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Root Down Farm Ramblings

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+5/18...it'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.

#FarmingisFixing, plus the Spring Greens Share

by Erin and Steve on 04/15/17

Okay, okay, okay. A week and a half ago there was snow on the ground and now I'm telling you we just plowed the first field of the season on Thursday. The weather is looking pretty wet in the coming forecast, though. As we were trying not to obsess over the weather (which inevitably happens every year, especially in the Spring!) we went on our way planning and prepping the spring field when one of our tractors stopped running, literally. Steve is in 'frantic mode' trying to figure out what is wrong and the rain is looming. Yes...I can say that this is definitely Springtime, no foolin'.

So, we're staying positive and looking for solutions to all of Spring's challenges. The good thing is that the high tunnels that house the bulk of the vegetables for the Spring share are booming, and looking good. The Spring Share looks like it will start on time this year. The start will be the first week of May. If you have signed up for this share you will receive an email from me early next week with more information. Yeah Spring?!

"Always Be Prepared"

by Erin and Steve on 03/27/17

Wow, it has potentially been the longest span of time I've gone without blogging since the farm started! Is it possible that a lot is going on even though things are slow on the farm? Right now we are still watching the last of the snow melt while the greenhouse is starting to fill up. The first of the tomatoes are potted, the first of the greens for the Spring Greens Share are germinating and it looks like rainy Spring days are ahead. Hopefully we can look forward to some sort of normalcy this season when it comes to the weather, even though this winter was extremely unusual. I guess in the middle of writing this I've realized how it is possible to be so busy even when progress on the farm is slow...it's because of all the planning for everything that may happen this season. We spend a lot of off time planning, and planning, and planning for when that plan goes out the window so that even in a 200 year drought (like last season) we can still deliver an awesome share. So thanks Excel, and the Girl Scouts for preparing me for this! Ha.

Up, Up and Away

by Erin and Steve on 03/06/17

Well, the 2017 season is off and we already have the earliest of the vegetable seedlings germinated and growing in the propagation room. Now on even the gloomiest or coldest of days I can just go in the prop room and the seedlings bring a smile to my face. The earliest of the seedlings are always the onions, leeks, scallions, celery, celeriac, and a range of herbs as they take the longest to mature or need to mature during a specific time of year. We've also seeded the hot peppers, eggplant, and earliest tomatoes. Next on the agenda is to start up the big greenhouse and start up the big seedings. I'm talkin' sweet peppers, tomatoes, kale, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, chard, collards and on from there. This also marks the ending of our "off season" because those little vegetable seedlings need constant care.

Here we go.

Second Payments for the Shares Due March 1st

by Erin and Steve on 02/24/17

The company that hosts our website is in the midst of upgrading our email system at the most inopportune time. It is nearing March 1st and if you are on the payment plan for your share the next payment is due March 1st. You will all (hopefully) be receiving emails from us soon with all the information you need to make your second payment, it may just be a little late.

As for this crazy weather it's making us farmers stir. But average weather will return again and put our heads back on our shoulders. Phew.

Eleven Weeks and Counting

by Erin and Steve on 02/17/17

Yesterday was the very last share distribution of the 2016 season (I know that sounds confusing 'cause it's 2017, but all the seeds that grew into the very vegetables in your fridge were seeded in 2016). So we celebrated a little and then woke up this morning ready to work for 2017. The first seeds of this season will soon be seeded and new projects are already underway. The warming weather will help us along as we have 11 weeks until we start distributing vegetables again! Every new season is an uplifting moment since we get to look forward to not only a new year, but more learning and adding new aspects to our job. It keeps us interested and innovative every year.

The 2017 shares are full for the season, so remember to email us to get on the waitlist. If you are put on the waitlist this year it looks like you will be an entire season out (ie you're looking at joining in 2019).
We still have one open position on the work crew this year as well, so if you know anyone who would like to work (a lot) on a crazy CSA farm let them know we might have a spot for them.

