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Root Down Farm Ramblings

Week #8: 7/24+7/27 The Last Week of July

by Erin and Steve on 07/23/17

When I was a kid I would always get sad when July was coming to an end. I knew that school would be around the corner soon, so I'd mope on August 1st. Now that the farm rules my life I loooovvveee the end of July. July is crazy. Everything loves July: the weeds, the bugs, the heat, the humidity, the sun, the storms, and the crops, not to mention all the kids, too. So now when July starts coming to a close I give Mother Nature a gentle "Thank You" and celebrate a little to myself. We've just have to make it through this week though...gotta make sure I'm not counting my eggs before they hatch kinda thing.

This week's share will include: zucchini, cucumbers, scallions, fresh onions, cabbage, beets, carrots, fennel, kale, chard, collards, lettuce and TOMATOES!!  The beans and flowers are open now, too.
The fruit share will include cherries, apricots and plums. Make sure to ripen your fruit at home so they are sweet and not tart! If you do not know how to do this please ask at the share.
Providence Creek Farm will again be at the farm this week selling pastured meat. See you then.

Week #7: 7/17+/20 There's No Good Time, It's July.

by Erin and Steve on 07/15/17

I recently was talking to someone on the phone and apparently sounded preoccupied. When they asked if there was a better time to talk, I responded 'There's no good time, it's July.' We are in the midst of the part of the season that I lovingly refer to as The Grind. The larger harvests have started and the tomatoes are looking like they are on the brink of really lettin' loose. We are fighting the weeds and the pests. On the other hand, the greenhouse is almost empty. Though we continue to seed crop starts in there until the end of August, the volume is insanely reduced (which is a good thing since time is limited to 24 hours per day). But any time I feel like we are 'caught up'  is the exact time I find more things to do, or more accurately more crops to weed. To add to the fun, the barn roof is being replaced this week. So please, please, please exercise both caution and patience this week while picking up your share and visiting the UPick Fields. Ahhhh. July.

The other crazy part of July is all the harvesting. Here's what will be in the share this week: Zucchini, summer squash, cucumbers, broccoli, beets, fennel, peas cabbage, garlic scapes, lettuce, greens, kale, chard, escarole and the addition of carrots and onions.
The fruit share will be blueberries and cherries for Monday, and cherries and apricots for Thursday since Thursday pick up is actually a week ahead in the fruit share. DON'T FORGET to get your bulk tart cherry order to us. Let's hope for some normal weather this week!

Week #6: 7/10+7/13 Oh the Complicated Web Nature Weaves

by Erin and Steve on 07/09/17

The last of the big transplanting weeks is (hopefully) taking place this week. About 2/3rds of the plants in the greenhouse will be going in the field and from then on there will be mostly direct seeding and smaller plantings from the greenhouse. We've direct seeded the first of the crops solely for the winter share as well. Now we're waiting for the summer crops to start kicking in. The tomatoes are looking like they are a little behind...potentially there were some problems with pollination. Some vegetables that we eat are not in need of pollination because we eat them before maturity. Some good examples of this are broccoli, leafy greens, celery, onions, amongst other things. Other vegetables that need pollination (mostly done by bees) before we can eat them include zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and beans. It's a complicated mess that most people potentially don't think about when they are trolling the grocery store or searching for a perfect ear of corn at the farmer's market (FYI corn is a special one, maybe we will get to that ridiculous process one of these blogs).

But until then, this is what is in the awesome share this week: zucchini, summer squash, cucumbers, turnips, radishes, kale, chard, lettuce, scallions, beets, garlic scapes, broccoli, cabbage and the addition of fennel, radicchio, fresh garlic, and escarole. The fruit share will include cherries. 

Week #5: 7/3+7/6 Hurry Up and Wait

by Erin and Steve on 06/30/17

We've made it to the halfway point of the year. Six months down, six to go. The 4th of July is right around the corner and though summer seems like it is in full swing, this is the time of year where we are in a little lull...waiting....waiting...for all the summer crops to start coming in. Of course the squash has already made it's season debut, but there will be more heat loving crops soon (usually by the end of the month).

To cap off some of the chaos the weather has been extremely unsettled. There are pockets of thunderstorms popping up everywhere and it seems for days at a time. The wind hasn't really calmed down all week, either. There has been hail storms, but let's hope we don't encounter any (knock on wood), because those can do some absolutely serious damage to crops. So let's all collectively hope for some average weather to arrive.
The other exciting thing that always happens the week of the 4th is cherry season starts. So Monday shares will get their first fruit share this week, too. The vegetable shares will include: salad radishes and turnips, broccolini, garlic scapes, kale, chard, greens, beets, bok choy, summer squash and zucchini kohlrabi, cabbage, lettuce, and the addition of scallions. Hopefully our next planting of broccoli will start coming in, too. We'll see.

