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Root Down Farm Ramblings

Summer Share #11 of 20- 8/17+8/19: Slog-ust

by Erin and Steve on 08/15/21

August can be referred to as Slogust because this is (hopefully) the homestretch for the part of the season where we just work WAY TOO MUCH. But that also means we are really starting to harvest a lot. We still have the last real round of weeding to do out in the big field as well as the UPick's final planting of beans (Yes, everything in the UPick fields have been weeded and weeded again and there are weeds still because it is all part of an ecosystem). However, it's also time to start pulling in all the onions, the first of the winter squashes, more potatoes, and the second plantings of carrots and beets. Soon we'll get more rest.
This week's share will include potatoes, zucchini, summer squashes, carrots, beets, cucumbers, peppers, eggplant, cabbage, onions, lettuce mix, melons, tomatoes and sweet corn.
This is the week to grab your canning tomatoes and pickling cukes!! They're at their height right now.
The fruit share includes table grapes, peaches, nectarines, and plums.
The Upick field has some resident ground bees. We are working on getting rid of them, but the area is marked off.
Don't forget you Savage Wheat Project Share. Select our location and pick up day. At the moment you need to order 3 days ahead of time because Emily bakes everything fresh to order.
Hang in there:)

Summer Share #10 of 20- 8/10+8/12: I Got the Finger

by Erin and Steve on 08/08/21

Since, let's call it the "COVID era", began people have been taking on more home improvement type projects. I know a lot of people are hiring out the work, but I think a good amount of people are taking on the work themselves. Sounds great, I just want to be sure they are being careful with a mind for safety! Learning new skills is awesome, but one thing I learned in my teenage years is that people who are REALLY good at something make that something look super easy. Almost so easy that one might think to themselves, "well I could do that". Case and point is happening right now, the Olympics. In a poll of Americans apparently 40% of us think we could compete in the Olympics. This made me laugh, out loud, hysterically, when I first heard it.
Back to the home improvement point: Steve and I have a few MD's in our families, and one is a radiologist. She told me, she can't figure out why, but she gets a patient in the ER who has cut off at least one finger once a week. It's become so routine that she just expects it now. I suspect it is a hybrid of a DIY mentaility mixed with the delusions of grandeur explained by the Olympic poll. Hmmm. Just a deep take on some cultural shifts brought on by said COVID era.
As for the farm, we are ticking right along. This week will be a hot one, but it is August after all, and in order for things to ripen we need the sun and warmth! Speaking of ripening this week's share will include: melons, tomatoes, sweet corn, carrots, beets, zucchini, summer squashes, cucumbers, peppers, eggplants, lettuce, fennel, and potatoes.
Fruit Share will include stone fruit like peaches, plums, apricots, and nectarines.

Summer Share #9 of 20- 8/3+8/5: Between the Solstice and Equinox

by Erin and Steve on 08/01/21

We are halfway between the Summer Solstice and the Fall Equinox. There are subtle changes happening in the seasons if you are quiet long enough to notice. Bigger harvests are going to start rolling in. One of them being the early seeded carrots. Unfortunately, we are seeing the first effects of the rain we had 2 weekends ago (remember 4 inches in a day on top of already wet fields followed by almost another inch that Tuesday where we actually lucked out). Damage from flooded fields takes longer to see the effects than, say, a hail storm. Immediately after a hail storm you see hail damage on crops (I wouldn't wish this on anyone), but with too much rain all at once there are areas of fields where it naturally runs to and sits until it is dries up. This happened in our carrot fields an if you can imagine a high water table with carrots growing into it what you end up with is rotten tips on harvest-stage carrots. And so we lost about 30-40% of that planting. As a result the carrots in the share will be smaller because those are the ones that survived. We seed 4 plantings of carrots, so we are not worried about them (yet ;) because they are still immature and don't reach too deep into the soil.
As for the share this week it will include: aforementioned carrots, beets, potatoes, summer squashes, cucumbers, peppers, eggplant, fresh onions, cabbage, head lettuce, fennel, radicchio, tomatoes and corn.
The fruit share will include blueberries, peaches, plums, and apricots.
Don't forget your Savage Wheat Project Order

