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Root Down Farm Ramblings

Spring Share #4 of 5: 5/17+5/19 Sarcastic Veggies

by Erin and Steve on 05/14/22

*Warning* If you have not been checking the blog recently, but are now just starting to because it's warm outside and the Summer Share is starting soon remember: the Spring Share is not the Summer Share. Also, there is sarcasm throughout this post. If you do not want to read the sarcasm please skip to the bottom.
(Sarcasm commences)- A sense of humor is important. It lifts spirits, keeps things light when you need to balance the heavy, and can improve your mood. It's important to be able to laugh at yourself, too. If no one has said that to you before here it is again... It's important to be able to laugh at yourself. I'm not sure I trust anyone who couldn't laugh at themselves. I'm pretty sure the natural world gets it, too. Have you seen some of the odd shapes of some of our veggies?!?  We include the ugly and odd and amusing during share day because I know you all get the humor in it, too. Just google sarcastic veggies and you'll see some all stars and hopefully laugh a little.
This week's share will include: asparagus, radishes, salad turnips, greens, spinach,  lettuce, green garlic, and leeks!

Spring Share #3 of 5- 5/10+5/12: Leafing Out

by Erin and Steve on 05/07/22

*Reminder: the Spring Share is not the Summer Share*
It's gonna be warm this week, folks. And it's gonna start feeling like Summer is here. But the first day of Summer this year is officially June 21st! What does all this mean? It means that even though it is warm is doesn't mean that all warm-weather-loving vegetables will miraculously be available. Instead, it means we should enjoy the warming days of Spring and the seasonally available produce our wonderful corner of the world provides! The cherry trees are blooming and the apple trees are making flower buds, the dandelions are out so that means it's time to plant potatoes. The greenhouses are bursting with plants ready for the fields, but can't go outside until the last threat of frost has passed. Hopefully that means this week! The trees are leafing out just in time to provide shade on the warmer days. So though it may feel like you're bursting at the seams, it's cause I think we are all leafing out right now ;)
The Spring Share continues to march along. We are hoping the asparagus kicks it into high gear in this warm weather and we'll have some by the 4th week. For this week, though, we will have: scallions, green garlic, lettuce, spinach, and bunched greens!

Spring Share #2 of 5: 5/3+5/5- May Day

by Erin and Steve on 04/30/22

May Day usually gets overshadowed by Cinco de Mayo, which is just fine except that I fully appreciate May Day and the celebration that it entails. It's a celebration of Springtime and the greening of the natural world (in the Northern Hemisphere that is ;) I've danced around a maypole before, as the caller told all the participants what to do. And when we were done there was a beautifully weaved pattern around the maypole by the colorful ribbons everyone was holding.
May Day is tomorrow and I'll probably just be working, but right now the greenhouses are bursting with plants and caring for them seems to be somewhat of a celebration of May Day.
This week is the second week of the Spring Share (which is not the Summer Share) and it will include spinach, lettuce mix, shoots, scallions, green garlic, radishes, and bunched greens!

Spring Share #1: 4/26+2/28 The Spring Share is not the Summer Share

by Erin and Steve on 04/22/22

Yessss! It's time for the Spring Share to start this coming week. How exciting! The first pick up for Tuesdays is the 26th from 4:00 to 6:00 and Thursdays is the 28th from 4:00 to 6:00. As a reminder to anyone who might be reading this, the Spring Share is not the Summer Share. This may induce a "no duh" notion in your head and that is okay, but we just want to make sure anyone who is excited for the Summer Share to start is not getting too excited yet. The Summer Share will start in June and everyone will get a reminder email for that to start. The Fruit Share starts in July.
Sooooo...if you signed up for the Spring Share you should be receiving an email from us with all the info you need to grab your first share. The first pick up will include a lot of greens as well as shoots, radishes, scallions, and other goodies! Just as every other share, generally the first share week is the smallest as things start to ramp up once the weather decides to cooperate! So we will see your smiling faces soon.

We're Gearing Up Again

by Erin and Steve on 04/10/22

Here we go! The Spring Share is just around the corner and we're ready for it! Just to remind everyone, or if you are a new member, the Spring Share is not the Summer Share. I say this every season as a reminder that the Spring Share is an add-on share, and is not part of the main Summer CSA season. That will start in June. Until then, we will have a lot of greens, some roots, herbs, and asparagus in the Spring Share. If you've been buying greens from the grocery store be prepared to have your socks knocked off ;) Some yummy salads are just part of the Spring Share, but it is this time of season I start craving the leafy green things. Makes sense since that is what is first in season in the new growing year!
We've emailed everyone who has signed up for the Spring Share, so make sure to check your inbox for all the deets (that's details for anyone who didn't know, ha). And you can always check back here for any additional info about the share. There may also be some jokes, sarcasm, and other surprises on here because why not enjoy life as you're living it!