Fruit Share Surprise Start

by Erin and Steve on 06/29/17

Hooray for Cherries! We got the green light from Bitner-Singer Orchards and the fruit share will start today for Thursday share pick ups and on Monday July 3rd for all Monday share pick ups. If you've signed up for a fruit share your name will be on the sign in form (it will not appear if you have not signed up). The fruit share sets up in the back of the share room, so don't forget to get your fruit when you get your veggies between 2 and 630!

Week #4 6/26+6/29 Get the seeds in now!

by Erin and Steve on 06/24/17

The first day of Summer was last Wednesday and we celebrated by seeding for the fall and winter months. This time of year marks some of the last days for long season crops to get in the ground if we want to be able to harvest them before it gets too cold! That's right, time to plan for winter now. So we put our first of the fall brassicas into the fall fields while we are still harvesting from our Spring fields. It's kind of the craziest time of year for us, so if I seem frazzled in the share room now you know why. The week of the 4th of July is a mark in the season where larger harvests start coming in, starting with summer squash and zucchini, then cucumbers and followed by tomatoes. We usually have tomatoes by the last week in July. To sum up: we're planning and planting for Fall and Winter, starting to harvest for Summer, and cleaning up for Spring. Good thing there is so much light in a day during this time of year (it kinda all makes sense, doesn't it?:). 

So we are still harvesting the most from the Spring fields as the Summer ones are working to get into the share. This week's share will include: salad radishes and turnips, broccolini, kale, chard, lettuce, spinach, garlic scapes, and the addition of napa cabbage, kohlrabi, beets and hopefully some summer squash and zucchini. I say hopefully because it is just starting to come in. When a crop just starts to come in it means that it is not producing a large harvest yet, so it will be limited. It also means a boat load will be coming soon so just chill.
The fruit share will be starting the first week of July with cherries. If you signed up for the fruit share you will receive an email from us in a week's time.

Week #3: 6/19+6/22 The Best Salads

by Erin and Steve on 06/17/17

I love making salads for myself this time of year. I always eat tons of salads in the beginning of the CSA Share season because, of course, it's in season and it is the time of year when the right vegetables are just singing. This has lead me to become kind of a salad snot. I refuse to ever order them at restaurants because I know that I can easily throw one together that will taste better than anything I could ever order. The butterhead lettuce that we've had the first 2 weeks is my favorite. And I have a go-to salad dressing recipe that I make that uses a lot of ingredients we generally have around. I like to add texture with things like radishes and salad turnips and garlic shoots or scapes or even chopped up broccolini because it is so tender. Then I'll chop up some greens with the lettuce and add Sunflower seeds and blue cheese and a big bowl and I'm set. And now that the temperatures have decided to prematurely take on summer highs (you know summer starts this Wednesday), a salad is all I want to eat for lunch after being out in the sun in 90 degree temperatures for hours.

And next week we have more goodies for salads and the grill to celebrate the official start to summer. The share will include: radishes, turnips, broccolini, broccoli raab, kale, bok choy, greens, lettuce, and the addition of spinach and garlic scapes. If you don't know what garlic scapes are you're missing out!

Week #2: 6/12+6/15 There's a First for Everything

by Erin and Steve on 06/10/17

There were a lot of firsts last week on the farm. Of course it was the first week of the share, 2 employees got to drive tractors for the first time in their lives, and one of our dogs got sprayed by a skunk. Yes, this week was packed with stress or excitement depending on how you look at it. Now that our dog isn't stinky anymore, and the tractors and employees made it through the work week, and the first share was freakin' awesome, what's next? Well, as Steve put it, "Now we have to take care of everything we put in the ground." We are almost done planting and seeding the summer crops, and now comes the hard part: caring for them. We are also now starting to plant the fall crops while of course caring for and harvesting the spring crops. Ahhhh. It's difficult for me to have a never-ending-to-do-list where things sometimes just don't get done because there isn't enough daylight. When you are working with living things there is a very specific window of time to get things done, and if you miss it that's it. Sometimes we miss things because there is too much to do within that window of time...and it drives me nuts.

