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Root Down Farm Ramblings

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.

Summer Share #6 of 22: 7/9+7/12 The Golden Rule

by Erin and Steve on 07/08/18

I was at a grocery store earlier this week because there was a few things we needed and I thought I could quickly go in and grab everything and get back home because I was pretty tired. I grabbed one of the handheld baskets and made my way through the store grabbing the 8-ish items I wanted Unfortunately the quick check out lines were closed so I picked a line where a woman was standing with her cart and all her groceries were bagged and she had her wallet out. I immediately realized that something was up when the woman started looking around and the cashier was just standing there. The woman then said, "Oh just cash me out, she's taking too long and I don't want to hold up the line." At this point the line was just me. I figured out the woman's daughter was somewhere in the store grabbing something and the wait for when she would return was well underway. I didn't say anything.
The woman then offered, "I'll just pay for that separately at Customer Service just cash me out." The cashier totaled everything, the woman got her money out and the cashier hesitated. The woman looked around a couple more times and spotted her daughter, "Hurry up I don't want to keep this woman waiting." I again said nothing. The cashier re-totaled their receipt. The woman handed over the cash and said to me, "I'm so sorry." I finally replied with a smirk, "Don't worry, if one minute ruins my day then that would be on me." They chuckled and I was happy. I had been in a hurry and I was tired, but not so much to get upset at a woman and her daughter for making me stand still for 1 extra minute. I was serious when I said what I said. Being in a hurry isn't an excuse for being angry or rude to people. Everyone has a lot to do. I was more upset that she felt she had to apologize repeatedly. So now that we're all older and our parents aren't around to remind us all, I will: "Treat others as you would like to be treated".
That all being said what a wonderful week we have ahead of us! It will include zucchini, yellow squash and patty pan squash, cucumbers, scallions, scapes, salad turnips, kohlrabi, fennel, radicchio, beets, bok choy, kale, chard, maybe broccoli and cauliflower depending on how it handled the heat last week, cabbage, lettuce and escarole.
The fruit share will include cherries and apricots. We will also have pickling cucumbers again for sale in the share room. If you plan on making pickles then plan on grabbing some this week!

Summer Share #5: 7/2+7/5 The Fruit Share is Starting

by Erin and Steve on 07/01/18

Wow, climate change is kickin' it up a notch this week. The farm is preparing as much as we can, so make sure you do too. Unfortunately all those machines people use to keep things cool actually make the world hotter. So make sure to stay cool both literally and psychologically. We all got to get through this together!
Now, there is still a lot happening on the farm as the Summer really is just getting started. The upick is slowly opening and the Fruit Share is starting! So if you signed up for a fruit share that means you've already received an email from the farm reminding you. If you haven't received an email then you haven't signed up for one. The fruit share this week is cherries, cherries, cherries!
The vegetable share will look like this: zucchini, summer squash, broccoli, salad turnips and radishes, scallions, beets, radicchio, fennel, kohlrabi, garlic scapes, lettuce, salad greens, kale, chard, collards and the addition of cucumbers and mini cabbage.
**We'll also have some wholesale pickling cucumbers and grilling squash available in the share room, so don't forget your cash or check!

Week #4 of 22: 6/25 +6/28 Full of Surprises

by Erin and Steve on 06/23/18

So I hope you all were as pleasantly surprised by the presence of the first zucchini of the season in the share room this past week. We knew we had to check the plants on Monday, but we didn't think we would be harvesting 13 buckets of the stuff that day. So Summer on the farm started last Monday instead of it's official start on Thursday. It made us happy. This means cucumbers will be on the way. Then tomatoes, then melons, peppers, eggplant everything in between and even more surprises. So be ready. The growing season in Western NY is short by most standards, but the climate makes for some amazing produce.
Here's to another bountiful harvest: zucchini, summer squash, broccoli, salad turnips and radishes, beets, scallions, salad greens, broccoli raab, bok choy, kohlrabi, kale, chard, and the addition of fennel, radicchio, and fresh garlic.

