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Root Down Farm Ramblings

Summer Share #8 of 22: 7/23+7/25 July, it's July

by Erin and Steve on 07/21/19

Steve and I laughed out loud a few days ago when an employee asked what the hardest month of the year is for us. It's JULY!! There is so much in the ground right now: we still have crops that were seeds/transplanted into the field the first day we could get in (around April 15th) and now we are seeding and transplanting crops we will be harvesting into November. They are all in the ground at the same time, plus the larger harvests have started, including garlic. Plus the bugs are now full on, plus the weeds are truly loving this heat. Plus we still have more seeding and transplanting to do while we also take care of all the crops already in the ground all at different stages of life. Yes, July is the busiest month.
But with the cold Spring we've had, some of the Summer heat loving crops were pushed back. The weather held them back from maturing at their normal pace and here we are in week 8 of the share and the tomatoes look like they MIGHT think about MAYBE starting to ripen sometime soon. So I am thinking they are still at least 2 weeks out, unfortunately. Eggplants will be more like 2-3 weeks I think. The peppers are looking like they may be ready soon-ish. The beans are finally flowering...again they are probably 2 weeks out. But when they come in it will be glorious and looking like bountiful, barring any extreme weather events. I always have to put in that caveat because it seems like we've dodged some bullets recently when it comes to extreme weather. Soon enough it will be our turn.
So the best thing to do is enjoy the bounty we have, because the other vegetables are pulling their weight, big time! The cucumbers are unbelievable right now (I just keep thinking about cucumber juice or water on these hot days). And we have a number of different varieties of squashes. I know people can take zucchini and summer squash for granted, but it really is only in season 14 to 15 weeks out of the year. So make sure to get your squash dishes on ;)
This week's share will include new potatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, cousa and patty pan squash, cucumbers, carrots, beets, kohlrabi, fennel, cabbage, fresh onions and scallions, salad turnips, head lettuce, greens, radicchio (everyone is getting one, so plan on it in a meal this week!), and kale, chard, collards choice. The fruit share will likely be just cherries again as other fruits are behind as well because of the cold, damp Spring.
**Fruit shares don't forget to pick up your bulk pitted cherries if you ordered them this week.

Summer Share #7 of 22: 7/16+7/18 Lookin' Good

by Erin and Steve on 07/14/19

Steve and I go on what we call 'field walks' once a week, usually on a Sunday morning with coffees in our hands. Early in the year the field walks don't take as long because there isn't as much field to walk. We also got caught in a couple downpours then. But this time of year it takes a good hour + to walk all the fields checking out everything from plant health to weed pressure, from bugs to harvest readiness. We make notes the whole time trying to plan out our week. Sometimes there are areas of the fields I'd rather ignore and others I want to photograph for Instagram. But this week things are looking good, and I feel comfortable with all of it. Yes some crops are still lagging behind, but I have a feeling when they ripen it will be a huge harvest at the jump (think tomatoes).
This week's share will include: zucchini, summer squash, cucumbers, new potatoes, carrots, beets, scallions, kohlrabi, fennel, cabbage, kale, salad turnips, escarole, and salad greens. The fruit share will be cherries.

Summer Share #6 of 22: 7/9+7/11- Transitions (plus the Fruit Share is Starting!)

by Erin and Steve on 07/07/19

Transitioning from one thing to another can be difficult. I don't care if people think transitions are harder for children, because they are hard for all of us. Transitioning from one thing to another, one place to another, from one focus to another: It's difficult. And filling the gap (or the transition ;) from one season to another on a farm during a difficult weather year can be trying. It's awesome how different this season is from the last. Last year was super hot, which had some pros and cons. And this year started out super wet and unseasonably chilly. We are still experiencing side effects from the atrocious Spring weather and as we transition from Spring crops to Summer crops it's an awkward part of the year. But the harvests continue to roll in and I am amazed every day at the resilience of life on the farm. Any time I prep myself to complain about the weather I have to stick my foot in my mouth because our cooler isn't big enough to hold the bounty from the fields. Seriously we need a new cooler!
So keeping that in mind, the share this week reflects the seasonality of our region as well as the crazy weather we've experienced. This week's share will include: Broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, yellow squash, patty pan squash, cucumbers, salad turnips and radishes, fennel, radicchio, bok choy, garlic scapes, kale, chard, salad greens, scallions, head lettuce, collards, kohlrabi, cabbage and escarole.
The fruit share starts this week with sweet and tart cherries.

