April CSA Update

Hello CSAers!

Happy Spring! Within a week it seems like we have gone from the depths of winter to beautiful, glorious and warm spring weather. How amazing does it feel to walk outside without a heavy winter coat and boots? We are relishing in the season and also now feeling the itch to get going in the farm field.

First off, welcome to all of the new folks who have joined us in the last month. If you would like to read the past issues of the CSA newsletter, I have posted them on our blog at www.sideroadnaturalfarm.com. I just checked out our CSA stats on the Farmigo system and it looks like we are getting close to full. Full egg shares are now sold out, and we have five veggie shares available. There are 10 flower shares left. I (Amy) will not be coming to the markets as much this year, particularly in Toronto, so purchasing your flower share ahead of time ensures that you always get a fresh bouquet designed by me, and not by Patrick 🙂

We have a new CSA pick up spot in Toronto – it is located on St. Mark’s Road in West Toronto. This will help ease the load at the Baby Point pick up spot, which as become very popular. If you want to switch between the two spots, depending on which is more convenient for you, you may do so by logging in to your account on the Farmigo system (https://www.farmigo.com/account/sideroadnaturalfarm/summer2015).

On the topic of eggs, I know it’s frustrating that we only have such a limited amount during the CSA season and often can not offer them as an add on to your weekly veggie shares. We’d love to have more chickens, but currently produce the maximum amount of eggs possible as a small flock producer. In Ontario, without owning quota we are allowed to have 100 laying hens, 300 meat chickens and 50 turkeys annually. We have such a high demand for our chicken eggs that we’ve decided to dabble in duck eggs this year and have a small flock of day old Indian Runner ducks coming at the end of the month. Unfortunately this means that they won’t be laying until the fall, so the duck eggs will be available in earnest next year.

Phew…well that gets the boring logistics part of this newsletter out of the way. On to more fun topics! I mentioned above that we’re itching to get planting. It’s been a late Spring again meaning that it stayed cold and the snow stuck around longer than other years. Although the snow has melted now, we’re still waiting for our field to dry up enough to be able to work the soil. We have clay soil at the farm in Heathcote, which takes a little longer to dry up than a silty or sandy soil. It is very very important to not start working it while it’s too wet or you end up with soil that hardens into clay bricks (i.e. not ideal for planting or weeding). We’ve learned (the hard way) that being patient pays off in the long run.

In the meantime, we’ve put a planting of greens, radishes and other spring crops into the hoophouse and Patrick has been constructing two more, smaller yet movable hoophouses, which we will be planting in by the weekend. If the weather stays as it is, we hope to be planting in the ground before the end of the month.

On a more personal note, we’ve been working towards making our move up to the new farm slowly but surely. The livestock has been moved up to the new place, with the exception of Ben (our boar) and Ruby (Ben’s current love interest). Our Clarksburg house is now for sale and we’ve been fixing up the new house in preparation to make our life move sometime in the next two weeks. This whole moving and selling our house while starting the farm season, bouncing between three properties and figuring out how to manage our life with a new baby has put an interesting spin on the season…but we’re managing, as people always seem to do. We’re certainly looking forward to the day we get to sit back on our new porch and sip a cool beer after a day on the farm.

A friend of ours took this photo of the farm property about a week ago. It shows the house and two barns as well as several of the fields. The farm property is long and skinny (two fields across and 6 fields deep). We’ll be doing our August CSA picnic again and hope to have many of you out to tour the new place.

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Okay that’s long enough for this morning. Until next month…

Cheers everyone!

Amy and Patrick