Our CSA sign up is now available. You can find it under the “2014 CSA Registration/Pledge Form” tab.
Just wanted to let everyone know that CSA information and registration will be released soon. We look forward to feeding your families again in 2014.
2013 members will be notified first with registration via email, followed by access to the rest of the community on our website. But don’t fret, we have increased the amount of shares our farm can accomadate and hope everyone can join our farm for the new year. It is going to be the best year at 26th Street Farm yet.
I still can’t believe we have finished our 2013 season, and are already planning (and even planting) for 2014. I hope you all enjoyed all the treats of our last box. I just want to give credit one last time to all the folks who donated produce with us to finish off our year.
Our last box included:
Two heads of Broccoli (from Justin Jones of Jones Produce in Crete, NE)
Onions/Garlic (from Gene Gage of Heartland Organics in Crete, NE)
Salad Mix (from the Darlin Reds (Margaret sand Erin) in Raymond, NE)
Acorn Squash and Cherry Tomatoes (Tyler Magnuson, Commuity Crops, Lincoln, NE)
Eggplant (Chloe and Alex, Robinette Farms, Martell, NE)
Cooking Greens/Cherry Tomatoes (From Kristin Bailey, Fox Run Farms, Bertrand, NE)
From 26th Street:
and a fun pumpkin!
It was great to receive all the feedback from everyone to hear how the year went, and how you were able to get through all of the produce. It sounds like most folks felt the share size was appropriate, which we are happy to hear! Another comment we heard a fair amount was the reduction of meat in diets, and how much people enjoyed cooking vegetarian dishes, also fantastic to hear! Learning to be adaptable in cooking is a big part of learning from a CSA, it emphasizes cooking from scratch and cooking creatively, which can be very difficult!
We had a really good year this year. We learned a lot of new lessons (which we always will) with this type of work, but our ability to cope and adapt has changed a lot. We feel more confident in our abilities to produce, and are getting better at growing the crops we were more unfamiliar with growing in the past. We have a very good feeling about next year that it will be a wonderful year, so keep your eyes out for registration for our 2014 program.
We had a few questions about registration priority as far as previous years members goes, so I will let you all know how that works. We give the previous year’s members a one week advance notice of CSA registration. So, if you get your registration in that week, you will secure your spot for next year.
For the winter, we will be heading to the Northwest for the holidays to visit Will’s family in Portland, as well as explore the farming community out there. A milder climate, combined with season extension techniques, allows farming (and therefore markets) to have almost year round markets. We will be visiting farms and markets as well as planning for next year. We have seed orders, growing supplies, and much more to plan out for 2014. We have been planting garlic for next year’s crop already! We are currently exploring the idea of planting fruit trees and berries. Although fruit takes much longer to establish and produce and is an investment, we feel that any work in creating sustainable food production at our current farm will be valuable for years to come, even if we aren’t always the stewards of this land.
We have been weighing a lot of different scenarios in our minds for how to make our farm the most efficient and sustainable as possible. We know that our CSA will grow in size next year, along with that we might be letting go of our attendance at the local farmer’s market in order to distribute for our CSA program two days per week. We need to be able to harvest our produce at the same capacity two times per week to keep our plants productive, and market can be very inconsistent for us. We also might have a market available simoltaneously to our CSA pick up, so that our produce is still accessible to people even if they aren’t in our program, because we want our food to always be available to anyone. The CSA model is so essential in providing our farm’s security and viability, that we want to grow this part of our farm to include more shares. To accommodate smaller parties, this will likely include a smaller share.
After totaling all of the share values, we calculated that upon your $525 investment, you received a 13% produce bonus! We aim to give 10%, so this is wonderful news. That is $68.25 in bonus produce! Really, we feel, the least we can do to repay you for believing in our work as farmers and growing food for you and your families.
We are finishing setting up the end of year survey for this year, so expect to see that soon. This is important because it allows you to share with us particular details about your experience, and how we can adapt our program for next year for the better.
Thank you everyone, for another wonderful year!
Hannah and Will
On Thursday of last week, we were thrown quite the surprise. I’ll just make it easy and show you a photo of what we woke up to Thursday morning.
The heavy and fast four inches of rain was too much for our creek to handle. Most of the year, our creek (part of the little blue) is either extremely low or dry, but on Thursday it could not handle the capacity. In my time growing up at 26th Street, I’ve only seen the property flood twice, but never to this capacity. For those who came out and toured our place, you can probably remember the lay out. To the West, the property dips lower along the creek and we refer to that area as the “flood plain”. We only plant summer crops there in the chance that a flood does happen, because it has only ever happened in the Spring. This area was in about three or four feet of standing water for about eight hours. We had just harvested our winter squash the day before, but this field also had our sweet potatoes. The ground is still so saturated that we haven’t even be able to get in and see how the sweet potatoes look. The east end of our property is higher, and has never flooded before, until now. More than half of the upper field was sitting in about 1-3 feet of water depending on how close to the creek. All of our fall crops that we have been anticipating giving in shares for the last few boxes are in the photo above. Lettuce, salad mix, mesclun greens, radishes, turnips, chard, kale, beets, beans, arugula…and more. Will and I were so concerned about wondering if things would actually survive that the food safety thought didn’t even cross our mind at the time. The water areas upstream from our farm could include possible farm run off and potential harmful human pathogens, and we do not feel comfortable putting our members at risk by serving them produce from flooded areas. In total, around 65% of our farm was flooded.
This was a huge loss for the farm, and especially for our CSA. We had worked so hard to produce these fall crops, and to see this happen is heartbreaking. Believe it or not the fields look absolutely beautiful now—most things survived (somehow, after being in water for eight hours), but we can not put you and your families at risk. Beyond the CSA, this is also a loss to our farm by not being able to sell any of the surplus.
So, I bet you are wondering about tomorrow’s box, and the one after. We are going to pull any remaining food out of the summer gardens (maybe some eggplant, maybe some peppers), parsley, potatoes, carrots, leeks, and our butternut squash for tomorrow’s box. The next week, more leeks, celery, carrots, maybe potatoes, some winter squash, and some other surprise produce that our Lincoln friends have shared with our farm to help us out…(including gorgeous fall broccoli!) So, don’t give up on us yet. We will be ready to see you tomorrow from 4-6.
This really makes the model of CSA hit home for us—why we ask you to commit to supporting our farm for the season, because you are always vulnerable in this business. Thank you, thank you, for joining our CSA and supporting a local farm.
We hope to see you tomorrow, those butternuts are gorgeous!
Hannah and Will