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Root Down Farm Ramblings

Winter Share #8: 2/19+2/22 The Final Winter Share

by Erin and Steve on 02/16/18

Phew. We've reached the final distribution for the Winter Share and it also marks the final share for the 2017 growing season. Though we are pretty far into 2018 now the farm can final bid 2017 farewell and move on. We are flipping the root cellar right after the final share on Thursday and turning it into our early season propagation house where the first seeds of 2018 will be planted. Here we go again!
So we will see all of you Winter Share members for the last time this week and we won't see you again until everything is green again.
This week's share will include: carrots, beets, potatoes, parsnips, celeriac, turnips, radishes, kale, horseradish, cayenne peppers, cabbage, and hopefully some spinach from the high tunnel! Don't forget to let us know if you are planning on purchasing extra produce ahead of time.

Winter Share #7: 2/5+2/8 Second to Last Winter Share

by Erin and Steve on 02/03/18

Steve and I just returned from a brief (but jam packed) vacation to southern Florida where we enjoyed 78 degree sunny days. It was relaxing, but by the end we were ready to go home and see some snow. While we were away we mentioned Groundhog Day to a few people we met in passing and it was like they never really consider it...ever! I guess when "Winter" consists of 78 degree days and sunshine you may not pay much attention to whether or not there will be 6 more weeks of it or not. I, on the other hand, kind of view this date as the start of the long haul which is why we had to stuff in a vacation now before we are on lock down on the farm through the Summer.
Don't let all this warm weather talk get to your head. We have 2 more Winter Share pick ups including the one this week. The final share will be the week of February break for area schools so if you are traveling during this week please look at our email we sent you about it. This week's share will include: carrots, beets, onions, cabbage, kale, sweet potatoes, parsnips, celeriac, radishes, turnips, horseradish, hot peppers, and popcorn.

Loose Ends

by Erin and Steve on 01/26/18

This week is another off week for the Winter Share pick up, but that doesn't mean there isn't anything going on! As you may have noticed we are now full for our 2018 Summer CSA Share Season and the wait list has all been contacted with additional information and updates as to their 'status' (so if you were on the wait list before January 15th you would've received an email from if you didn't receive one it is probably in your spam folder so make sure to add our email address to your address book). Updates to the barn continue to be an ongoing winter project for us. It will one day be the way we see it in our dreams. The website is next in line for it's yearly update and we are almost done finalizing our greenhouse and field plans. Most of the seed has been ordered and delivered and the 2018 to do list has already been formed. Oh yeah, and we are trying to fit in as much R&R as possible because it is January and we are vegetable farmers in Western New York for crying out loud.

Winter Share#6: 1/22+1/25 I Have a Marketing Degree

by Erin and Steve on 01/19/18

I'm not sure how many people know this, but I went to Miami University and "studied" marketing. Technically I have a BS in Business Administration, which in my mind, as I was earning it, was a load of BS. After graduating (15 years ago now) I decided not to go into any field pertaining to Marketing. Little did my young, idealistic self realize I'd end up using a farmer.
The most difficult part of buying fresh, local, whole produce is actually using it. It's difficult to take the time and learn how to. I've spent almost all my time after graduating learning how to use, cook, prepare, store, and can vegetables because I had absolutely no clue up until then. (Insert part where my Marketing degree comes in) Grocery stores like Wegman's print large ads recognized as a recipe magazine to try and get people who don't really know how to cook to follow their recipes filled with all of their products. This drives me NUTS as a vegetable farmer, but my Bachelor's Degree is saying "it's textbook". If you are someone who is learning how to cook, maybe how to eat better, maybe struggling with using vegetables that aren't in Wegman's ad magazine please know this: 1) Recipes are not set in stone. Try starting to understand flavors and keep staples in your pantry and experiment, that's half the fun. And 2) You are not alone. Keep at it (and stay away from recipes that ask you to buy a specific brand of something you can only get from 1 store...that's just them Marketing to you). Our website has a bunch of recipes and so does the rest of the Internet.
So here is what is in the Winter Share this week: carrots, beets, onions, sweet potatoes, celeriac, potatoes, cabbage, radishes, turnips, horseradish, kohlrabi, kale and choice of fruit. See you all in the root cellar again for share pick up!