Regardless of all the crazy that takes place in the serene looking fields, this week's share is looking good. Don't forget to bring your final payment to the farm when you pick up your vegetables if you haven't already. This week's share will include: head lettuce, garlic shoots, bok choy, greens, kale, radishes, and the addition of salad turnips, chard, collards, and broccoli raab. Remember, it may feel like summer this weekend, but summer doesn't start for another 2 weeks.

WEEK #1!! of the Summer Share: 6/5+6/8

by Erin and Steve on 06/03/17

The Summer Share is starting! The Summer Share is starting! Don't forget to make the first trip to the farm to kick off the summer CSA season starting next week. If your pick up day is Mondays, then we will see you on Monday June 5th between 2 and 630. If you have Thursdays as your pick up day, we will see you Thursday the 8th from 2 to 630. Everyone in the share should've received a couple emails from us already with all the information needed to pick up your first share. We've been working feverishly to get everything ready for all 300 families coming to see us this week. How exciting!

We are nearing the end of what we consider "planting season". Not that we will stop planting and seeding vegetables, but the amount of plants going out every week is reduced once June hits. We operate off of what we call our "Field Plan" which sets up the planting schedule for the season (#whatfarmersdointhewinter). It's in a simple excel spreadsheet with all the pages linked to create this schedule. I always print out the final schedule to bring to the field and make notes every season to improve the schedule next year. There are 16 pages to the schedule this season and we are already through 9 of them. Which means we plant over half our crops in 1 1/2 months and the rest of the crops over the next 4 months. Yes, we work feverishly during planting season. 
Now this sets up the next phase of the season, what I lovingly call "the long haul" which we are entering now. Weeds and bugs and heat and irrigation dictate the next 2 1/2 months before we can look to "harvest season". More on all that later, I'm sure.
But as for right now week #1 of 22 weeks is looking bountiful and full of leafy green things (you know, the crops that are in season right now:). Here's what to expect: head lettuce, bok choy, salad radishes, mixed greens, and garlic shoots. See you then.

Extra Spring Share Week: 5/29+6/1

by Erin and Steve on 05/28/17

Yeah for the last week of May. This means the week will start with some relaxation (thanks Memorial Day) and end in chaos because the Summer Share will be starting the following week. 

That's right, here's the schedule:
1) May 29th or June 1st: The Extra Spring Share is for those who are in the Spring Share and signed up for the bonus discounted week. See you guys at the normal time 4 to 6.
2) The week of June 5th: The Summer Share will then start the following week. If you've signed up for Mondays as your pick up day we will see you on June 5th between 2 and 630. If you've signed up for Thursdays as your pick up we will see you Thursday June 8th from 2 to 630! Everyone in the Summer Share should have received an email from us last Thursday with all the information you need to show up at the farm come June.
For everyone who signed up for the extra Spring Share week we will have: chard, radishes, lettuce, spinach, asparagus, broccolini, and rhubarb along with some other greens.
Don't forget you can also keep up with us on Instagram @therootdownfarm. You can follow the link on this page in the upper right corner of this blog page.

Spring Share #4: 5/22+5/25 Last Spring Share with a Chance for an Extra Week

by Erin and Steve on 05/21/17

This is technically the last Spring Share pick up week. Next week, the week of Memorial Day, will be an add on week for anyone currently in the Spring Share. Spring Share members should look for an email from us with more information on this soon.

As for the Summer Shares, it looks like we will be on schedule to start the week of June 5th. Everyone who has a Small Share or a Farm Share should also look for an email from us with more information about the start of the Summer Shares soon, too. Well, how exciting is all this??!! The early crops are moving right along and we've already transplanted a lot of the 'heat of the summer' crops as well. On Wednesday of last week our crew transplanted around 27,000 onions in the middle of an insanely windy day. We were all proud of our accomplishment, but happy it was done. We've been playing catch up ever since that crazy first week of weather in May when it rained 5 inches in 4 days, but now it feels like we're back on top of things (knock on wood). Let's all collectively hope for some very average and normal weather this season.
This week's Spring Share will include: Lettuce, spinach, radishes, salad turnips, herbs, asparagus, choice of greens and your own potted herb. Yeah Spring!

Spring Share #3: 5/15+5/'s still not the Summer Share

by Erin and Steve on 05/13/17

Hello Universe! Just reminding everybody that the Spring Share is not the Summer Share. I know, I know...but it must be said:) As stated in the emails sent out to everyone in the Summer Share, we are looking to start the Summer Share the week of June 5th (we always try our best to start the first full week of June).