Summer Share #5 of 22-7/2+7/4: Shoptalk; Thursday pick up 1-4:45

by Erin and Steve on 06/30/19

There are a few things we the farmers want to convey to you the eaters that aren't necessarily related, so here it goes:
All you Thursday picker uppers remember that Thursday is the 4th so therefor we will have pick up times moved up to 1 - 4:45** Obviously some people still work on the 4th so if you are only able to arrive a little later or want us to put a share together for you to pick up at a later time please call us to set that up. Otherwise we'll see you from 1 - 4:45 ;)
Also we have some sad news about the u pick fields this year. They probably got the brunt of the wet/cold Spring (the soil type in those fields are heavier clay-based soils) and we lost the peas and more than half of the first planting of beans to rot and an obscene amount of slug damage...which is caused by wet/cool weather. We also had some of the flowers die after being transplanted. I am saying this because I can already hear comments about how the UPick is usually better, which it usually is, but we were unable to convince Mother Nature to give us a normal Spring. Now that being said the flowers that survived are growing, the tomatoes look great, the 2nd planting of beans is gang-busters so it's not all doom and gloom. But I think the upick fields will sputter along a bit before they kick it up to the normal gear.
As you might have heard a lot of plants across the region are behind due to the cold/wet Spring. This includes our garlic (which were a week later than ever), the fruit share (cherries will be in at the start of the share which is July 9th and 11th, also a week late), and the summer crops! The tomatoes are just now making small green fruits, the peppers and eggplants are mostly still flowering, the corn is not knee high yet, and the melons are also just starting to flower. I just checked the first of the potatoes as well and it looks like those are at least a couple weeks behind normal as well. It all means that they will be arriving in the share room late, too.
I'm sure you've noticed, but I thought I'd add that we ordered more Mix-and-Match re-usable bags. They are made from recycled cotton and are being sold at cost ($7) in the share room. Just ask for one.
And finally this is what is in this week's share: Broccoli and broccoli shoots, broccolini, zucchini, yellow squash, we're hoping for some cucumbers, cauliflower, turnips, radishes, kohlrabi, fennel, radicchio, bok choy, garlic scapes, kale, chard, fava beans, beets, head lettuce, and salad greens.

Summer Share #4 of 22: 6/25 + 6/27 Summer is Officially Here

by Erin and Steve on 06/23/19

Yeah for the beginning of Summer, and hopefully it will start feeling like it around here! I'm sure if you are calling around to u-pick farms in the area in search of strawberries or wondering about the start of cherry season I'm sure you've found that everything is late! Our garlic scape crop is coming in a full week later than normal. For the previous 8 years they have always been part of week #3 of the share, but instead you'll see them this week, week #4. On that note, for everyone in the fruit share it will be starting a week later than normal because cherries are a week behind, too. So if you signed up for the fruit share (an email is coming) it will start Tuesday the 9th or Thursday the 11th.
The weather is making us even more organized than before, making sure we get all the work we need to get done while the sun is shining and the fields are dry enough to be in and balancing that with the wet times, where we can spend more time in the high tunnels or working on projects. But we sure have not had to irrigate, which I think is contributing to the feeling that the Summer really isn't here yet. But the zucchini and summer squash are on their way, I'm not sure if we'll get a sneak peek of them this week or not, but the overnight temperatures are looking good, so cross your fingers!
This week's share will include: broccoli, broccolini (last week for this), radishes, turnips, kale, chard, collards, salad greens, beets, broccoli raab bok choy, kohlrabi, garlic scapes, and head lettuce.

