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Root Down Farm Ramblings

Summer Share #20 of 22: 10/15+10/18 Try and Try Again

by Erin and Steve on 10/13/18

The "Summer Share" as we call it starts before Spring has had a chance to end and ends well into the Fall. But somehow the "Late-Spring-To-Well-Into-Fall Share" doesn't roll off the tongue as nicely. But it is time for current members to renew their Summer Share for the 2019 season. All current members have been emailed all the info needed to do so. If you are on the waitlist you will receive an email in December or January from the farm with share info and availability.
So last week it was 80 degrees, but this week we are probably going to see our first frost of the season. We also received 5 inches of rain in one week (starting a week and a half ago) and it has done some damage to some crops. But the one crop that was looking great and was going to be harvested this coming week that suffered the most was the spinach. Ugh. This is actually the second Fall planting of spinach. The first Fall planting of Spinach failed because it was seeded in the very beginning of August when we had drought-like-conditions and it never properly germinated. Awesome. So, to sum up: one planting failed because it was too hot and dry and the next planting made it to maturity only for half of it to die due to too wet conditions. Now spinach can be finicky, but come on! Maybe you would think that that is where the story ends, but it's not. I then planted a third planting of spinach to make up for the first, but you have to watch out how late you seed stuff here in WNY because it may not mature in time before it gets too cold. So that's what's happening with that planting PLUS about a third of it died because of the 5 inches of rain. So needless to say there will be some spinach in the share this week, but only about 50% of what there should be.
The rest of this week's share will include: potatoes, winter squash choice, radicchio, fennel, kohlrabi, beets, carrots, cauliflower, eggplant, peppers, chard, kale, scallions, onions, lettuce, greens, pumpkin squash, garlic, edamame, and brussels sprouts.
The fruit share will include quince, apples and pears.

Summer Share #19 of 22: 10/8 +10/11- Making Sense of It All

by Erin and Steve on 10/06/18

I've had a few conversations recently about the way food is grown and the terms used to describe it. If you know me at all you know I hate the term "Home Grown" because it makes absolutely no sense. It insinuates the food was grown in someone's back yard, and hides the exact growing practices and location it came from. But that's not the only terms used to market food that get me.
Hydroponics is somehow getting mixed in with the same crowd as organic, but it is not. Hydroponics simply grows produce in water, and since there is no soil to nurture the plant growers add all kinds of chemicals to feed the crop. The reason we grow in the soil is because the nutrients the vegetables need to grow are provided by our soil (as long as we care for the soil through cover cropping, composting and crop rotation among other things). In hydroponics there isn't any soil to provide nutrients. So growers add tubs of liquefied chemicals that are not regulated by organic certifiers to take the place of soil. If a label says "hydroponically grown" it by no means is any better than any other conventionally grown produce out there.
Now the last term I'm going to mention is just as annoying, but maybe gaining more traction recently: "Amish Grown". Once again this term is not regulated and it contains no information about how it was grown and where it came from. Amish people use just as much chemicals and plastics as other conventional farmers. Once again the term does not mean it's any better, healthier, or fresher than any other conventionally grown produce out there.
If some of these marketing terms annoy you as much as they do me the best thing to do is actually talk to the farmer that is growing the produce you intend to purchase.
When Steve and I started Root Down Farm CSA we did it because we are passionate about growing produce for people in our community and showing the value in family farms. If you ever have any questions about the farm and our growing practices or general questions about food at all please feel free to start a conversation in the share room while you are picking up your share. I have no shortage of opinions!
This week's share grown by us to organic standards includes: potatoes, winter squash, fennel, kohlrabi, beets, carrots, onions, eggplant, peppers, hot pepers, chard, kale, broccoli, flowering broccoli, radicchio, bok choy, lettuce, leeks, and spaghetti squash.
The fruit share will include asian pears, bartletts, apples, peaches and quince.

