Hello sharers! Now that it’s January, I’m deep in the planning zone. At the top of my list is shopping for a couple of pieces of much needed equipment for the farm, but just as pressing is the reconfiguration of our crop plans, in which we are now accounting for the smaller Farmer’s Choice shares as well as the larger traditional shares.

I’m starting to put together my seed order, and because choosing the flowers and herbs are the simplest and the most fun for me, I’m starting there. I have lots of new ideas in mind for both the flower garden and the herb garden based on sharer feedback and my own observations about picking pressure and demand for certain crops.

It takes time to get to know a new farm, and it’s nice to have a season on this land under my belt. I’m making other decisions based on what I’ve learned from the land, and from you all, in the past year. For example, after two years of drought and subsequent significant crop loss, it no longer makes sense for us to farm the park land field down the road, so we are letting it go. There are other factors that led us to this decision: one, we lacking some key pieces of equipment that would make growing there less of a struggle, and another, we have incredible deer and woodchuck pressure there, likely made worse by the drought. It’s better to focus on the main site, caring for our crops and our little piece of land there to optimize productivity and maintain the health of both the crops and the soil.

Therefore, Sparrow Arc, where we purchased all of our potatoes last season, will be growing all of our potatoes and winter squash in 2017. These crops are challenging to grow on our tiny land base and are also very prone to insect and other pest damage, so rotating where you grow them is key to success. Doing so was challenging even with the additional land over at the park.

It’s common practice for very small CSA farms in the area partner with farmers they trust to buy these crops in. In terms of harvest time alone, especially when it comes to potatoes, it’s more economical for us to buy them in rather than to grow them, since we need a significant amount but don’t have the equipment to make harvesting as efficient as it can be. I’m excited for this change, and for the additional time and attention we’ll have to give to the main farm site, including working with sharers and volunteers there.

When I’m not working, I’m enjoying cooking with winter vegetables and getting in as much reading and walking in the woods as I can. Reading during the farm season is nearly impossible for me–I nod off after just a page or two! How are you spending these cold winter months?

Be well,