Winter Share #5: 1/8 + 1/11- A Long Winter's Nap

by Erin and Steve on 01/05/18

Oh boy, it's been awhile since we updated the blog, but I went ahead and took some serious time off for the holidays this year. Last year after Christmas ended I was really sad because it felt like it had come and gone so fast that I had missed it. This year I was determined to not let that happen, and my plan worked. It's a good feeling to know that I actually relaxed (as opposed to taking a few extra days off and feeling guilty about it the whole time). Now I hope it doesn't seem like I'm bragging, because I wish (and hope) that everyone has felt or does feel this way. It's time to stop time from slipping away!
Of course all this cold weather and large amounts of snow is helping, but we've been snow shoeing and cross country skiing because the conditions are so great as long as you can keep warm. But it's looking like the weather will warm for the week of the share, which helps us out because we need the vegetables that we are going to harvest to be thawed so we can harvest them! Jeepers.
So all you Winter Share members don't forget to head to the root cellar for your shares (which is the white building next to the greenhouse lining the back of the parking lot). This week's share will include: carrots, beets, onions, sweet potatoes, kohlrabi, celeriac, turnips and radishes, parsnips, butternut squash, cabbage, kale garlic and leeks as well as a surprise!

Winter Share #4: 12/18+12/21 So Merry and Cold!

by Erin and Steve on 12/15/17

We've already entered the Holiday Season and holy moly did it make it's presence known! It's been friggin' cold for a couple days now, but it looks like the temperatures are going to get back up to average by the end of this weekend. This works out for us because we are still planning on having the Winter Share pick up in the big white barn. Now there isn't any heat in there, so be prepared (it should be above freezing at least:)
With the arrival of the snow our hurried work in the fields has been halted. Yes, there is still more to do out there, but it is going to have to wait until there is a snow melt. We are continuing to work in the High Tunnels and Steve has started on the projects we need to complete in the barn before the weather warms again and our attention gets drawn elsewhere. Added to this is gift shopping and signing up our waitlist for the 2018 summer season. Whew. We hope you all are finding time to enjoy the beauty the snow brings our region and also enjoy this time of year; it always goes by too fast.
Now don't forget we have a Winter Share to give to you this coming week: December 18th for Monday pick ups and December 21st for Thursday pick ups. The share will include: carrots, beets, onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, celeriac, parsnips, radishes, turnips, cabbage, kale, winter squash, garlic, leeks, and horseradish and rutabagas and apples from Bittner Singer Orchard. Sounds like the start of a wonderful Holiday dinner.

American Farmland Trust

by Erin and Steve on 12/13/17

We were recently interviewed by American Farmland Trust and featured as a farm story on their website and social media. They do great work protecting farmland across the country. Click the link if you are interested in reading more about our story and this farm:).

An "Off" Week for the Winter CSA

by Erin and Steve on 12/08/17

This coming week we will be "off" again for the winter share (ie there will not be a pick up). It kinda comes with good timing, too. The Polar Vortex is again invading us and the temperatures will be dipping WAAAYYY below freezing for a good week. We have the vegetables tucked in in the field tunnels in hopes that once the weather warms slightly that we will again be harvesting from them. It also looks like we're going to get some real snow over this week, too. So stay warm and we'll see the week of the 18th.

