Pick your own CSA share pick-up

Shareholders DIY pick-up

CSA shareholders coming to the farm this year are encouraged to harvest as much of their share as they feel like! Here, it’s sorting through mesclun and spinach on the screen table, removing bad leaves and the odd weed, before packing in their own bags. This approach is great fun all around, with me explaining what to do and helping out when needed. There are only a couple of on-farm pickups (most are at the farmers’ market), so this approach might be a little more personalized than if the number of shareholders was bigger. Regardless, this DIY approach is a tiny farm first that seems to work!

Rainy day market

Rainy day at the farmers\' market

Rain, rain, go away… Not something you’d actually hear me say, or even think, lightly. This morning’s market didn’t quite qualify, although it rained heavily and steadily for the first three hours. Rain at the market has never been too bad for our stand, people always come out. Today, the stand set-up was still in fully compact mode, across two sawhorses instead of four, but there was a fair bit of veg, including the first 60lbs (27kg) of snap peas (Sugar Ann), around 40 broccoli, and a (relatively!) vast supply of all-lettuce mesclun, spinach (Spargo), garlic scapes (Music) and beet greens from assorted varieties. Enough to just make the minimum return from market needed at this time of year to keep this tiny farm ticking. By the end of the morning, all of the CSA pick-ups had picked up, and most of the veggies were sold out. Which is…good!

Broccoli from the weeds

Harvesting broccoli from the weeds

Michelle harvests the first broccoli from knee-deep in weeds. After taking off the row cover, it made more sense to wait a few days till harvest and then turn the whole bed under, than to spend precious fieldwork time weeding the paths—a race for the broccoli to beat the weeds before they went to seed…

Green on green

Parsley, sage, oregano

Tiny farming has given me an extra appreciation for the color GREEN, in different shades, shapes, textures, combinations. Green on green. My favorite greenscape so far is probably row upon row of different varieties of bush beans, each with their own shade, deep and dark, to delicately lime-hued. Today’s small harvest of sage, oregano and flat-leaf parsley, stashed in a bucket of water and headed for small bundles in the CSA shares, had a great green look. The photo, especially at this size, doesn’t really capture the simple, entrancing effect, but I guess it’s the next best thing!

Instant farmer!

Unstacking tomato cages

Libby’s first day on the farm: a full day in the field, plus a Big Salad lunch! There’ve been a few first-timer days this year, and a bit of a casual presentation routine has developed. Starts with a tour: “How much detail do you want?” The difference between growing more or less by hand, as we do here, and different degrees of tractor-based farming is probably the main point I try to get across. And then, it’s on to the fabulous WORK, a taste of the many tiny farming fieldwork pleasures. Today, Libby pulled weeds from carrot beds, on her own for a while, and then I joined in. Weeding carrots and tomatoes, hand-pulling and with the wheel hoe, setting up some home garden-type tomato cages, transplanting lettuce…the time flew by. Chatting is usually a big part of working in the field (with no noisy machines to get in the way): farming stuff, trading bits of personal history, and inevitably, it seems, some Bigger Topics. Today, the concept of MINDFULNESS came up and really stuck with me… And so, another fine day on the tiny farm. Libby seemed PRETTY HAPPY with it all. Cool. We’ll see her next week! :)

Watering in lettuce transplants

Eggs everywhere!

A dozen eggs

Barely a week after the arrival of the laying hens, egg production is in full swing, with about 20-21 eggs a day from 25 birds. From the start, all of the hens took to laying in one particular nest, I only occasionally find the stray egg elsewhere. They’re averaging about medium size, getting closer to large by the day (that’s the extent of my egg size terminology so far). Donated stacks of egg cartons are coming in from all directions. We’re surrounded by tasty little brown eggs…!