Summer Share #18 of 22: 10/1+10/4 The Last Month

by Erin and Steve on 09/29/18

It seems we've really turned a corner in the season here and Fall came in quickly. This means that we still have a ton of harvesting to do regardless of the weather because it's just that time of year. There is always a lot of farm clean up to do as well, which just isn't as fun! But with the arrival of October comes the final month of the Summer Share season. We have 5 more distributions including this week and the final pick up is the week of the 29th. We will have share renewal during this time as well where all current members can renew their share for next year. Look for more information on that next week.
As for us we start thinking about the Winter Share haul and I start worrying if we can get it all done at the right time (because in addition to the Fall rains we also have the first frost and freeze to contend with). I also start wanting to consume more hot beverages, specifically ones containing pumpkin spice. I know it's a bit annoying, but there is a time and place for pumpkin spice and a cold harvest morning is one of those times.
So look for the continued changes in the share room produce and savor the ones whose season is ending! This week's share will include potatoes, winter squashes, kohlrabi, fennel, radishes, turnips, flowering broccoli, peppers, eggplants, hot peppers, bok choy, salad greens, beets, lettuce, celery, escarole, garlic and kale and chard and maybe some broccoli, too.
The fruit share will include pears, apples, peaches, and grapes.

Summer Share #17: 9/24+9/27 Here's to Fall!

by Erin and Steve on 09/22/18

Fall starts today and since it was almost 90 degrees yesterday, I will take the high of 61 degrees today. I'm excited for Fall, but that also means the first frost date of the season is on it's way: October 10th is the average. So that means that though the tomatoes have really run the full marathon this year the lower temperatures mean it's the end for them. The remaining Summer crops are the eggplant and peppers, so savor them while they last! This also signals the end of the U-pick fields for the year as they have to get cleaned up and cover cropped to be ready for next year.
Maybe this cooler weather will also remind you to bring your Winter Share payments with you to the farm this week and sign up for the Winter Share. We only have about 10 shares left! We will be opening up the Winter Share membership to the general public after this week, so make sure to reserve one if you've meant to, but haven't already.
So this week's share will include: potatoes, winter squash choice, carrots, beets, kohlrabi, eggplant, sweet peppers, fennel, bok choy, hot peppers, salad radishes, salad greens, tomatoes, lettuce, celery, escarole, and pumpkins!
The fruit share will include: Apples, pears, peaches and plums.


Summer Share #16 of 22: 9/17+9/20 A Tomato A Day

by Erin and Steve on 09/15/18

That's right, it is the 16th week of the share which marks the 10th week of tomatoes in the share. I am insanely happy about this not because we've never done it before (because we have), but because there are still decent tomatoes out in the fields and in a year where many farmers all over the country are dealing with extremely adverse weather conditions our plants are marching on. Now this is the classic 'count your chickens before they've hatched' scenario, but we are thankful for the tomato harvest this season. So I know that on your end of things it may be a chore to make sure to eat your tomatoes, but believe me it is all for the best. I just can't bring myself to think of the foam tomatoes that are everywhere when they aren't in season (yes they literally taste like foam). The tomato season is fleeting, so really enjoy it, because next week I could be writing about how they are all gone for the season.
We are also still signing up current members for the Winter Share, so please remember to bring your payment with you when you come to pick up your share this week. This is what will be in the summer share this week: potatoes, winter squash, carrots, beets, onions, salad radishes, peppers, eggplant, hot peppers, bok choy, greens, fennel, head lettuce, celery escarole, and the amazing tomato!
The fruit share will include raspberries, peaches, plums and pears.

