February CSA Update

I haven’t been posting the CSA newsletters on our blog…until now. This was the February “pre-season” newsletter that went out to our registered CSA customers. Stay tuned for the next one, out in mid-March.

Greetings! This is the first of our monthly pre-season newsletters that will come out around the 15th of the month from now til the season starts. For those who are new to the program, welcome! For those who are returning, it’s fantastic to have you back! Some of you have purchased veggie shares, some have egg shares, some have purchased shares in our new Flower CSA and some all three. I’ll try to make sure to report on all aspects of our farm in the future newsletters to keep things well rounded and not skewed towards the veggie side of things.

Farm Update

It’s been 3.5 months since the last CSA delivery of 2014. 3.5 months since we last harvested vegetables from our beautiful little farm field and 3.5 months since our little boy was born. I have no idea how time has gone by so fast. But nonetheless, we are here at February 15th. This is an important day in the cycle of the farm as it marks the day where we start seeding our veggie crops for the season. Some crops have very long growth period, so it is essential to get them started early, indoors so that we are able to harvest them before the frost hits in the early fall. We start off veggie seeding with onions and leeks, which have some of the longest growth periods then seed our early greenhouse crops and then move onto the heat loving crops like tomatoes, peppers and eggplants. We hope that has you excited on these cold cold winter days…we’re certainly excited to get started and will do that just as soon as our soil starting mix thaws out indoors for a few hours.

It’s been a great winter for us so far. We’ve had some time to relax and enjoy little baby Wyatt. Patrick has been working at Blue Mountain 3 or 4 days a week since December and continues to have daily pig and chicken chores, which he manages to fit into the mornings before he has to go to work. The animals are all doing well this winter and we hope to have the first of 3 litters of spring piglets in March. Our chicken flock seems to be happy enough too, although I am sure they’re missing the green grass just like the rest of us. In the last couple of months we’ve been working on updating our crop plans, seeding charts and calendar for the new season. Although these are tasks I enjoy, they are certainly not as fun as actually being in the field and therefore tend to drag on for a couple of months before we have our plans tweaked exactly how they will be for the season. We’ll let you know about which crops we are introducing (and reintroducing) this season in future versions of the pre-season newsletter.

Last year was the first year that I had to take a step back from farm labour as I worked on the important task of growing a baby. If you recall we had Patrick’s sister Laura working with us for the summer. We’ve realized just how necessary it is to have more help on the farm and now can’t imagine just going back to Patrick and myself as the only full-time workers, especially on harvest/CSA packing days. For the first time we have decided to take on two apprentices for the season who will work/live with us and learn about what we do in exchange for providing labour on the farm and help at markets. We will also be hiring a paid worker to help on harvest days. At this point we have one apprentice hired, Kayla from Toronto.

 CSA Update

We’ve had a great response to our early season CSA sign ups and are happy that the veggie CSA is half full, egg shares are almost sold out and we’ve had a good response to the flower CSA. As you know, we really appreciate these early season signups as they are a tremendous help financially as we incur about 75% of our total season expenses in January – March, well before we start selling anything at farmers markets. As the price of our inputs seem to increase annually (seed especially this year!) the CSA has become essential to making our type of farm financially viable. If you don’t know this already, we really heart you guys for what you allow us to do…and will do our best to give you the best that our farm can offer, be it delicious healthy produce or beautiful organic flowers.

As always we appreciate your referrals to friends and family. We’re always happy to announce that we’ve sold out for the season…even better if we do it in March this year!

Until next time, you can always get in touch with us via email (sideroadnaturalfarm@gmail.com) or phone (705.446.5503).

For those of you who use Facebook, please like our farm page for regular updates on the season progress and other farm things: http://www.facebook.com/sideroadnaturalfarm