Winter Share #3-12/4+12/7 Back to Back Pick Up Weeks

by Erin and Steve on 12/01/17

Usually our Winter Shares are spaced every other week. However, this week that is not the case. We have another pick up this week, so don't forget to show up at the farm:)
We've had a lot of questions about winter growing and 'post harvest handling' (ie what you do with the veggies after they are harvested) as we say in the biz. So, I'm going to try to sum-up what we do in hopes of not sounding like a text book. We are always working and creating priorities in our to-do list based on weather. It's constant. If you hear me talk about the weather or blog about the weather it is not a conversation is on my brain 24-7. It dictates everything we do, including what vegetables we grow when and what we do to protect them from the weather if we need to.
The crops that can stand up to sustained freezing temps are still in the field (right now that is kale, leeks,some lettuce mix and spinach, and scallions). Some vegetables are in the root cellar because they had to come out of the fields before the frost (winter squashes, onions, potatoes and sweet potatoes). Some vegetables are best stored in the walk in cooler, like most of the root vegetables and cabbage. And finally some vegetables are STILL GROWING!! in the unheated High Tunnels (everything else in the share). It is fun to go out to the high tunnels on the morning of share pick up in the end of November, well now the beginning of December, to harvest fresh greens. We'll keep doing that until it get too cold, or more importantly, there isn't enough light in the day for them to keep growing.
As always, if you ever have any questions about the vegetables, the best time to ask is when you are picking up your shares! This is what is in the winter share this week: carrots, beets, onions, sweet potatoes, winter squash choice, salad turnips, radishes, celeriac, parsnips, scallions, leeks, kale, chard, salad mix, cabbage, bok choy, and kohlrabi.

Side Notes

by Erin and Steve on 11/29/17

*1) If you are on the waitlist look for an email from us soon. If you have been on the list for over a year then you should've received an email from us last Dec/Jan stating what 'Group' you are in (A, B, C, or D). You will all be emailed in this order. If you have just joined the waitlist this year you will be emailed in January with an assigned group for the 2019 CSA Season.

We are always so grateful to be supported by a wonderful community. It warms our hearts. Please except our apologies for not always being able to accommodate everyone who wants into our CSA shares at this time.

*2) We have only 2 more openings for employment this coming year. Please visit the 'Jobs' tab at the top of the website for information on how to apply. Hard workers only please:)

It's almost December, are we still supposed to be this busy?

Winter Share #2: 11/27 + 11/30 More to Eat

by Erin and Steve on 11/25/17

We truly hope that everyone was able to relax and enjoy at least a minute part of their Thanksgiving...and maybe even find time to think about what we are thankful for. Steve and I decided to take an extended Thanksgiving and meet up with old friends in Michigan (where I am from), some of whom I hadn't seen in 15 years. I'm even thankful we have the ability to leave for so long and even relax after running this farm for 7 years. The best part of traveling was that we mostly visited farmers, so the meals where amazing. I think we ate out once the entire week. Yes, even my friend that I haven't seen in so long became a farmer, too!
So hopefully everyone was able to get some turkey and some amazing dishes made with our vegetables. But this may mean you are in need of some more veggies. Fear not, the winter share pick up is this week and this is what will be included: carrots, beets, onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes (try taking the long, skinny one and roasting them in the oven for sweet potato fries!), celeriac, turnips, parsnips, scallions, winter radishes, salad radishes, bok choy, cabbage, parsley, salad mix, kale, chard, and leeks. Remember pick up is from 3 to 6 and the next share is next week.

Remaining winter share dates:

  • December 4th or 7th
  • December 18th or 21st
  • January 8th or 11th*
  • *note extra week off for the holidays
  • January 22nd or 25th
  • February 5th or 8th
  • February 19th and 22nd

Off for Thanksgiving

by Erin and Steve on 11/17/17

This week is an "off" week at the farm as we are not distributing Winter Shares this week. Instead we will be getting a real chance at relaxation after a long season. We hope that all of you get to, too.
We will be back distributing shares the following week (starting with Monday the 27th). We've been hearing grumblings of another winter dominated by the Polar Vortex. Ugh. The last winter that happened the snow piled so high outside some of the farm buildings that our dogs started climbing the piles and walking on rooftops. It was a site to see, but I don't need to see it again. Here's to another normal winter. In the meantime have a great Thanksgiving (and if you're not cooking the meal make sure to help with the dishes:). 