Summer Share #8 of 20 7/27+7/29- Dolly Parton

by Erin and Steve on 07/25/21

If you ever click on this blog and think to yourself something along the lines of 'What the heck is she talking about now?', then just read the Subject line above. It usually is exactly what I'm talking about or the key to the punchline. Now maybe you're wondering why I'm not wondering that if readers can't tell what I'm talking about, then maybe I'm not that great of a writer. To that I say, "No duh", I'm not paid to write professionally. I just do it sometimes ;)
So, to my point. A wise woman once said 'Don't get too busy making a living that you forget to work on making a life', and that wise woman is Dolly Parton. I've loved Dolly Parton since I was in 5th grade when a friend of mine made me a mix tape with Dolly's song Jolene on it. I've always admired her sense of humor and wit as well as her amazing songwriting abilities. I watched the movie '9 to 5' many times as a kid, which may or may not've been age appropriate, but I understood the plot.
Sometimes when you are a small business owner you get into it because you are insanely passionate about it. So passionate that you may even sacrifice too much and forget to work on making a life that exists outside of it. I've definitely gone too far giving way too much of myself to our farm and our business. So much so that at one point I had given up all of my hobbies. There was a moment in 2015 when both my car registration and license had expired (we had moved twice and I did not update the DMV), but felt like I couldn't even leave the farm during business hours in July to update them. That was a red flag.
Maybe Dolly wouldn't like me calling her an 'elder', but it is important to listen to our wisest elders and heed the words of their experiences and the words of their elders.
Here's to a happy, healthy week! This week's share will include zucchini, summer squash, carrots, beets, fresh onions, cucumbers, new potatoes, peppers, head lettuce, kale, chard, fennel, scallions, garlic, cabbage, and tomatoes. The sweet corn is just on the cusp so if we don't have it this week it'll be ready next week.
The fruit share will (hopefully) include cherries, peaches, and plums. I apologize for not knowing exactly, but the crazier the Spring weather is every year the less predictable the weekly harvest is.
Don't forget the Savage Wheat Project and your Providence Creek Meat share pick up this week.
**Look for a Buffalo News article on Emily Savage of the Savage Wheat Project soon

Summer Share #7 of 20: 7/20+7/22 Childhood Memories

by Erin and Steve on 07/18/21

We always had cable as long as I can remember growing up (funny I have never had it in my adult years). We also had HBO, which at the time, was a big deal because it played mostly movies. We would then record our favorite movies with the VCR so we could watch them when we wanted. One that I remember is War Games staring Matthew Broderick, who also played Ferris Bueller if you're trying to recollect who he is. The gist of War Games is that during the Cold War the US Military decides that people shouldn't be in charge of the nuclear codes. Instead it would be more strategic for computers to be in charge. So a program is designed by the government to learn as much about war as possible by running simulations and gaining knowledge by playing games as well. And if you've already guessed that a young hacker unknowingly hacks the system thinking he is playing a war simulation game, then you've guessed what leads to the climax of the movie. Broderick's character, who was playing a war simulation as the Soviets, eventually realizes it's not a game and tries to warn the military but is arrested instead. The military believes that the Soviets are in fact attacking the US as the computer is indicating. Fast forwarding a bit, Broderick escapes and with the help of the system's creator convinces the military to stand down. When the supposed attacks from Russia never happen it is apparent that no one else was on the other side launching an attack. Now they have to convince the computer to stand down and not attack. In order to make the computer realize and learn not to attack, they order it to play tic-tac-toe against itself. It becomes a lesson in futility playing out on screen. Each game of tic-tac-toe ends in a draw. Once the computer realizes there are no-win scenarios in life it shuts down and doesn't attack. Of course during this period people are coming to realize how important the "two person rule" is in order to safeguard against unwarranted attacks (because two people need to agree for nuclear launch to happen). In the end "the only winning move is not to play". I remember that line. Why am I telling you this? Because I can't stress enough how important human interaction is. And I mean human interaction with people who are not like you. Real human interaction. Facebook or a comment section on some topic absolutely do not count. Though there are real people behind those screens they would not act the same if they were actually interacting with real people. You need the two person real life. But instead people are seeking out groups of others online, or on any screen really, who think exactly like they do instead of talking to real community members. It leads to people living War Games in their minds that no one else is playing. I'm sorry for the ramble, but I recently thought about that movie made in the 1980's and how much it still applies to all of our lives right now. Now to actually talk about the farm (see I didn't complain about the rain, yet ;) The Summer crops are coming in bit by bit, which means we some some, but not tons of some of our crops. For instance the eggplants are starting this week, so the crop will probably peak in about 3 weeks, but we'll have some this week. It's very exciting! This week's share will include: Squash, carrots, potatoes, beets, cucumbers, fresh onions, peppers, eggplant, cabbage, scallions, fennel, kohlrabi, lettuce, and tomatoes! The fruit share will include cherries, plums, and apricots Don't forget about the Savage Wheat Project orders, too.