Happy Valentine's Day

by Erin and Steve on 02/14/22

The farm has sold out of CSA shares for the 2022 season. We are thankful for all the support and look forward to a new growing season! Seeds will be going in the ground and in the greenhouse sooner than we know. And hopefully warm temperatures will be here sooner rather than later.

Wait List and Farm Update

by Erin and Steve on 02/02/22

We have been emailing the wait list this past week to fill our remaining open shares for the 2022 season. If you've received an email from us about signing up please do so soon so you don't miss out on remaining openings. If you have not received an email from us yet, then look for one in the coming week about your spot on the wait list. It does take a few seasons to get into the share once you are on the wait list. We apologize for this, but as mentioned previously, we are limited by the amount of farmland we have access to as well as a few other limiting factors. Of course we would love to grow food for everyone who wanted it!
As for the farm right now, we are largely gonna take February off from farm correspondence. We have been working our tails off for way too long. It took the pandemic to make us realize we need some serious rest and some separation from the farm and all it's constant needs and demands. We are going to be building a new greenhouse during the month, and turning our farming brains off for a bit.
I remember hating the month of February when I was in high school, because even though it is the shortest month, it always seemed to drag on the longest. College started shifting my mindset, but farming has made me love February. It usually has some of the coldest temperatures, but also is the month day length really starts to change. We reach 10 hours of daylight in February, and things start growing again. Now the month of February is too short and I wish it would drag on a bit more ;)

Wait List Share Sign Ups

by Erin and Steve on 01/25/22

Phew, we can now put 2021 behind us and focus on 2022. There is lots to do this time of year, but the work in front of a computer increases while the work with vegetables decreases!
Remember small farms are small businesses, so beyond doing share distributions and wholesale deliveries we are all dealing with tax related crap right now, pulling in accounts owed, filling in the rest of the profit and loss statements and balance sheets, completing w2's for employees and sending them out, field planning for the season and seed ordering, and filling remaining open shares. All but one of the things listed has a deadline, so we are just now getting around to it: the Wait List
If you just asked to be added to the wait list this year we may not have room for you until next season. If you have been on the wait list and received emails containing your place in the list then you will probably be able to sign up for a share if you want one...just look for an email by the end of this week.
We had our second highest retention rate this season, so there are not a lot of openings, unfortunately. Again, we would love to accommodate everyone, but are limited by our land and available help.
Thanks to everybody who supported the farm this past season, we hope you found some joy in being a member! Here's to another successful CSA season, our 12th one!

Winter Share #7of 7: The Final Winter Share and Bulk Sale

by Erin and Steve on 01/14/22

The final Winter Share pick up is upon us, and boy does it seem like time flew this season! We again grew more vegetables than ever before, and still sold out more quickly than predicted. Thank you to every person who showed support (and hopefully enjoyed their produce)! We have big plans for 2022 to get to, once we can fully put 2021 behind us...if that's possible ;) But the farm's New Year's Resolution is to grow more hopefully we can make that happen!
We are again having our annual Winter Bulk Sale for everyone in the Winter Share, please check your inboxes for how to order.
This week's (final) share will include: carrots, beets, potatoes, squashes, turnips, radishes, celeriac, cabbage, parsnips, onions, lettuce, kale, and more!

An Off Week

by Erin and Steve on 01/10/22

This week is a off week for the Winter Share so there is no pick up. It is, however, an "on" week for frigid temperatures! So there is no share pick up this week. Instead we are looking for windows in the week's weather to get things harvested for the final Winter Share pick up, which will happen next week (Tuesday the 18th and Thursday the 20th).
We are finally taking our Christmas tree down after having an extended holiday season. But it is time to turn out attention to 2022's growing season and what lies ahead. I am almost done with the seed orders and we gotta get going on building our new greenhouse (we outgrew the old one, so we have to take that one down first). So much to do!