Summer Share #3 of 22- 6/18+6/20 It's Late June, Time to Complain (just a little)

by Erin and Steve on 06/16/19

Oh what a weekend I've had. It was wicked windy on Friday, to the point where it limited some work we could do. And then I woke up on Saturday and IT WAS STILL WINDY! I know my last post was about how it's still Spring and I know we get wind storms in the Spring, but not this late! and not sustained for this long! So Saturday morning we went out to check the fields and one of the row covers (40x200 foot sheet) had blown completely off the watermelon we just transplanted and the cantaloupe sheet was halfway off as well. In the wind we couldn't get the watermelon cover back on so we just had to secure it in place and subject our little seedlings to the torment of the weather. We then had to cancel our plans to leave the farm because we had to check everything that could be a affected by the wind on the hour every hour. So by about 5 pm we thought it was calm enough to leave the farm so we headed out and as I was on Transit Road with my blinker on and braking before my turn when someone flippin' rear-ended me...flat out...no breaking on his part. And as we are talking after the accident it started to rain! AAAAHHHHHH! So then we just went back home. I hope you all had a way more productive and fulfilling weekend than I did, especially you dads out there. Sometimes it feels like I should just 'pack it up' for the day and try again tomorrow; sometimes you just can't win.
But we went for our weekly field walk on Sunday, delayed due to the wind on Saturday, and though the crops have endured some crappy weather, including way too much rain, they are surprisingly doing well. I can't believe the broccoli crop right now, and we were pleasantly surprised by others like the first cabbage of the season is in. The onions, after being planted in a wetter area of the farm looked like they are bouncing back (hopefully they can handle this latest deluge). So it looks like the mix-and-match will be in full effect in the share this week. Woohoo!
This week's share will include: carrots, broccoli, cabbage, kohlrabi, broccolini, salad radishes and turnips, beet greens, broccoli raab, kale, chard, collards, bok choy, salad greens, spinach, and head lettuce. Yes, head lettuce will be in the share for a few more weeks because this is the time of year it really shines! So get your dressing ready because it's salad season. And if you or your significant other is thinking something like "I like bacon", or "I eat sausage every morning", then great. Crumble that up and put it on a salad.


Summer Share #2 of 22: 6/11+6/13 It's Still Spring, no Seriously

by Erin and Steve on 06/08/19

It's true, the end of Spring is Friday the 21st. I know that we all want to extend what feels like Summer, so we say 'the unofficial start to Summer is Memorial Day', but that is a whole month too early. Also, in case you are wondering the end of Summer is September 23rd, not Labor Day 20 days earlier. I know we act like it doesn't matter to us which day Summer starts, but it does matter to all the plants...on earth...everywhere. They know the difference. Some vegetables rely on day length to signal when it's time to start maturing (think of how long the days get, the longest one being June 21st which is no accident). Other vegetables rely on what is called growing degree days, or the amount of days spent over a specific temperature threshold. There is a lot of natural science occurring on the farm that is linked to the length of day, which in turn is linked to the seasons. I know when we go to the grocery store it's hard to see the reality of the natural world (especially next to the bananas), but at least at the farm you can be reassured that we are all tied to it, and therefore we are also all actually tied to the real start of Summer: June 21st.
So here's to all the vegetables in this week's share that love the Spring: Broccoli, broccolini, carrots, salad radishes, bunched spring greens, bok choy, kale, chard, collards, head lettuce, and salad greens.
Don't forget your mushroom share and Providence Creek Farm will also be here this week with pasture raised meat. Finally, if you have not made your final payment, or are unaware of what you owe, or just want to check just ask at the share pick up.