We were scrambling this week to catch up after last week's rains that set us back a little. We were still able to get our first tomatoes and squash in the ground this week, though. Which I consider quite a feat since the soil just dried enough to work on Wednesday. We are also already 'cultivating' (farmer talk for weeding) the first crops to be harvested for the Summer Share. We are lucky the rains last week didn't do too much damage to the plants and seeds that were already growing and in the ground during the storms. There is still more to do to catch up, but the forcast is looking favorable.
Now on to the Spring Share, which is always loads of fun for us mostly because Spring is such a rejuvenating time of year. The greens are always the greenest in Spring and they starkly contrast the colors of the soils. Then add in the first of the harvests and it is a perfect formula for happiness! For all you Spring Sharers out there we hope you are enjoying the share as much as we are. This week will include: head lettuce, spinach, herbs, radishes, salad turnips, carrots, choice of greens, and hopefully a healthy amount of asparagus, too. Pretty good for the middle of May in Western New York, eh? (I think so:)

Spring Share #2- 5/8+5/11 The Ark is Full

by Erin and Steve on 05/06/17

Well, this is a challenging week for a lot of us (us including animals, birds and bees, etc.). The rain gauge on the farm is almost as full as it can be without overflowing. It tops out at 5 1/2 inches and we are approaching that amount for the week. Which, just so we are clear, is more rain than we should receive for the entire month of May. If you can imagine the equivalent amount of snowfall for the week, if it was the winter, would be approaching 5 FEET!! And to cap it off we even had a tornado watch on Monday.

So as if that wasn't enough excitement for one week you also had the first Spring Share pick up for all of you who signed up for the share. But the sun will come out next week (right??) and we'll be sure to soak up as much sun as we can. The Spring Share this week is already growing. We will have: lettuce, spinach, radishes, kale, arugula, herbs choice, and the addition of carrots, and bok choy (we are hoping for some salad turnips this week, too...we'll see).

Spring Share #1 Starts this Week!! 5/1 + 5/4

by Erin and Steve on 04/29/17

**Just a reminder to our Summer Share holders (ie "Farm Shares" and "Small Shares"): The Spring Share is not the Summer Share. The Summer Share will start in June and you will get emails from us leading up to it.

So, if you are in the Spring Share (and have been receiving our emails:) then this is an exciting week for both you and me! We are starting the share season the best way we know how...with GREENS!! The Spring Share will start with all my favorites my body, and mind for that matter, start craving this time of year. The share will include spinach, lettuce, radishes, herbs, and a choice of different salad or braising greens. The first of the asparagus is already popping up, so look for that in a couple of weeks.
***REMEMBER: The Spring Share pick up is from 4:00 to 6:00 on your share pick up day. Please park in the lot by the big white barn and you'll see one of our smiling faces inside to help answer any questions.
Unfortunately, this week's weather is looking pretty rainy and cloudy, but our spirits are high. We've been plugging away at the field plan and getting in the field when we can in between rain events and crazy winds. We are on schedule so far (everybody please collectively knock on wood!) and it seems like even though we have already faced some challenges this year that things are falling into place. My gut keeps telling me this season's going to be a wild one, though. Now the potatoes are up next on the to-do list. Time for them to get in the ground so we can enjoy then in July.

The Spring Share to Start in 1 Week!

by Erin and Steve on 04/22/17

That's right, the Spring Greens Share will be starting the first week of May for everyone who signed up for it. Not sure if you signed up for it?...well, if you did you would have received an email from us last week. So, if you did not receive an email, then you are not signed up for the Spring Share. Remember: the Spring Share is not the Summer CSA Share. **I know that statement sounds simple, but it is key:).

So, with the Spring Share starting soon, it also means that it is time for the annual proverbial poo to hit the proverbial fan. This is the time of year we start running around trying to get as much done in the time frame that Mother Nature will allow. April showers are part of an old saying for a reason. So the greenhouse is booming and filling up fast with the more temperature sensitive summer crops like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants, squashes and cucumbers. We rushed to prep fields last week when, as I mentioned in last week's post, our largest tractor decided to call it a career (or it broke down depending on how you want to look at it). We were still able to pull things together with our awesome crew and get 13,000 transplants in the ground in 2 days. Since we had such a warm winter, some of our most hated bugs are already back in action about a good 2 weeks or more ahead of the usual time of year (we can all thank global warming for that). And along with our wonderful growing crops, weeds are starting to grow, too. I know, I know...everyone is busy. So when you see us running around like 'chickens with our heads cut off' for the next few months you'll understand.

Root Down Farm
5850 Shimerville Rd 
Clarence Center, NY 14032

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