Jan. 6th Snow Update

by Erin and Steve on 01/06/22

As of right now (12 noon) we are still planning on Winter Share pick up as normal today, Thursday the 6th starting at 3:00. The snow is supposed to start tapering off by that time. However, if roads are not great where you are the road crews may need more time to clean things up. Therefore, we will stay open until 7:00. If you for sure will not be making it today please text us during share hours in order to pick up your share Friday between 4 and 5:00pm. You have to let us know if you are planning on coming on Friday instead of today so we can have your share ready and bagged for you.

Winter Share #6 of 7- 1/4+1/6- 2022 A New Frontier

by Erin and Steve on 01/01/22

I can't believe it is already the New Year...and that year happens to be 2022! 2020 felt like a year we just needed to get through, but for me 2021 was the year to get back to "normal". Instead the New Year comes with the realization that things aren't ever going to be as they were just 2 years ago. This isn't a negative statement, but it is one filled with mourning and grief. It feels like something has been lost, and may be gone forever, but 2022 is the year to forge ahead into unplowed ground (sorry for the stupid metaphor, but it seemed fitting).
The farm has had multiple years where we've had to put our hopes into ground that hadn't been productive in decades. It's unnerving to plan for the future as a farm based on land you know little about beyond it's soil type and classification. But every time we plowed long time fallow ground we were gifted bountiful harvests in return for the work we put in. And in time this once unknown-to-us land has produced more and more with each passing season. So here's to 2022; may the future be bountiful for us all.
This week's Winter Share will be the second-to-last pick up. It will include potatoes, winter squashes, carrots, beets, turnips, parsnips, celeriac, cabbage, bok choy, radishes, onions, kale, head lettuce, and more!
Just a reminder share pick up is from 3 to 6:00 and the final pick up will be in 2 weeks.

The Hap-Happiest Time

by Erin and Steve on 12/26/21

Hope everyone is enjoying the Holiday Season. Biggest take home from that first sentence is SEASON! That's right, the Christmas holiday has a season and it is exactly 12 days long, how awesome for it to be over almost two weeks! A perfect amount of time to eat, relax, be with friends and family (safely of course), and turn off the old brain! Enjoy!

Week #5 of 7: 12/14+12/16- Approaching the Solstice (Yuletide Greetings)

by Erin and Steve on 12/12/21

We are rapidly approaching the shortest day of the year, which also marks the first day of Winter. It is also know as Yule and the yuletide season, which is celebrating the changing of seasons. I celebrate this time by sleeping as much as possible! But this year there has been a shift in the farming world, and I had to get all the field and greenhouse plans set for next season so I could do ALL THE SEED ORDERING already! Yes, it's 2021, but I have seeds for this time 2022. Throw on 3 crazy wind storms in a week and a half, a horrible Bills/ Pats game, a power outage and wedding to get to and...maybe I'll sleep in January :)
I'm hoping you're getting a quiet moment to appreciate the changing season. Our last distribution of 2021 is this week, BUT remember we still have two more Winter Share distributions in January! This week's share will include: potatoes, squashes, carrots, beets, celeriac, rutabegas, leeks, scallions, onions, lettuce, bok choy, kale, parsnips, garlic, and more!

Down Time (aka No Share this Week)

by Erin and Steve on 12/04/21

This week marks the first week since last March that we have significantly reduced work hours for us and the farm crew. I know I've already talked about resting, but if any of you have experience getting overworked and mildly burned out, then you know it doesn't take just one weekend to recover. The shorter daylight hours help turn my brain off, which is a good thing.
But we are again planning for next season, and have already ordered seeds (not all of them, but most of them). With a field rotation plan, we already know where everything will be out in the fields. We have to update totals, and change up some varieties that are either no longer available or now have better alternatives. For example, cucumbers are a big focus for us and I hate it when we have a bad cucumber year. 2021 was a great cucumber year for us, and it is based in the seeds we focus on, and also on our growing techniques to ensure we have a crop in season. We had a few members come into the share room this season and say something like, "I was at the farmers market and no one has cucumbers, but you have cucumbers." And my response is, "Yep, cucumbers are actually very difficult to grow in our region. That is why we search for the best cucumber seed to fit our micro climate, and we are also very good at our job." Just a humble brag ;)
Anyway, as we look forward and plan for the future it is all based on experiences in the past. And in order for experiences in the past to be reliable sources we have to be honest about our observations (was a failure our fault, was it a weather related thing, are our neighboring farms experiencing the same thing, etc.). Being honest with yourself is the only way to be able to learn and grow (literally and figuratively).

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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