This time of year on the farm is characterized by slow movements, muted color palettes, and quiet growth. That is except for the three high tunnels we have chock full of vibrant green vegetables that provide a chlorophyl boost for anyone who steps inside!
Our Winter CSA program keeps us just the right amount of busy during this season when many small-scale farms are dormant. We've got rows of head lettuce, ranging from deep green romaines to tender red-green butterheads to lime green frilly types. We have 2-pound each bok choy that is just looking so pretty and the most delicate herbs you've ever seen.
These plants, while kept safe from the worst of the elements tucked into the high tunnels, are still somewhat at the mercy of the season. This morning for example, we popped our heads in to find that all the plants were looking a little droopy! Sometimes when it's very cold overnight the plants will freeze just a touch. Luckily they are resilient and always recover as the day warms up, that's just the winter growing cycle!
This means we have to shift our daily schedule a little bit during CSA weeks since we can't harvest frozen veggies! We need to build in some time to let them defrost before harvesting begins.
Truly the beauty and strength of these plants are astounding.
I spend a lot of time during the winter at my desk, the view outside my window a study in soft browns, whites, and the occasional blue sky. It's a calm view free of the boisterous distractions that come with peak season fields full of ever-growing crops. This time of rest for the soil means we farmers do a lot of planning and prepping and researching of grants and other exciting opportunities.
Winter is also conference time for farmers! This weekend Farmer Mike and Farmer Sophia are attending the annual sustainable agriculture conference hosted by Future Harvest. Drawing 500-700 people from around the Chesapeake region, attendees are farmers, growers, educators, and advocates from all corners of the agriculture world. This 2-day conference is a wonderful way to connect with our ag community and is deliberately held during the winter when most farmers are taking a break and have time to leave the farm! With sessions ranging in topics from "Tree Crops: A Case Study for a Young, Diversified Orchard" to "My Bets CSA Marketing Strategy" to "Farmers as Endurance Athletes" - there is lots to learn!
Keep an eye out for an update on what we learned! We're always looking to improve our skills and our business.
In the meantime, members get excited for Week 4 and more fresh veggies coming your way!