The Final Winter Share Pick Up

by Erin and Steve on 02/10/17

This coming week marks the end of the 2016 Winter Share. I love that every year the end of the winter share corresponds with the start of the 2017 greenhouse. It is also when the day length has again reached 10 hours of sun (yes, you guessed it...it's all connected). It's amazing how easy it is to forget that life is dictated by the sun and moon and light when there is concrete and light bulbs surrounding us. Thank goodness the vegetables know better than us, and annually bring my thoughts back to "Nature as Measure" as Wes Jackson might say.

Now, these feelings are always at odds with my childhood memory of February taking FOREVER even though it is the shortest month of the year. Now that I'm older I'm okay with it. It's a good month for us farmers to re-charge the batteries, turn our attention to the coming growing season, and realize again that the glass is definitely half full! This all comes pretty easy when we have such wonderful vegetables to share with you all. The final week's share will include: carrots, beets, potatoes, cabbage, kale, turnips, radishes, parsnips, kohlrabi, dry beans and dry corn and some more farm ferments. See you then.

Ready All Over Again

by Erin and Steve on 02/03/17

We are on the "off week" for the winter CSA shares this week, so there will not be a share distribution this week. Instead we will be using the week to tie up the remaining loose ends of 2016, including processing all of the dry beans for the last winter share pick up. After that we can finally say 'good friggin' riddance' to 2016 and focus on this coming season. Of course both Punxsutawney Phil and Dunkirk Dave saw their shadows yesterday, so they think we'll be in for a good 6 more weeks of winter. I'm not really sure how good a groundhog can be at prognosticating, but I guess he's about as good at it as I am (and they're more practiced). Easter is a little late this year, too, so I'm going with a longer, maybe lingering winter this year. I would also like to predict this year is going to fly by! How is it February already?

Winter Share #7: 1/30+2/2 Out in the Sun

by Erin and Steve on 01/27/17

This week marks the 7th week of the Winter Share out of a total of 8 share pick ups. It seems that the last of 2016 is almost over and our thoughts are turning more and more to what this season will bring. We have honestly been away for a little farmer vacation in Florida this past week, so if you want to comment on our tans when you see us feel free:) Ha.

Back to the share. This week will include: all the awesome root vegetables, plus kale, cabbage, dried cayenne peppers or horseradish root, popcorn and farm ferment option! Must be gettin' close to February. And don't forget Providence Creek Farm will be here, too with pastured meat. 

Winter Share #6: 1/16+1/19 Backlogged

by Erin and Steve on 01/14/17

Friday slipped through my fingers and it was 7pm before I knew it. Sorry for the late Winter Share Reminder email as well as this blog. Somehow winter is flying by. I am also getting backed up with computer crap work (I mean the side of farming that has nothing to do with farming), so if you are checking the blog for waitlist updates please look for an email from us in the coming week.

It looks like we are going to be entering some warmer weather this week that might just be enough to trick me into thinking it's not going to snow much anymore. Well we welcome any warmer weather during winter share pick ups, so we will see your smiling faces in the root cellar from 3 to 6 Monday or Thursday (depending on your pick up day). The share will include: all the root veggies, cabbage, kohlrabi, onions, butternut squash, cabbage, a choice of herbs, and kale!

Thinking about the Summer

by Erin and Steve on 01/08/17

The winter share pick up is off again this week. The next pick up is the week of the 16th, so we will see you then. As for you guys out there thinking about next season we have been systematically going through the waitlist. If you feel like you've been on the list for a while (say since the fall of 2015) you should've received an email from us with the chance to sign up for a share.  We are almost full for the 2017 season so get those forms mailed to us:)

Now that the first 7 days of the new year have come and gone, it's easy to fall right back into the ebb and flow of another year (yes, already). I'm trying to balance work with some relax time for myself. It's sometimes difficult to stop working when in the summer we work all the time! So fitting puzzles and baking in between scheduling, seed and field planning and studying (yes, we still study farming) has become important in my weekly schedule to de-stress. I hope you're able to find some balance in 2017, too.

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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