Saturday, May 21, 2011

CSA Delivery Getting Close




Finally the Windmill Farm gardens are starting to LOOK like proper gardens. The lettuces are great; the radishes are ripe; the cherries on two trees are ripe; the snow peas are ripe; the onions are ready; the strawberries are producing; the Swiss chard is ready; some herbs such as parsley, rosemary, lavender, sage are ready; the carrots are just about ready. I am hoping to start my first week of our Community Supportive Agriculture (CSA) deliveries next week. I am so anxious to start, as my wonderful members have been very excited to see and eat what we have been growing. As with each year, I always try to state that investing in your local farmers means you invest in Mother Nature too. The first few boxes may be somewhat light but later they get not only vegetables but fruits from our mature orchard, herbs, flowers and free range eggs too. Growing produce for CSA members is like cooking courses of meals. Everything has to be ready together to serve, in a basket but pests, weather, winds and even seeds may not all work at the same pace. It is my job to keep stirring the pots (dirt, water, and hoe) and adjusting here and there to make it all happen at one time to eat.
Frank has tilled a new section for me to plant a second batch of potatoes that should be ready to dig up around August. The 1st batch is pretty much all flowering, a good sign that the digging up time is getting close at hand. The cabbage plants are getting so large, they look like ART when I see them, I must get out there and take some pictures. The tomatoes have blossoms and with the few days of warmer weather have doubled in size. It is almost time to start stringing them to their stands.

The grapes have millions of buds on their clusters; the olive trees are the same, we will have a very good harvest of olives in the fall. I am not too sure about the apricots, the back field trees do not have very much on them, but the 2 trees in the mature orchard are just so full of fruit, go figure!
Our farm has been asked to be on a panel for the Civic Pioneers Institute, Environmental Quality Day June 15th to speak about farming and Land Use Functions and Processes. Steve Lucas, workshop organizer from LAFCO knows that I have been very involved locally trying to keep our agriculture zoning intact but Butte County is still moving forward to change over 4500 of beautiful, prime agriculture land to be zoned Rural Residential. I just can’t believe they would even consider doing this as Gridley has the best soil conditions, the best growing weather and ample water to grow almost any type of fruit or vegetable from cool weather crops to citrus. Yet they all state they are “PRO” agriculture, what does that mean, except for some areas that they want developed??? We will continue to fight it until the end.
Lots of nice little projects have involved our farm. Mayor Jerry Fichter asked us if we would put together produce to put in two baskets she is planning on selling at the Gridley Farmer’s Markets. I filled it with what we had growing, and it was presented at a Community Action meeting where I was able to give a little talk on CSA-and the importance of buying fresh and local.
One of my egg customers is a teacher at a local school and they are having a special project of showing the kids how chicks hatch. We were asked if we could provide some fertile eggs from our special heritage breed Maran chickens. I was able to provide the school with a dozen and I can’t wait to hear how that project goes. The school is also growing some vegetables on the school grounds and because I had some plants in my new greenhouse, we donated some plants for the children’s garden.
Sarah Reynolds showed a picture of a new market bag she purchased on her Facebook page; it was made from old feed sacks. I fell in love with them and always felt the empty bags were so beautiful, with all the animal graphics and such a waste to throw them away. So I got out my sewing machine and sewed up 3 market bags. Check the pictures out of Facebook-Windmill Farm for all the views. I have some neighbors saving me their feed sacks for horses, goats and chickens so I can sew up some more to sell. Not a bad price at $15, selling them via email, they are destined to draw a lot of comments when you use them for groceries, knitting or at a Farmer’s Market! Thank you Sarah for inspiring me as you always do with your talents!
Maybe if I wrote more on my blog, these wouldn’t be so long, but hopefully I haven’t lost your interest yet.
The next blog will have some comments about how our 2011 CSA season started and hopefully how happy my members are to receive their farm fresh produce from your neighborhood farmer, Windmill Farm.

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