Summer Share #3 of 22: 6/18 + 6/21 Feelin' the Heat

by Erin and Steve on 06/17/18

Holy moly it is gonna be hot this week. Now, the official start of Summer is on Thursday the 21st, but it has been feeling like Summer basically ever since it stopped snowing at the end of April. Some of our Spring crops are throwing a little fit because they hate the heat, but the Summer crops have nothing to complain about. It has been very dry so far this season, but I'm not ready to complain about that yet. So the farm is feeling the heat already, but so far it is nothing that a little irrigation and ice cream can't fix (for the plants and humans, respectively). We have over the years become more adaptable to the weather as it becomes less and less "normal".
This is also the week of the pests as every season it seems like the week of Summer is when the pests (of many different kinds) start their attempt at overthrowing the farm. When you drive past the fields and see all that white fabric it is to keep the bugs off the plants without having to spray. It's referred to as 'row cover' in the business and though it requires a whole management plan for it, we think it is well worth our time.
Finally this week marks the third week of the share, and it will look like this: broccoli and broccolini, salad turnips, radishes, kohlrabi, kale, chard, collards, bok choi, broccoli raab, salad greens, spinach, lettuce, and the addition of scallions, napa cabbage, beets, and garlic scapes.
The fruit share will be starting either the 1st or second week in July depending on when the cherries decide they're ready. Everyone who has signed up for a fruit share will receive an email from the farm before it starts, and all you have to do is pick up the fruit when you get your veggies.

Summer Share #2 of 22: 6/11+6/14 The Sophomore Week

by Erin and Steve on 06/09/18

When a new artist releases their second album it is often referred to as their Sophomore Album. Can they reproduce the magic that was in their first album that made them famous? It's a difficult task. Our first share pick up was probably the best first pick up we've ever had given the broccoli came in early, thanks to those summer temps a couple weeks ago. But will the second and third share be as good as the first? OF COURSE!! The season keeps rolling and the veggies keep trying their best. The only real problem we are running into this season is that it hasn't really rained here on the farm in 3 weeks. The irrigation is running almost around the clock and a good rainy day would help out some issues we are facing, but I refuse to complain about weather (haha I do it all the time).
Don't forget that the shares here at the farm are harvested the morning you pick them up. For instance, if you pick up on Mondays we start harvesting all those vegetables Monday at 7:30 am. We do the same for Thursdays. This means things are as fresh as possible and seasonal. That's right, everything in the share is in there because this is the time of season it is able to grow. This means the variety of vegetables in the share will change throughout the share season, and eating with the seasons actually helps mitigate climate change. Seems like a win-win to me!
So here's what'll be in the share this week: broccolini, broccoli, garlic shoots, bok choy, head lettuce, salad greens, spinach, salad turnips, broccoli raab, basil, kohlrabi and kale.

Summer Share #1 of 22- 6/4+6/7

by Erin and Steve on 06/02/18

Growing up we had good family friends who owned the video game Roger Rabbit for Nintendo, I think. It was made after the movie came out. It even featured the 'Toon Patrol' which was a sort of police squad for cartoons in the game. If you were playing you were Roger Rabbit, so you had to hide from said Toon Patrol. The problem was, whenever the Patrol entered the screen everything sped up! You were trying to escape, but the screen was moving so fast you couldn't make decisions fast enough to get away. Now why the heck am I regaling you with this story? Because I was trying to come up with a metaphor for how it feels to be working on the farm right now and that's all I came up with!
The most difficult part of this time of year, yes, could be bugs, weeds, transplanting, seeding, harvesting, or weather and in a sense it is all of those things. But the very most difficult part is slowing everything down enough to make the best, most sound, and on time decisions. So that's the farm mood right now. Keep our head on straight and stay calm and confident in making the right decisions at the right times without getting overwhelmed. No sweat!
And in the meantime the SUMMER SHARE IS STARTING!! How exciting. We have sent out 2 emails to all our members in the last 2 weeks with all the information you need for your first week. Remember to stick to your pick up day. The share continues every week for 22 weeks. If you cannot make it on your designated day please send someone in your stead. If you owe your final payment please bring it with you. If you are not sure how much you owe please ask when you get here.
This week's share will include: kale, chard, collards, lettuce, broccolini, garlic shoots, bok choy, and salad greens. What an awesome start to the share!