Summer Share #15 of 22: 9/10+9/13 Winter Share Sign Up!

by Erin and Steve on 09/08/18

It's time to sign up for the Winter Share! All you current members don't forget to bring your payment and sign up for your Winter Share during regular share hours this week. We usually fill up in 3 weeks, so don't forget!
This past week has really emphasized the merging of 2 seasons. Wednesday it was 92 degrees, and now (2:30pm on Saturday) it is 62 degrees. It's looking more and more like this week will be the beginning of the end for the tomatoes. Low overnight temperatures and a rainy week ahead usually starts the process and there isn't anything we can do about it except appreciate how wonderful of a tomato year it's been. They've been so abundant and so tasty! The squash and cucumbers are also on their way out as they feel pretty much the same as the tomatoes about the upcoming weather. But it just means we have more room for all these transitional crops in the share. We continue to be overwhelmed with large harvests this season, and though it gets tiring it is well worth the effort.
Our field plan is also now completely focused on the winter crops and we will be transitioning the high tunnels on the property to all these cold-weather-loving crops that will be a part of the Winter Share.
But here we are in the final third of the Summer Share Season and this is what is in the share this week: adirondack blue potatoes, cucumbers, summer squash, carrots, beets, kohlrabi, onions, scallions, bok choy, radishes, winter squashes, sweet peppers, eggplant, hot peppers, melons, tomatoes, lettuce, and salad greens.
The fruit share will include grapes, peaches, plums, and maybe even some pears!

Summer Share #14 of 22: Labor Day Pick Up from 1-4:45

by Erin and Steve on 09/02/18

Yes, we will see all you Mondayers a little early on Labor Day, specifically from 1 to 4:45. You all were sent an email on Friday with more information.
It's finally September, and even though the kids are all mopey us farmers are excited! Yeah for lower temperatures (I hope), less bugs, slower weeds, no more transplanting and seeding in the fields, and more harvests. Maybe I'll even eventually get to where a heavier long sleeve shirt to work, soon. Last year September was insanely warm (80's and 90's for the first 3 weeks!!), so I'm thinking that this September may be similar as is the trend unfortunately.
So you are going to start to see some changes in the share produce as well as these storage crops continue to come in from the fields. The next 'creeper' is spaghetti squash followed by the whole winter squash line up. It's such a good change in direction in the season once we start clipping, curing, storing, and dispersing these guys. We also get to work on our hand-eye coordination as the fastest way to get them out of the field after they've been clipped and winrowed is to toss them to each other and place them into the big 22 bushel totes for storage.
On a different note, remember that Providence Creek Farm pasture raised meat is available for purchase in the small white building in front of the share room (we call it the pump house). There is an array of types of meat and cuts and you can use cash, check, or credit to purchase them. If you don't see what you like in the freezer just give Ben a call and he can put an order together for you for the following week. Make sure to read the directions in there (it's a cinch).
So here's what's available this week in the veggie share: potatoes, zucchini, squash, cucumbers, cabbage, carrots, beets, eggplant, peppers, hot peppers, scallions, melons, bok choy, radishes, hubbard squash, head lettuce, tomatoes, spaghetti squash, and garlic.
The fruit share will include peaches, plums, and certified organic raspberries.

Another Reminder About Labor Day

by Erin and Steve on 08/31/18

I know we are sounding like broken records with all the signs, emails, and blog reminders but HEY: Monday's Labor Day Pick Up is from 1 to 4:45!! Don't forget.

Summer Share #13 of 22: 8/27+8/30 Get to the Fair

by Erin and Steve on 08/27/18

Monday share please remember that we always have share pick up on Labor Day from 1 to 4:45 (**next week**).
Phew, we just had a fun time at The Great New York State Fair in Syracuse. We've only been able to make it 1 other time in the last 8 years, but we made it a goal this summer, so it became a priority this past weekend...to get away from the farm. So, that's were I was instead of writing this blog post yesterday.
Now that the end of August is approaching we can start to see the end of the busiest part of the season. We aren't there yet, but I can feel relief just knowing it is coming! That also means this bounty is still coming as late August into September starts the mixing of the Summer and Fall crops. We clipped the first of the winter squash last week and it's looking like the first of our Fall fields are going to start to be harvested now. What a time of year.
This is what is in the share this week: potatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, cucumbers onions, cabbage, carrots, beets, eggplant, sweet and hot peppers, scallions, melons, lettuce, tomatoes and bok choy and edamame.
The fruit share will include grapes, peaches, plums.