The Summer Share is Starting! Share 1 of 22: 6/4 + 6/6 from 2-6:30

by Erin and Steve on 06/01/19

The Summer Share is starting this week. This marks the first share pick up of 22 total weekly share pick ups for the 2019 season. We are excited to get going after Spring felt a little cold and even lost at times. Some of our crops who lived through the wettest part of Spring (when there were makeshift 'lakes' in lawns and fields) have some wounds but are mostly recovered. We're celebrating every time the sun is out by doing absolutely as much as we can during that time! We are happy that we are mostly on schedule for the field plan (the schedule that seeds and plants are transplanted into the fields). We just keep doing as much as we can do when we can do it...that's our Springtime motto.
So make sure when you come to the farm you come with your payment and an open mind. The farm has sent out 2 emails within the last week with all the information current members need for their first pick up. Take a look ;)
So we'll see all of you on Tuesday or Thursday depending on your pick up day from 2-6:30 in the Big white barn.
The first share of the season will include: broccoli 3 ways (sprouting broccoli, broccolini, mini broccoli heads), carrots, garlic shoots, bok choy, head lettuce, and radishes.
Rusty Bucket Mushrooms should be here this week and Providence Creek Farm pasture raised meat will be here on the 2nd week of the share.

Spring Share #5 of 5 The Last Spring Share

by Erin and Steve on 05/25/19

This coming week marks the last week of the Spring Share, which means that the Summer Share will be starting the following week (the first week of June). So you Summer Shares should look for an email from us soon.
We were almost dried out from all this rain, some of the plants looking a little better than the ones in lower lying areas of the fields. I like that people have been relaying their harrowing lawn mowing stories to relate: stuck mowers, abandoned areas of lawn, and even one person said they just got it mowed last week for the first time. Yes, these are all cues that it is too wet for our crop's liking (and this farmer's liking, too).
So the last Spring Share will include: bunched greens, garlic shoots, radishes, turnips, spinach, head lettuce, asparagus, herbs, and bok choy. What a great ending to my favorite share of the year!

Spring Share #4: 5/21+5/23 Dry Out?

by Erin and Steve on 05/19/19

Last week's rain wasn't as bad as predicted, which allowed us to get a lot more plants in the ground! The water table is still pretty high because of all these Spring showers, though, limiting the amount of field work we can get done. But the sun is shining now and I'm not gonna complain while the sun is out.
This week marks 2 more weeks until the Summer Share start, which means there are 2 more weeks of the Spring Share. To all you Summer Shares (who don't have a Spring Share) we will be starting the Summer Share after the Spring Share ends. As I said last week, look for an email from us soon with more details about the about the start the first full week in June.
Now I am not about to wish Spring away. There is one more entire month of it anyway and it hasn't really felt like Spring since the end of March! So let's savor some of these real Spring days that aren't so soggy. This week's Spring Share will include: carrots, garlic shoots, asparagus (if the sun stays out!) bunched greens, radishes, salad turnips, herbs, lettuce and spinach....what a week.

Spring Share #3 of 5: 5/14 + 5/16 As Fast As We Can

by Erin and Steve on 05/11/19

May is feeling a little more like April to me right now. I thought April showers brought May flowers, not even more showers. But we are only halfway through the Spring (Summer starts June 21st) and I'm feeling like it isn't even May yet. Which is funny because I remember telling myself in April that it is only April and not May. I think Mother Nature has got things flipped here.
We're taking advantage of every minute of sunlight, since there hasn't been many anyway. Last week was the marathon onion and leek planting date and we were able to get all 23,000 onions and 4,000 leeks in the ground. I thought we would only get half the onions out, but we did them all and managed to get the first planting of tomatoes in the ground as well. If anyone is familiar with onion starts, it's like planting individual blades of grass in the ground...eek. Back in the greenhouse some of the plants are getting a little antsy and wanting to go out to the field and us farmers are too. Here's hoping we will be harvesting cucumbers, tomatoes and melons this Summer instead of rice!
Just a little reminder for all you Summer Share holders, the share will start the first full week of June as always. This year the first Tuesday pick up is June 4th and Thursday is June 6th. Look for an email from us sometime next week.
As for the Spring Share, this is what will be in this week: scallions, radishes, salad turnips, herbs, bunched greens, lettuce mix, and spinach. See you Spring Sharers between 4 and 6 Tuesday or Thursday.

