November 1, 2016
What is in the VEGGIE BOX?
Arugula, Radishes, Chard, Beets, Rosy Turnips Cilantro, Tatsai and Garlic
What is in the FRUIT BOX? Persimmons, Almonds, Dried Apricots and Pomegranates-
The apples are finished for the early this season, and we are waiting for the mandarin oranges to start. This week’s fruit bag has high value almonds and dried fruit in them but it doesn’t fill the bags
WINTER Quarter payment is due November 15
The new quarter begins November 22 and ends February 21
No deliveries December 24, 27, 31 and January 3
You will find the form in your box please mail this back with your payment
Holiday Specialty Orders
Orders due by November 30
Orders will be delivered as part of your delivery on Tuesday December 6 and Saturday December 10. Check over the list of products from our farm and our neighboring farms that you might want to give as gifts this season, or stock up for your cupboards for the coming year. Send in your orders with a payment and we will put together your wish list for you and bring it to the CSA delivery site before the holidays.
This Week on the Farm
Starry sky this morning after a drippy, quiet, blessedly moist day yesterday. We all went to bed with the feeling that the world was normal again. Whether or not it is true, just the feeling that for a little time, everything is ok is a great feeling. We are approaching the end of the CSA quarter, and that is a good time for looking backward at the deliveries and life of the late summer and fall, and forward into the mid winter deliveries and farm life. And, it is time to bring up our heads from the Yolo County soil and say thank you again for what you all, the supporters of Good Humus Farm bring into our lives.
In one sense, an easy one to measure, the CSA families, about 160 of you, generate 40% of the income of our farm. Our sales to local and regional stores, restaurants, and produce distributors account for another 40% and the farmer’s markets and events that we do supply the last 20%. As I sit here and imagine the fields that will soon come to the light of a warmish partly cloudy day, in my mind’s eye I see each of 4 fields, all planted, cultivated, growing strongly and without serious pest or disease problems visible, growing into the winter harvest. About 40% of each of those fields, each in their turn, are going to supply your tables. Those 4 fields comprise about 5 acres, only about a quarter of the 20 acre piece of earth that is our home. Those 5 acres are a significant portion of the 7 acres or so that we use to produce most of the vegetables and annual products of our farm. About another 7 acres produce our perennial crops, the peaches, apricots and perhaps 40 other species that are here for the long term. The final 6 acres support all that. They are the hedgerow habitat, the roadsides, the farm lanes, the windbreaks, and the house, greenhouse, round house, barn, gardens and equipment boneyard that add to the unique diversity of habitat at Good Humus. In terms of human support, the members of the CSA are a pretty large inner circle of those who actively partake of the rich bounty on a regular basis. 160 members translates into maybe 3-400 people, which has to be way over half of the active community support of our farm. I only say over half because I am so aware of the hundreds of people that are so supportive of us in so many ways politically, socially, spiritually and financially that don’t involve eating our produce on a regular basis. Finally, many of you are able to visit the farm once or twice a year, at least, and this visible show of support, this visible enjoyment of what has become Good Humus Farm, respect and appreciation of the gifts of the earth, connects deeply with those of us that have cared for this place. It is just a pleasure to see people enjoying themselves in a beautiful place.
The farm did its work really well this summer. Every season is a mixed bag, a few losses, a few gains, but this summer most all plantings reached maturity and gave a good account of themselves. We are noticing that our care of the essential fruit trees, the apricots and peaches, is slipping. While we are trying to reduce the amount of any given type to something that is manageable in the context of all the year round production and harvesting we have to do, the harvests of these fruits are such a big impact on the workday that it is hard to keep up with both that harvest and all the summer vegetables. I used to stagger plant in order to not pick vegetables during the fruit harvest, but with the farm becoming more responsible to the CSA and the Farmer’s Market, and our year-round employees it seems we just try to power right on through. Whew! I’m getting too old for that! But in retrospect, as in childbirth the pain fades away and the joy of producing is the dominant memory. So…let’s do it again! But I do have to learn to step back from participation in the picking of the fruit and vegetables, which are some of the most satisfying parts of farming. Next summer, I hope to have the perseverance to stay out of the picking schedule and stay on target in keeping the new crops coming on and taking care of the seasonal chores that can get missed in the hurly-burly of the quickly passing days. This year, I actually admitted to myself that the farm was better off without me in the daily pick…and I am pretty sure I was right. Hard to admit, and hard to watch, but that is how change happens….by finally accepting and allowing what is in front of your face. We’ll see how I do…I am not the world’s best accepter of reality. But back to the subject…great summer. A Success which you may have noticed was a really nice supply of heirloom tomatoes. This is a harder thing to do than you would think because finding an heirloom, or a mix of heirlooms that produce well, are reliable, and taste good is tough. We have been testing for several years and now have a pretty good idea what works for us for now. We are collecting and cleaning our own seed to guard against the vagaries of the seed business in which good varieties get dropped for no discernible reason, and the ones that remain tend to “drift” and change characteristics through the years. Tomatoes are so good at self pollinating and breeding true to form that collecting your own seed is pretty easy. We are also proud of the success we have had with peppers. Through the same process, over the years, we are closing in on good varieties and are getting better at growing them. They take such rich soil and are so susceptible to heat stress, that they are hard to grow here in Yolo County without the excess nitrogen commonly applied. But this year we had more peppers than ever before reach a nice red and yellow color as I am sure you noticed in your boxes. And our grilling peppers, long red Jimmy Nardello and the little shishito, were a hit. And we picked chard all summer!! That is a sign of something good happening, I don’t know what.
Finally, the excitement for next quarter is coming up. We have more winter produce than ever. Even more exciting, as I look out the citrus is coming along beautifully, and our small new mandarin trees and the young Washington Navels have their first fruit. We have for the first time ever, more than 5 pommelos on our three trees, perhaps even enough that you might get a taste of these giant grapefruit that are one of the two ancestors of all citrus. Lots more, but gotta run. Lots to do. Until next week, Jeff