What's Available This Week

This week you can choose from yellow potatoes, fingerling potatoes, green cabbage, carrots, baby carrots, beets, rutabaga, Gilfeather turnip, spinach, baby lettuce mix, baby arugula, pea shoots, scallions, and cilantro. (Scallions and cilantro are both half items.) We have sadly decided that the garlic that is left has become too hard to accurately grade for farmer quality or customer quality. We are happy to share our garlic with you, so if you want some, it's a bonus, not an item. It's like free garlic, just know that you may get bulbs that have bad cloves in them. (To be clear, we still use it with gusto, it's just not something we can stand behind selling anymore since people have gotten some bad cloves.)

 I need to get around to potting up all these teeny peppers into their larger cells... More time in the day, please! (Next to them are the tomatoes who are ready to transplant as soon as we are, photo by Adam Ford.

I need to get around to potting up all these teeny peppers into their larger cells... More time in the day, please! (Next to them are the tomatoes who are ready to transplant as soon as we are, photo by Adam Ford.

CSA Details

You can pick up your share at the farm on Fridays from 8 am to 7 pm. (Veggies will be displayed in the cooler to pick out, rather than having a pre-packed bag at the farm.) You can pick up your share from the Rutland Farmers' Market on Saturdays from 10 am to 2 pm. If you want your share delivered to Ludlow, use this form by 9 am on Friday to select the veggies you want for the week: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSewzn_VdO-qNORGtls6yuqaubDZ7mUtrc-UcSx1SSVvvKnWhQ/viewform?c=0&w=1. Then you can pick up your share from Four Season's Sotheby's International Realty between 2 pm and 5 pm. They are next to Java Baba's in the shopping plaza across from the main entrance to Okemo Mountain. 

 Not efficient harvest posture, but when you are pregnant you get to change it up into whatever position you want, photo by Adam Ford.

Not efficient harvest posture, but when you are pregnant you get to change it up into whatever position you want, photo by Adam Ford.

Payment Due

If you have only paid your deposit, half your remaining balance is due. If you need a differnt payment schedule, that is not a problem, just let me know!

Farm News

Well, it's definitely spring even though it feels like winter! We have been busily seeding and re-potting plants in the greenhouse, some of which are eager for the fields to start drying out so we can prep their bed space and get transplanting!

Most of our time and energy has been consumed by the big project of installing ground heat in one of our high tunnels to start being able to have earlier tomatoes. Ryan has been a super champion (but when is he not?) working almost literally non stop, trenching  water pipes, connecting the plumbing to the pellet boiler, and hooking up the electric for the whole system. He has certainly gotten great help from our employees, a skilled machine operating CSA member, and even some oversight from a professional plumber.

 Ryan at our super fancy plumber's station, photo by Adam Ford.

Ryan at our super fancy plumber's station, photo by Adam Ford.

 Whatever the heck all this magic is that Ryan put together to make heat go from the boiler into the soil, bravo for specializing... I am going to keep hiding in the seed starting greenhouse where I know what to do! photo by Adam Ford.

Whatever the heck all this magic is that Ryan put together to make heat go from the boiler into the soil, bravo for specializing... I am going to keep hiding in the seed starting greenhouse where I know what to do! photo by Adam Ford.

We had hoped this would be ready and hooked up a bit over a week ago, but it's finally ready, and as of Tuesday night, he fired up the pellet boiler and has started warming the soil! Ideally we would give the soil several days to warm up from the ground pipes, but our early tomatoes are so big, and have outgrown the covers in the propagation house, so we hope to transplant them today or tomorrow.

 These are rolls of pipe that went in the ground after we harvested out that tunnel and made all our trenches with the excavator, photo by Adam Ford.

These are rolls of pipe that went in the ground after we harvested out that tunnel and made all our trenches with the excavator, photo by Adam Ford.

 Excavator in action, digging and filling in trenches once pipes are laid! photo by Ryan Fitzbeauchamp

Excavator in action, digging and filling in trenches once pipes are laid! photo by Ryan Fitzbeauchamp

If you are curious how this new system works, the simplified explanation is that we use a pellet boiler to heat water to 120 degrees. This water is traveling through 1-inch pipes that are looped 18 inches down in the soil. We bury them so deep because we want to be able to continue using our broadfork in the tunnel to always manage compaction in the soil. (If a broadfork is a new word to you, imagine it as a 3 or 4 super beefy pitchforks welded together to make a giant pitch fork with longer tines that can loosen the soil deeper down.) There are two pipes per bed in the tunnel that loop up and back. The hot water heats the soil and provides enough warmth to support the tropical tomato plants in our ridiculous northern climate. On coldest nights, we can also have the boiler send warm air into the tunnel above ground that would be circulated with our ceiling fans to keep the tunnel space warm enough for the tomatoes to thrive. 

 Morgan broadforking the tomato beds after Ryan finished filling in all the trenches and amended the soil, photo by Adam Ford

Morgan broadforking the tomato beds after Ryan finished filling in all the trenches and amended the soil, photo by Adam Ford

We have always been disinterested in using supplemental heat in our tunnels because we feel unexcited about superfluous energy use when it comes to veggie production. The whole point of what we are doing is to create a safer, healthier future for the earth, so normally burning extra fuel isn't our cup of tea. But we came around to this project because we feel comfortable with the source and use of wood pellets Also, this ability to have some earlier tomatoes will likely improve our business's profitability which we are hoping to do to be able to pay our employees more. Growing vegetables has a pretty slim margin, so it is hard within the food production sector to pay employees good wage. I am participating in a monthly workshop with female farm employers around the state, and one topic in that came up last night was around the common desire to increase employee wages, and talking about our creative ways to make our businesses more profitable to get there. It's really exciting to be a part of a group of women who have all been running a farm business close to a decade or more to discuss our common hurdles and strategies for success. 

 Sky always, always wants to be ourside! WHen it's too cold and sleety out, one of his favorite things is to climb up to the window to see what is going on outside. Don't worry, there is a hard to see Nonna in pink keeping him safe up there! photo by Adam Ford

Sky always, always wants to be ourside! WHen it's too cold and sleety out, one of his favorite things is to climb up to the window to see what is going on outside. Don't worry, there is a hard to see Nonna in pink keeping him safe up there! photo by Adam Ford

And lastly, but perhaps most flashy and exciting, I took a break from writing this newsletter to pop out and assist one of my goat's births. She just birthed super cute triplets, and I was glad I was there: the little buckling couldn't break his sac before he took a big deep breath, just breathing in fluid. After popping his sac for him, I noticed he wasn't breathing. His heart was still pumping so I had time to assist. I got his airway clear, and some good coughs, and he eventually started taking his own breaths. It was definitely the longest I have had a little babe not take his first breath, and the last few minutes before it happened, it started looking a bit bleak. But all is well, and now they are all hopping around outside. Pictures of these cuties will follow next week!

Have a great week!

-Kara and the ESF team

Shredded Carrot Salad

 photo from mommypotamus.com

photo from mommypotamus.com

1 pound carrots, shredded 

1 beet, peeled and shredded

1 bunch scallions, chopped finely (use the green and the white parts)

4 TBSP olive oil

1 TBSP lemon juice

2 TBSP white wine vinegar

2 tsp maple syrup

3-4 crushed garlic cloves

salt and pepper

1 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp parsley

1/2 tsp basil

1/4 tsp red pepper

1/4 tsp paprika

Mix all the ingredients together for a bright, delicious, Italian dressing flavored carrot salad. Great as a side dish, on sandwiches, in wraps, or on a green salad!