Spring Share #2 of 5: 5/7 + 5/9 Soggy

by Erin and Steve on 05/04/19

Wow, May Day blew by and now we're ready for some serious transplanting into the big fields, but we need the rain to quite and the sun to come out! We need some dry weather here and not just a 'window' this time cause we got some work to do.
I'm glad we got into the fields in the previous weather windows afforded to us, but now the ground is more saturated than it's been all Spring (which started at the end of March;).
So thank goodness for high tunnels, because right now all the veggies in the Spring Share are coming out of them, including these guys that will be in this week's share: scallions, broccoli raab, radishes, lettuce mix, spinach, bunched greens, chives, bok choy and baby kale. See all you Spring Sharers between 4 and 6 on Tuesday or Thursday. For everyone in the Summer Share, as I mentioned in the last email that share will start the first full week of June (if things ever dry out! ha!).

The Spring Share is Starting (which is not the Summer Share)

by Erin and Steve on 04/27/19

Yeah, even though it's snowing outside we are happy that the Spring Share is starting! Now...again...I have to say this: The Spring Share is not the Summer Share. If you are signed up for the Spring Share you have now received 2 emails about it from the farm. If you have not received these emails it is because you didn't sign up for the Spring Share. If you are signed up for the Summer Share you will be receiving info from the farm closer to the start (which is the first week of June).
But the Spring Share is starting this week. Remember that pick ups are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 to 6**. So if you are picking up on Tuesdays then your first pick up is Tuesday April 30th from 4 to 6**, and if you are picking up on Thursdays your pick up is on the May 2nd from 4 to 6**.
The share will include (but is not limited to) salad radishes, herbs, bunched greens, broccoli raab, scallions, spinach and lettuce mix. So if you have a Spring Share we will be opening the barn doors for you for the first time in 2019 this week! So exciting!

The Spring Share Start...not the Summer Share Start

by Erin and Steve on 04/20/19

Good news for all you guys who signed up for the Spring Share: it is starting soon! The first Tuesday pick up will be on April 30th from 4 to 6** and the first Thursday pick up will be on May 2nd from 4 to 6**. Now, everyone who signed up for the Spring Share was sent an email last week and will again receive a second 'reminder email' this coming week.
To be clear, we are talking about the Spring Share and the Spring Share is not the Summer Share. So if you did not receive an email about the Spring Share that means you did not sign up for it.
The first plants for the Summer season went in the ground in the big fields last week. We were lucky enough to get them in before the next round of rain. We're hoping for some more sun this week, too so we can stay on schedule. Staying on schedule never really happens though because we are at the whim of Mother Nature and she's been a little less predictable lately! So we are savoring the sunny days, and hoping for a little less rain in the forecast. The farm is getting greener and greener by the day.

Hurry Up and Wait

by Erin and Steve on 04/13/19

I'm sure every year at this time I title a post "Hurry Up and Wait". That's what Spring is like for us. Everything needs to get looked over, combed through, counted, adjusted, sorted, ordered, cleaned, changed, updated, and ready to go....at no specific time other than it all better be ready when we need it! What??
This coming week is the week that the field plan has the first of our large crops going out into the fields. This is our 9th CSA season, and I think things have gone according to the start date once out of 9 times (because the forecast shows a load of rain this week!). So my nerves are going and I'm looking at the farms we follow all over the country on Instagram posting their first transplanting days and I get a little jealous. But any day now I'll be posting about finally getting in the big fields for the official start of 2019's CSA season.
But we keep preparing so that when there is a window in the weather we can go, go,go as fast as we can before it rains again. Good thing we had the Winter to rest our bodies before we start demanding too much from them again...ha.

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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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