This is the first of the monthly pre-CSA season newsletters that I like to send around the 15th of the month. As shareholders in our farm, we try to keep you up to date on our happenings during the season – including the whole part before your deliveries start! We timed this first newsletter to coincide with the official start of our season, which we like to think is when the first seed is sown. We start our onions and leeks around the 15th of February. Each week after that we will start more and more crops in the greenhouse until around mid April when we start planting directly into the soil. If you want to get really technical about it, the 2016 CSA season really started back in October 2015 when we sowed the garlic seed for this season, but lets not get technical. Moving on.
First things first. Thank you to all of you for signing up for a CSA share this season! Many of you are returning but we do have quite a few new folks who jumped on the earlybird sign up wagon. A quick check of the CSA stats this afternoon shows that we are about half full for the veggie, eggs and flower shares for the season. I think this may just be our most popular CSA season yet! We are beyond grateful for your sign ups this year (as always) but particularly this year as we have taken on some serious infrastructure work. In fact your CSA dollars at work this spring are helping to pay for:
- Inputs (seed, organic fertilizer, compost, potting soil and more)
- Cold storage including an insulated container and cooling system
- Several new implements for our tractor which will help us to save labour and be much more efficient with our time doing fieldwork
- A new veggie washing and packing station
- A new irrigation system
It goes without saying that we couldn’t do this all without you.
Over the coming months the CSA newsletter will feature news and stories about us and our business to help you to get to know us as your farmers. I’ll try to not be too redundant in my writing, which is always a challenge as we enter year eight of running a CSA. If you find that you are not fully caught up to date on our story, please check out our blog and website as well as the CSA newsletter archives (also on our website). I can’t say that I am a regular blogger though so don’t expect much in that department.
A few other resources to point out:
We have a Facebook Group dedicated to our CSA members (search for Sideroad Farm CSA and I will approve your request to join).
We use social media to help people keep up to date. You can find us on Instagram (@sideroadfarm) and Facebook (Sideroad Natural Farm).
We have quite a few CSA resources on our website including a CSA FAQ page and a recipe archive that will launch in the coming weeks.
We are very excited about the coming season. It will be our first growing on our new farm in Walters Falls. We bought our farm last spring but did not move our veggie operation from Patrick’s family property in Heathcote until after the season wrapped up. We’ve been hard at work over the winter moving and rebuilding hoophouses as well as planning and setting up the infrastructure we need to have a successful growing season. To say that this property is a dream compared to where we were farming in Heathcote is an understatement. We are of course grateful to Patrick’s family for allowing us to farm on their land for several years but the property proved to be quite challenging for us. We are now situated just 10 minutes west on the same Sideroad (the 25th) near the little hamlet of Walters Falls. What a difference 10 minutes makes…abundant clear water, loose loamy soils, good drainage, and a south facing gently sloping field that is relatively stone free (okay we’ll need to do some rock picking). In addition to the natural resources we have a couple of beautiful old barns that have been housing our livestock comfortably over the winter. We want to invite you all out to enjoy the farm with us this season whether it is for a tour, a work party or for our harvest party (which we promise to not hold during a freak October snowstorm again).
I will leave it at that for this newsletter with the promise to get more meaty in later editions. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us for any reason that you may need. My number is 705.446.5503. Patrick is 705.441.1877 (call or text either). I always get your emails although in the height of the season I may not respond for a few days (firstname.lastname@example.org). We look forward to seeing you and chatting with you all over the coming months.
Cheers from Patrick, Amy and Wyatt.
Your Sideroad Farmers.