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Monday, October 26, 2015

Week 20

The Share:
Kale
Greens
Bok Choi
Cabbage
Leeks
Onions
Shallots
Garlic
Potatoes
Winter squash
Turnips
Beets
Carrots
PYO Parsley

Field Updates:
With just a few weeks before the end of the CSA, Thanksgiving shares are selling like hot cakes.  Usually we don’t sell out of Thanksgiving shares until the last week of the CSA but this year we are running out a little faster than normal.  To make up for the increased interest this season we have decided to slightly increase the number of Thanksgiving shares available for sale.  Even with the extra shares available it is a good idea to get your order forms in as soon as you can.  Pies and cranberries are no longer available to preorder but they will be available in the Dairy Store to purchase.

We put in our very last planting of the 2015 season this past week: garlic for the 2016 season.  Garlic is the only crop we save “seeds” from each season although what we are actually saving each year is cloves rather than seeds produced through sexual reproduction.  This means that each clove we plant produces a head of garlic which is a clone of it’s forbearer.  When selecting garlic for replanting rather than consumption we look for large heads with large undamaged cloves.  First we grade our garlic into small, medium, large and extra large seed stock.  Medium heads are put into the share immediately for consumption by our shareholders.  Large and small heads are held in reserves.  If we have not saved enough extra large seed this allows us to tap into the supply of large heads for additional seed.  Very small heads of garlic are planted whole without being split into individual cloves.  In the spring, instead of letting these undersized and tightly planted garlics develop into individual heads, we will harvest the garlic shoots when they are green and tender.  Green garlic is an extra early crop that can be used like scallions.  Any garlic that isn’t used for next years seed or green garlic is distributed in the share room or sold in the Dairy store after the CSA season has ended

The process of preparing garlic cloves for planting involves separating each clove from the head.  We call this “popping” the garlic.  Popping the garlic can be a fairly time consuming process.  You may have noticed the farmers sitting in a circle and popping garlic in the back of the barn sometime during the last three weeks.  You may have also noticed a large amount of garlic related debris blowing through the share room like the after math of a tickertape parade. 

We grow two varieties of garlic:  German Extra Hardy and Music.  German Extra Hardy is a variety of white skinned garlic with extra large cloves.  Heads tend to have 2-4 cloves each.  Music is a red skinned, slightly more compact variety with 6-8 smaller cloves.  The flavor of Music tends to be a little more pungent than the German variety while the large cloves of the German tend to be a little easier to work with while cooking.  We plant an equal number of beds of each variety but since German Extra Hardy produces fewer cloves per head this means we end up saving nearly twice as many of these heads.  This is why our shareholders will likely see more Music in the share room. 

Total we plant 8 beds of garlic.  Beds are roughly 350ft long and we plant 4 rows or garlic per bed.  Each clove is planted exactly 1/2ft apart.  In a perfect world where every clove planted produces a sizable and healthy head of garlic, we will have grown 22,400 heads with exactly half of those heads containing 6-8 cloves (Music) and half containing 2-4 cloves (German).  This means to replant 11,200 cloves of Music we will need to save 1600 heads on average and 3,750 heads of German Extra Hardy.  Subtract the combined total number of garlic heads to be saved for seed from the total number grown for next season and you get 17050 heads left for distribution to the shareholders.  At 2 heads per shareholder per week we should have just enough garlic to include in our share for 13 weeks.  Of course all of the garlic we plant doesn’t grow into perfect heads.  This year we began distributing garlic during week 12 of the CSA and I’m hopeful we will have garlic straight through the end of the share. 