Spring Share #4: 5/28+5/31 The End is the Beginning

by Erin and Steve on 05/26/18

This week marks the final week of the Spring Share. It also means that the Summer Share will be starting soon. Real soon. Like the week after 'soon'. Everyone in the Summer Share was sent an email at the beginning of the week. We will send out another reminder email at the end of next week. I apologize in advance for not being able to really keep up with any emails at this point in the season we are pretty full out, so make sure to bring your questions with you to your first share pick up the week of June 4th.
As for the Spring Share it's been a great, but short season! It's only been 5 weeks since it last snowed, but it already feels like Summer. The share has been amazingly bountiful and it is a lot of fun to "push the season" and have all these amazing choices so early in the season (not to mention the asparagus). So, yes it is Memorial Day on Monday, and yes we are having the share on Monday at an earlier time ***from 1 to 3pm*** for the holiday only. Thursday's last share is at the regular time from 4 to 6. The final Spring Share will include: asparagus, radishes, chard, beet greens, kale, lettuce, carrots, bok choy, herbs, salad turnips, and garlic shoots.

Spring Share #3: 5/21+5/24 Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger?

by Erin and Steve on 05/19/18

This week was a big push to get the first of the summer crops out to the fields. It's been a short, exhausting Spring. Last Thursday's Spring Share pick up too exactly 1 month after there was snow on the ground. That's right, on April 17th it was snowing and a month later we have eggplants, peppers, squash, and tomatoes (all frost sensitive crops) transplanted into the fields. In other words I'm exhausted. Steve keeps saying things like "My body's already failing me." I think we are just realizing that every year we get older. You think we would've learned that before now.
But as we get older I'd like to think we are also getting wiser. The crops I just mentioned were the best crops we've grown and transplanted to this date. They were healthier, some slightly bigger because of better root development. Some smaller because in year's past we've let them 'pass' their ideal transplant date. We've figured the best cell trays for different crops, the best time to harden them off before transplanting, etc., etc. There is always so much to keep track of on a wildly diverse farm so I like to see, through very visible ways, our improvements. So, by my calculations by the time our bodies have completely failed us we will be geniuses, right? Isn't that how this works?
Anyway all kidding aside the Summer Share will be starting in June which is rapidly approaching. So look for an email from the farm this week with more info about it. As for the Spring Share (which is not the Summer Share;) this is what you have to look forward to this week: herbs, bok choy, kale,chard, radishes, lettuce, spinach, and asparagus...woohoo!

Spring Share #2: 5/14+5/17 Now Go!

by Erin and Steve on 05/12/18

We all lived through the cruel joke Spring played on us this year. The temperatures were like the ones we typically see in February and it snowed a few times during the middle of April with some accumulation. Well now that Spring has relented it's steamrolling right into June weather. So as much as we groaned about it, now we just have to shut up and fast as we can because we had a late start. The first crops of the year are already getting a little more demanding and we are now starting to transition our summer crops from the greenhouse to the fields. AND I saw my first cabbage moth, flee beetle, and tarnish bug of the season last week. So even with the late Spring the bugs are right on time. Yeah!
And now for my standard disclaimer: The Spring Share is not the Summer Share. We are on Spring Share #2 of 4 and once we are at week #4 of the Spring Share, the Summer Share will start next. You will get an email with information about the Summer Share in due time (everything on an operating farm revolves around weather and seasons).
Now for the good stuff: It was so awesome to see all the familiar faces, and some new ones too, at the first Spring Share. It was a beautiful week and we were proud of the share and happy to be distributing vegetables again! This week's share is just as good and will include: lettuce, spinach, herbs, arugula, kale, radishes, bok choy, pea shoots and more!

Spring Share #1: 5/7+5/10 The Spring Share is Starting!

by Erin and Steve on 05/05/18

Yeah for Spring finally arriving in time for our Spring Share start. I'm just going to say it again...the Spring Share is not the Summer Share. Everyone who has signed up for the Spring Share has been sent a couple of emails about the share, including that pick up hours are:
***from 4:00pm to 6:00pm*** here at the farm.
We are as busy as the weather allows. The last seed for the Spring Share went in the ground last week and the first crops for the Summer Share went in the field a couple weeks ago. Now the summer crops like tomatoes and peppers and eggplant are taking over the greenhouse and the first planting of zucchini and summer squash has already germinated. It's planting season on the farm and we already have our eyes on Summer.
The first week of the Spring Share is full of green and is gonna look like this: salad mix, carrots, arugula, kale, radishes, bok choy, cabbage, and more.

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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