Summer Share #12 of 22: 8/20+8/23 Back to School

by Erin and Steve on 08/18/18

I can't believe we are getting so far along in August. We got the largest rainfall of the season Friday night at 2.5 inches, which was a shock to wake up to. I think the weather tides are turning. We are crossing our fingers that the melons still ripening in the fields won't split too much. All that water absorbed by the plant all at once can cause a lot of damage. Everything is ripening and the largest harvests are underway...there's so much to do with so little time. How awesome would it be if there were an extra day a week just in the Summer? I guess if it were true I would still complain about not having enough time! So all this change in the fields makes me think of all the kids gearing up to head back to school if they haven't already. It kinda fits.
As for the farm we are so proud of the amazing yields we have been pulling from the fields (ha, that rhymed). It means some of the changes we made this year have really paid off. I'm sure you can feel it in your biceps when you've come to pick up your share recently. There have been some hiccups and missteps along the way but I'm pretty sure that's just life.
So if you have little ones starting school soon or bigger ones heading away for school I'm glad they've had the exposure and gained the knowledge they have by stopping by the farm and seeing how real food grows, as opposed to fake food (what I like to call all that processed food at the grocery stores ;)
Here's what's in the share this week: potatoes, squash of all sorts, cucumbers, onions, beets, carrots, cabbage, sweet and hot peppers,eggplant, melons, scallions, lettuce, greens, tomatoes, fennel, and some edamame.
The fruit share will include peaches, plums, and nectarines.

Summer Share #11 of 22: 8/13+8/16 Sorry Not Sorry

by Erin and Steve on 08/12/18

Holy cow, we've worked hard to set up a wonderful harvest this season. Every year we take what we've learned from previous seasons and invest in making the shares and the farm better. Well, now there is so much to harvest that we are a bit overwhelmed and we don't have time to do things like weeding and general maintenance because we are harvesting all the time! The bulk harvests of the season always start with garlic, but once the storage onions start coming in then it seems like the flood gates open. From there the first carrot planting comes in and the tomatoes start really pumping. We've had an amazing squash and cucumber year, so every time a new planting comes in the time it takes to harvest them increases (we just started the third planting yesterday).
So we are having to tell ourselves that this is a good problem, even though we are looking around the fields at how much needs to get done but simply isn't. We are also having a bit of a turf war with the deer that continue to demolish the beans in the upick fields. Hopefully with the recent rain (and the rains coming this week), the deer will have other things to eat instead of our irrigated beans. We are hoping to open them, if we can fend them off and the plants can recover.
So week 11 marks the halfway point in the season and here is what will be in the share: potatoes, zucchini, summer squash, cucumbers, onions, beets, carrots, cabbage, sweet and hot peppers, eggplant, cantaloupe, scallions, fennel, tomatoes, salad greens (hopefully) with the addition of watermelon. The fruit share will include peaches, plums, and nectarines. We are also hoping for more apricots.

Summer Share #10 of 22: 8/6+8/9 To the Brim

by Erin and Steve on 08/04/18

Well this is what happens in a good year: there is a lot of vegetables coming out of the fields and we can't stop it! So the share is another big one this week and we're not sorry about it. We worked so hard to get these vegetables to this point so it's awesome when it works out. We might be a bit tired as the hardest part of the season has mostly passed. The amount of seeding and transplanting we are doing at this point in the season has dropped off. Almost all the fields are completely full or already done, we just have about a half acre left to plant for the season. But the weeds and bugs are still working and for some reason they don't get tired this time of year like we do!
I want to remind share members that Providence Creek Farm will have pasture raised meat available every week in the Pump House, so check it out if you haven't already. Also, please read the rules for the u-pick fields if you haven't already. And please speak up if you see someone not following the rules. Just be nice and let them know what they are doing is incorrect. We are a community here so we need to help each other out, and remember that when we are harvesting we are harvesting from a crop that belongs to everybody here.
So the tenth week of the share looks like this: potatoes, zucchini, summer squash, cucumbers, onions, cabbage, beets, carrots, kohlrabi, sweet peppers, hot peppers, lettuce, flowering broccoli, radicchio, tomatoes, scallions, fennel, tomatoes, and the addition of eggplant. We are hoping to have sweet corn and possibly cantaloupe, too. Phewww.
The fruit share will include blueberries, peaches, plums, and apricots.

