Small Family Farm CSA

We Dig Vegetables

 

How do you imagine your farmers in the wintertime? Do you imagine us with our heads stuck inside seed catalogs mulling over varieties? Do you imagine us walking our frozen fields with a cup of coffee? Do you imagine us curled up in bed, sleeping in and feeling a little guilty about it? Do you imagine us fixing tractors and sweeping the greenhouse floor again and again? All of the above is true, but there’s a lot more to kicking off a new season than simply waiting for it to roll around.

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(C'mon Sunshine!)

We have finished the seed orders, the soil mix has been delivered, and repairs and maintenance around the farm are continual. But there are some really grueling, tedious jobs that happen in the winter months that you might have never dreamed that we do. We have every bed of the farm laid out on a spreadsheet with the row-feet of each bed and field mapped out. We plan, bed by bed, what will get planted where and when-months in advance. We need to make sure we have enough bed space and row feet to grow enough fennel, for example, for 300 CSA boxes two weeks in a row. We even have some really juicy greenhouse excel spreadsheets that lay out our seeded crops as far as when we will seed them, how many trays we will seed on what day, and what size blocks to seed into. Oh, and taxes, don’t forget those! We just got our taxes done and that is one of the most exciting parts of our job!

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(This is our soil mix that we use to start the seedlings in just a couple short weeks!)

February is the final month of our ‘off season’ with the first of our greenhouse seeding beginning the first week of March. We are now doing some marketing work such as distributing fliers, scheduling Lunch and Learns, updating the website and trying to learn more about social media and marketing work in general. We’re better farmers and family folks than we are at selling stuff-but it’s part of the game we’re playin’. We are even beginning to line up some of our labor and employee help for the 2018 growing season, hoping that many of the terrific helpers we had last season will want to join us for another trip around the sun while playing in the dirt.

We entered the winter with 5-6000 lbs of carrots and 3000 lbs of parsnips. We also had extra celeriac root, rutabaga and a few onions, garlic and miscellaneous items that we have been selling to a handful of local food coops and restaurants. The very impressive Viroqua Food Coop in our tiny little town of Viroqua is our biggest and most consistent buyer with substantial weekly orders. If you’re ever passing through Viroqua, you’ll have to check out our very awesome Coop that is in the middle of a huge construction project where they are doubling in size!

I did find some time to bring a bin of apples up from the root cellar, cut them into rings and dehydrate them with the girls. Since most of the summer months means all work and no play, we’re finding more time for the kids. Ayla, 6, is learning to knit and cross-stitch and fold origami paper into beautiful shapes. Aliza, 3, loves playing with her dolls, building little structures for them, and copying almost everything her older sister does. And our two month-old, Arlo, is a dream baby, sleeping for 4-5 hour stretches at night, smiling and cooing when he’s awake and providing entertainment for us all and justification for staying indoors and spending more time as a family.

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