2:00 to 6:30. Please check your inbox for the email from the farm with all the info you need to come grab your first share.
The season has been shaping up and coming together this past week. The vegetables are ready to be harvested so they can get in your fridge and hopefully our Summer crops, like zucchini, summer squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc., will be along shortly ;) But until then we have a lot of leafy green things that prefer growing in the Spring and Fall. Those Summer crops can't handle cold temperatures, and can get injured if they are outside in them. To keep things in perspective we will be planting winter squash next week and the first of our Fall brassicas the following week. The season is short in WNY so we got a lot to squeeze in! It makes this time of year very busy needless to say.
So bring your payment if needed, and your mask to wear while you are in the share room in order to grab the first share of the season (wooohooo!) that will include: radishes, salad turnips, chard, kale, broccolini, spinach, bok choy, head lettuce, and bunched greens.
The fruit share is planned to start the first week in July.
See you soon!

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Root Down Farm
5850 Shimerville Rd 
Clarence Center, NY 14032 
csa@therootdownfarm.com

Pick up hours:
Summer Share M and Th 2-6:30
Winter Share M and Th 3-6
Spring Share M and Th 4-6
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