Winter Share #1: 11/13+11/16- A Doozy

by Erin and Steve on 11/11/17

The Winter Share will kick off this week. If you have signed up for the Winter Share please check your inbox for an email from us. Remember pick up times for the Winter Share are from 3 to 6pm.
The end of this week got insanely chilly for this time of year. We were lucky that we were ahead of schedule and able to finish up important bulk harvests before the temperatures dropped to 16 degrees! We've also hurried to mulch overwintering crops (like the herbs and garlic) and also cover up other crops that will be braving it out in the fields. We also found time to celebrate the bountiful summer season we just had and appreciate each others contributions to the many successes this year. But now we are ready to start our Winter Share and the first share is going to be a doozy. We like to make the first Winter share the biggest of the season, first because we still have a large variety of vegetables and second because we love it when our vegetables make it into your Thanksgiving celebrations!
The first Winter share will include: carrots, beets, parsnips, sweet potatoes, winter squash, onions, choice of greens, scallions, garlic, cabbage, broccoli shoots, sweet and hot peppers, and eggplant. The share will also include apples from 2 local orchards.

Week #22: 10/30+11/2- Final Share Pick Up of 2017

by Erin and Steve on 10/28/17

The year 2017 always sounded weird, and I still sometimes have to check I have the right year. But now the 2017 CSA season is in it's last week and it has flown by!

And as for us we are thankful for the beautiful Fall weather we've had while now dreading this cold rain coming this week. We are still pulling in the large harvests from the fields for the Winter Share and harvesting for the Summer Shares on Mondays and Thursdays. However, we are under a new time crunch: the first snow. We always have the goal of getting everything out of the fields by the first week of November for this reason. The root cellar will start filling up fast as well this coming week. We have one of the field tunnels filled to the brim with leafy vegetables for the winter share. It's kinda odd turning on irrigation when it is raining outside, but it looks like that will be happening this week, too! It's the time of year I want to start relaxing my mind, but there is still way too much to get done in this short window that I have to keep getting myself pep talks to keep going.
Meanwhile other seasonal transitions continue to happen on the farm including moving field tunnels, winterizing seasonal buildings and making sure everything we need for the winter is in good working order. The asparagus is being put to bed and even some field prep for 2018 is happening. So we hope we'll see you again in 2018 so you can see all the fruits of this labor! An entire 22 week season attached to one farm is an experience to remember and we're happy to have spent 2017 with all of you. Thanks for your support.
The final Summer Share of 2017 will include: sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, onions, parsnips, salad turnips, cabbage, sweet and hot peppers, eggplant, scallions, butternut, delicata, buttercup, lettuce, kale, brussels sprouts, leeks, with the addition of winter radishes and purple top turnips. The fruit share is only on Monday this week and includes pears and apples.

Week #21 of 22: 10/23+10/26- Only Two Weeks Left

by Erin and Steve on 10/21/17

**Current members don't forget to RENEW your share for 2018**
There are only 2 weeks left of the 2017 Summer Share Season and man has it flown by! We are hitting our stride right now, as long as the weather cooperates. Our minds are already partially in 2018 as we begin plans and seedings for the coming season. I've been harping about the garlic, and we got to seed it yesterday. It is in the bare ground you can see right along Roll Rd. just past the four-way stop. Soon it will be mulched and we'll see it after an entire Winter Season comes and goes.
I also want to talk up our Spring Share that starts in May of 2018 and lasts the month. The share has really 'grown' (ha) and includes some things you can't get in the Summer Share like asparagus and micro greens. It is also an early jump on carrots, basil, spinach, and a lot of other sweet stuff that just doesn't taste the same any other time of year (that's what makes Spring so special!). So if you wanna sign up make sure to mark it on your form or add it if you have already turned in your renewal form.
The Share is really starting to reflect the Fall with some summer season stragglers still holding on. The share will include: sweet potatoes, assorted winter squashes, cabbage, onions, carrots, beets, cauliflower, eggplant, peppers, hot peppers, fennel, radishes and turnips, kale, edamame, leeks, brussels sprouts, tomatillos, lettuce, spinach, garlic, and the addition of scallions and parsnips.
The Fruit Share will include apples and pears.

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
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