Summer Share #9 of 22: 7/30+8/2 Out of Office Reply

by Erin and Steve on 07/29/18

About this time of year every year I write a post about the busiest part of the season...which we are currently in the middle of right now. At our core we are farmers, not any sort of office worker. We don't have an office or a designated person who only works in one. This means at the busiest time of year we are in the fields and when we aren't in the fields we are sleeping. So please remember to talk to me face-to-face in the share room if you ever have any questions that have a time frame attached, otherwise a response to your email will come in 2 to 4 weeks. Apologies.
Another note: there are some rules to using the U-Pick fields. If you are unaware of them please take a moment to read them in the share room before heading out to the fields. They are very important and there is some evidence that some people who are using the fields have not read them.
Now for the important part: this week's bounty is HUUUUGGGGEE. Yep. All this work is starting to show. The share will include- potatoes, zucchini, summer squash, patty pan squash, cucumbers, cabbage, beets, onions, scallions, kohlrabi, sweet peppers, hot peppers, lettuce, salad greens, kale, tomatoes, carrots and maybe even some sweet corn. The corn is on the verge so we are crossing our fingers.
The fruit share will include: cherries, plums, apricots and clingstone peaches.

Summer Share #8 of 22: 7/23+7/26 It feels like July

by Erin and Steve on 07/21/18

As July continues to kick our metaphorical butts the lack of precipitation is starting to slap us in the face. We are starting to wrap up our field schedule of transplanting plant starts from our greenhouse. It will continue until the end of August, but it slowed down a lot. We of course will be seeding directly into the ground until the middle of October. We aren't complaining about the lack of rain, just explaining. Our peppers are taking a hard hit even though they are on drip irrigation. Unfortunately we've lost a good deal of the peppers, but the rain looks like it might show up here soon and sort things out. I might just be writing about how wet things are this time next week ;)
This week's share will include: potatoes, zucchini, summer squash, patty pan squash, cucumbers, fresh onions, cabbage, beets, scallions, kohlrabi, radicchio, salad greens, salad turnips, escarole, lettuce, and tomatoes with the addition of sweet peppers and hot peppers.
The fruit share will (hopefully) include blueberries, cherries, apricots and plums.


Summer Share #7 of 22: 7/16+7/19 Seven Weeks In

by Erin and Steve on 07/14/18

The first 7 weeks of the Summer share season always fly by. The second seven weeks are the most difficult, which is where we find ourselves. And just FYI the last 7+1 weeks always fly by, too. These are the trying weeks that test not only our skills, but our brains and grit. So here's to the hardest 2 months of the year!
I know we had a surprise tomato harvest last week. It was weird because there were a decent amount of red tomatoes out there, but no orange ones. In other words, there were ripe ones, but no ripening ones. So this week we are not planning on harvesting tomatoes, but we are thinking that there will be another harvest in week 8 that then builds in numbers like normal. This year is proving to be anything but normal!
So here we are with a bounty of vegetables and we are only 7 weeks in! How awesome and intense is the growing season here in Western New York! This week's share will include: zucchini, yellow squash and patty pan squash. **If you haven't tried the patty pan summer squash you are missing out**...cucumbers, cabbage, beets, salad turnips, salad greens, kale, chard, bok choy, radicchio, escarole, lettuce, scallions, kohlrabi and the addition of fresh onions and new potatoes. New potatoes are generally smaller and have very think skin. They are great pan fried!
The fruit share will (hopefully;) include cherries and apricots.

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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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