     

Monday, October 19, 2015

Week 19

The Share:

  • Kale
  • Greens
  • Cabbage
  • Kohlrabi
  • Turnip
  • Beets
  • Onions
  • Leeks
  • Garlic
  • Winter Squash
  • Potatoes 
  • PYO Parsley


With this morning's freeze we are running a little behind today (even cold hardy crops are damaged if harvested while frozen so we've had to wait to harvest until late morning), so please forgive the brevity of this post.  I'll try to update with greater detail later this week!
-Ryan

Friday, October 16, 2015

Harvest Potluck Sunday at 4PM

 
The farm crew is looking forward to seeing you all
at our annual Shareholder Harvest Potluck.
Sunday, 4 PM at the Carriage Barn
Cider press, lawn games, live music, and of course, fresh and delicious food.
Make something to share and don't forget your sweater
See you there!
 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Week 18

YES WE ARE OPEN ON COLUMBUS DAY MONDAY OCTOBER 12TH

The share
Getting started with the sun
Greens
Chard
Kale
Choi
Cabbage
Beets
Turnips
Radishes
Onions
Leeks
Garlic
Potatoes
Winter Squash
PYO Parsley (Please note that pick your own will only be open during share room hours and will not be open on Saturdays for the remainder of the season)

Week 18
We have really been enjoying the beautiful fall weather this week and it seems that our cover crops have as well.  It is amazing how quickly a field can go from bare soil to a thick carpet of green given the right conditions, doubly so when that carpet of green is actually something that we planted on purpose. 

Before getting into the new business of the week I am compelled to rehash (or possibly re-rehash) a little old business.  First I want to encourage anyone interested in getting a Thanksgiving share to get your orders in as soon as possible.  This is especially important if you are interested in purchasing cranberries or pies at the discounted rate offered through the Thanksgiving share.  I need to put cranberry and pie orders in by the end of this week so please get those orders in by Friday afternoon if you can.  Cranberries and pies will be available in the dairy store after the orders close but they will only be available at the retail price. 

The second bit of old business is the CSA Potluck Harvest Dinner coming up THIS SUNDAY AT 4PM!!!  This is the only CSA event of the season and we need you there to make it a great success.  Come for the lawn games, live entertainment and the great food.  Bring an apple pie made with grandma’s secret recipe or your Aunt Cheryl’s famous 7 layer casserole.  B.YO.B and lets see this season out in style!


As for the new business around here, we will be opening CSA share renewals later this week!  We will be emailing all of our current CSA members with a link to the new and improved CSA renewal page.  You will be able to renew online with your credit card in the comfort of your home or you will also have the option to renew securely on an Ipad locaated in the share room.  Share renewals will run through December 31st at which point we will begin making share offers to our waitlist.  It is important to note that if you choose the option to put a $325.00 deposit down on your share the remaining balance of $325.00 will automatically be billed to your credit card three months after your initial deposit.  If you have any questions or concerns about the CSA renewal process please contact Susan Ferreira at appletonfarmsCSA@thetrustees.org and she will be able to assist you.
-Ryan

Monday, October 5, 2015

Week 17

The Share:
  • Greens
  • Chard
  • Kale
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Potatoes
  • Winter squash
  • Turnips
  • Radishes
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Peppers
  • PYO Parsley

Harvest Feast

How do we celebrate a season filled with great harvests?  With a great harvest feast of course.  We are planning just such an event for Sunday October 18th.  The Appleton Farms CSA Harvest Potluck Dinner will include lawn games, cider pressing, and live music from our favorite bluegrass trio, Old Cold Tater.  This is a chance to gather as a community and toast the farm, the farmers and the food before we all go into hibernation for the cold months ahead.  While you might expect to pay several hundred dollars for a plate at an event such as this we are keeping the price the same as it has always been; just bring your favorite entrĂ©e, side dish or desert and enough to share with a crew of ravenous farmers.  Please feel free to BYOB.  We are hosting the potluck in the Carriage Barn and paddock again this year.  I hope to see many of you there and I cannot wait to try all of the dishes you bring with you. 

As the offerings in the PYO fields have dwindled with the season so too has the need for Saturday morning PYO hours.  Now that we are down to just parsley it doesn’t make sense to open on Saturdays anymore for the duration of the season.  If you need parsley please make sure to grab some when you come to pick up your share.


Thanksgiving share sales are well underway at this point.  We sold quite a few in the first couple weeks but we still have plenty available.  If you are interested in purchasing a Thanksgiving share make sure to get your signup form in as soon as you can.  I will continue posting about the Thanksgiving shares as long as they are still available but I do expect them to sell out.