Summer Share #6 of 20: 7/13+7/15 Farm Update

by Erin and Steve on 07/11/21

Sorry I did not blog about the share last week. It is the first time I missed a post during the share season since we started the farm in 2011. We've been a little busy. Thank you to everyone who reminded me and who had such nice things to say about the blog. I'm happy you like to read it. I am currently having some technical difficulties posting this and have already lost this post once after writing it.
The farm is coming along and overall everything is looking good. We're hoping to get more of the Summer crops into the share as they ripen. So hopefully the peppers and tomatoes will be on their way shortly. Same with the melons. I saw a few melons the size of my fist and as little as the size of my thumb. The sweet corn is tasseling and that means the ears are just starting to form. Ears of corn start with the husk around the silks. The pollen provided by the tassels catch the wind and pollinate the silks. Each silk that gets pollinated then turns into a kernel.
Generally, July is a difficult month for farmers. The bugs and the weeds an plant diseases, along with bugs that cause plant diseases, and weeds that help spread plant diseases, and you get the picture. We're still planting and harvesting, too.
I am thankful for this rain, though. We only received about an inch of rain for all of June and the beginning of July until last Thursday. But just a heads up, if it starts to rain too much I'm gonna have to complain about that, too!
This week's share will include carrots, beets, zucchini, summer squash, cucumbers, kohlrabi, onions, fennel, new potatoes, lettuce, cabbage, escarole, and scallions. The fruit share will be cherries. Don't forget to order your baked goods from the Savage Wheat Project.

Summer Share #4 of 20: 6/29+7/1- The Fruit Share is Starting!

by Erin and Steve on 06/28/21

Well good news, the fruit share will be starting this week. I apologize for not emailing everyone that it was coming, but we thought it would start next week! So it's a good surprise heading into the 4th of July weekend!
This heat is just making us want to egg on the Summer lovin' veggies to get a move on already. Now of course they are right on time but that's just where the mind goes when it's almost 90 degrees for 4 days straight! Hard to believe we are only 9 days into Summer come Tuesday. So get off "social" media this weekend, enjoy some real conversations with people while enjoying some farm veggies (and a smorgasbord of other food and drink ;)
This week's share will include: carrots, beets, zucchini, scallions, kohlrabi, broccoli, cauliflower, scapes, radicchio, bok choy, radishes, salad turnips, lettuce, salad greens, and cabbage!
The fruit share will be a boatload of cherries, both sweet and tart.
Don't forget to order from the Savage Wheat Project this week!

Summer Share #3 of 20: 6/22+6/24 Busy Bees

by Erin and Steve on 06/20/21

What an amazing month June has been so far (watch me jinx it). Of course we have had some wild swings in the weather, but all in all...well you can tell by the shares that things are moving along, right? This is a very busy time for us, so please remember that if you are going to miss your share and you think of that during share hours to please call or text the farm phone number (in the email sent) and ask us to put a bag together for you before we close shop. If you email us during share distribution we will not get it in any sort of expedited time.
The crops continue to roll in, including our first planting of broccoli that we typically harvest  harvest over the course of 10 to 14 days. It took all of 5 days until all of it was harvested because it was all maturing at the same time!
This week's share will have: broccoli, salad radishes and turnips, scapes, carrots, beets, scallions, kale, chard, head lettuce, spinach, bok choy and kohlrabi. I'm thinking the cauliflower will start coming in this week, too!
Don't forget to order your Savage Wheat Project Share for the week!

Summer Share #2 of 20: 6/15+6/17- Why So Serious

by Erin and Steve on 06/13/21

We as a people have come to a place in time when we all think we can do everything better than anyone else. This thought process seems to run rampant these days. Even without an ounce of learning, training, attempting, or even trying we think we can do something better than the person who does said thing for a living. What is that about? I guess people get behind a computer screen on facebook, and twitter and that is enough for people to think they can do everything better than the next person. Where's the humility or humbleness? I watched a show (a while ago now so don't ask me what the name is or where I watched it) where they would take tweets from people sitting in their homes watching professional sports, and tweeting about how much better they are than the professional athletes. The show got a guy who tweeted about a missed field goal in a football game saying something like "I could easily make that kick, and (the player) should get fired for missing it." So the show set the tweeting man up on a football field, at the same distance from the goal posts to kick it through the uprights. They even put the ball on a tee instead of snapping it, and guess what. The tweeter's attempt didn't even get off the ground, wah,wah. Afterward he made a comment about how difficult it was and that maybe he shouldn't be so hard on the players. Well, no duh. If you've only attempted something from behind a screen, that is no measure of reality. So now that we are coming out of this pandemic slowly (once again to echo posts of the past 'pan' in 'pandemic' means world...this isn't just happening to you it is happening to everyone), get out and attempt something new, learn how actually difficult it is, and gain some humility and respect for the people who do it better than you;) And then laugh and have fun and enjoy yourself because isn't that what all this is about?
Right, so let's just talk vegetables now. The warm weather has some things maturing faster than they should. Sometimes it's not a problem, sometimes it means the size of things will be smaller, and sometimes it results in losses. Let's just say that I'm happy this coming week is a little cooler! But things are looking good in the fields and the tomatoes sure didn't mind the heat. The second week of the share will include lots of broccoli, salad radishes and turnips, kohlrabi, bok choy, garlic scapes, head lettuce, spinach, and bunched greens.
Don't forget to order from Savage Wheat Project if you want those baked goods!

Summer Share #1 of 20: 6/8+6/10 Summer Share Start!

by Erin and Steve on 06/05/21

It's starting! The Summer CSA season is starting next week. If you are picking up on Tuesdays we will see you the 8th from 2:00 to 6:30. If you are picking up on Thursdays we will see you on Thursday the 10th from 2:00 to 6:30. Please check your inbox for the email from the farm with all the info you need to come grab your first share.
The season has been shaping up and coming together this past week. The vegetables are ready to be harvested so they can get in your fridge and hopefully our Summer crops, like zucchini, summer squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc., will be along shortly ;) But until then we have a lot of leafy green things that prefer growing in the Spring and Fall. Those Summer crops can't handle cold temperatures, and can get injured if they are outside in them. To keep things in perspective we will be planting winter squash next week and the first of our Fall brassicas the following week. The season is short in WNY so we got a lot to squeeze in! It makes this time of year very busy needless to say.
So bring your payment if needed, and your mask to wear while you are in the share room in order to grab the first share of the season (wooohooo!) that will include: radishes, salad turnips, chard, kale, broccolini, spinach, bok choy, head lettuce, and bunched greens.
The fruit share is planned to start the first week in July.
See you soon!

The Long Weekend

by Erin and Steve on 05/29/21

Memorial Day is always said to mark the "unofficial start of Summer". I used to fight this sentiment tooth and nail because Summer doesn't start until June 20th. I just wanted people to know that tomatoes and eggplants and other Summer fruits shouldn't be expected at the 'unofficial start of Summer'. Just cause the weather is warm doesn't mean the plants are ready ;) Now it seems people are more aware of the seasonality of local produce so I've learned to let go of this cause.
As kids we used to spend Memorial Day visiting and tending the graves of  our family members and some family friends. We would place flowers and pull weeds if needed. They aren't all in the same cemetery, so it would take the morning. We would visit people I had known of and people I hadn't. We would visit my parent's second cousins whom I never knew in life, but memorialized in death to honor their life. I never understood it as a kid, but the memories obviously stayed alive in my mind. I understand it now and am thankful we used to do it. Now I don't live in the same town anymore and so we don't visit them on Memorial Day, but every year I still think of them.

CSA Summer Share Info- Getting Straight to It

by Erin and Steve on 05/28/21

Wowza, it's been quite the month this week (haha). It's planting season, and we are trying our darndest to get everything in the ground on schedule according to our 2021 Field Plan. We are halfway through the plan. We started planting in March and it took us three months to get to that halfway point. It will take five months, through October, to get through the last half of the plan!

This coming week will not hold any share pick up. We are going to use the time to get the washroom squared away, start up the big cooler again, get the share room ready, and keep on keeping on with everything else we do on a weekly basis. The Summer Share will start the week of the 7th...more specifically it will start on June 8th for Tuesday pick up and on the 10th for Thursday pick up. The pick up times are from 2 to 6:30.
We sent out email reminders to all our members, so make sure to check your inbox! This is the short, to-the-point version:

* Pick up takes place in the white barn, entering through the front (where the tent is), and exiting out the back. Friendly faces will be there to hep you out, especially for the first week!
* Masks will again be required to enter the share room to get your share. We did an informal survey of some of our Spring Share members and everyone who gave an opinion or concern said that they would prefer/feel safer with masks on in the share room. We appreciate your kindness in working to protect everyone in our farm community. As with everything during this pandemic we will keep updating our guidelines as time progresses.
*We are again allowing flexibility concerning pick up days. We ask that you stick with the day (Tuesday or Thursday) that you have signed up for, but if an emergency should arise you can come on the other pick up day that week without alerting the farm ;)
*We are also again offering the option for people to text or call us during your regular share pick time in order for us to bag a share for you to pick up after 6:30 under the tent out front. Your name will be on your share bag.
*Don't forget to place an order with the Savage Wheat Project! Please order at least 3 days ahead of your pick-up day (Saturday for Tuesday pick up and Monday for Thursday pick up). Root Down will be listed as a pick up site as soon as June hits. Simply choose Root Down Tuesday or Root Down Thursday for your pickup choice. After that, you can assume your order will be ready for you on your corresponding CSA day
Have a wonderful weekend! 

Spring Share #5 of 5- The Final Spring Pick Up

by Erin and Steve on 05/23/21

Well we went from 50 to 80 degrees and it looks like it's mostly gonna stick. It's also getting a bit dry, all of which is making my body think it's August, but my mind knowing there is still so much to plant!
So the irrigation has already been running almost non-stop during the daytime hours in order to water everything that's already in the fields. The Spring Share veggies planted in all the tunnels are almost done doing their job so it's time to make way for the Summer crops that'll be moving in, including our crop of ginger we plant every season.
Any of you who have followed us year after year know that I start complaining about the weeds around this time of year! We are prepping, planting, seeding, harvesting, irrigating, AND weeding everything. It is easy to start feeling overwhelmed with everything needing to get done in a short amount of time (most longer maturing crops have to be in the ground before the 4th of July in order to get a harvest from them, so think about most of those veggies even in the Winter Share are starting to grow and need care by that time).
As for the Spring Share this will be the final week of the share. There will be a week long hiatus between the end of the Spring Share and the start of the Summer Share. We will require masks for the final pick up of the Spring Share. I want to make sure (as always) that everyone in our farm community continues to feel safe picking up our vegetables at our farm.
The final Spring Share will include: carrots, radishes, bok choy, salad turnips, bunched greens, head lettuce, baby chard, spinach, lettuce mix, and asparagus! It's gonna be a BIG share ya'll 'cause we want to make sure you get through that extra week before the start of the Summer Shares! We'll see your big, beautiful, smiling masked faces then ;)

Side Note- Summer CSA Share Starts the week of the 7th!!

by Erin and Steve on 05/20/21

With all this heat it's hard not to think about fresh summertime veggies. No fear, the Summer Share will be starting the first full week of June! The crew has been working our figurative tails off to get things ready for you all. Reminder emails will be sent out sometime next week with all the info's and how-to's.
While the earliest vegetables for the Summer Share are growing in pace to be ready the first share pick up, we are also putting the first plants and seeds in the U-Pick fields. Yes, the name "Summer Share" is a bit of a misnomer because it actually starts in the Spring, spans the Summer and even goes into the Fall (the second to last week of October to be exact).
So we keep plugging away at the never ending to-do list and soon bountiful harvests will be coming in from the fields we work so hard to caretake.

Spring Share #4 of 5: 5/18+5/20- Still Gotta Wear a Mask

by Erin and Steve on 05/16/21

Oh what a week we had. It looks like the weather decided it will now be Summer, so we just have to go with it. It is a bit dry already, so we are irrigating everything. The bugs have arrived along with intense growth of all things green!
We also heard the announcement by the CDC about people who are vaccinated being able to go everywhere without a mask. It is wonderful news, because this is what we have been working toward: getting back to "normal". However this is premature for our region. Our vaccination rates are not nearly high enough for any sort of herd immunity, and my fear is that all you unvaccinated peeps out there will just lie about your vax status and not wear a mask. So to ensure everyone can stay safe, and feel safe too, we are still requiring everyone to wear a mask in the share room for now (state guidelines still require a mask). If you still do not understand that there are people who are currently being treated for a life threatening illness (think cancer amongst other illnesses) and therefore are immunocompromised and cannot receive a vaccine then you must hit your head against a brick wall a lot. Please everyone wear a mask and protect each other ;) Also, if you are able just go get vaccinated already...jeepers.
So here comes the sun and the veggies! This week's share will include: carrots, salad radishes and turnips, bunched greens, lettuce mix, spinach, and radish shoots

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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