CSA Newsletter: Week 22 (October 15th, 2012)

Hello CSA members!

This week we hope to bring you one pie pumpkin, potatoes, winter radishes, onions, sunchokes OR Red Russian kale, carrots, and lettuce OR spinach. Large share members will receive lettuce AND spinach, as well as a butternut squash. The fruit share will be getting apples and possibly pears.

In this week’s newsletter:


Winter Keeper Boxes and Mini Fall CSA

Posted by Maddie

A lot of people have had questions about our Winter Keeper Boxes and the Mini Fall CSA. I have a little more information now than I did last week and I thought I would share it with you.

Winter keeper boxes will be available at all CSA pick-ups this week. (Check out Mo’s post below for a list of contents and storage instructions.) The cost of the keeper box is $70, which includes sales tax. If you are a biweekly member and are not regularly scheduled to pick up this week, you can still reserve a keeper box to pick up at your regular CSA pick-up time and location. Send me an email at csa@redwagonorganicfarm.com and I will be happy to reserve a box for you. You can pay when you pick up your keeper box with cash or a check.

We will also have winter keeper boxes available at our two farm stand locations: 95th & Arapahoe in Lafayette, and 7694 N 63rd Street in Longmont. Keeper boxes will be available at both farm stands until October 31st.

Pick-ups for the mini fall CSA will begin next week and will continue for two weeks. The cost of the mini fall CSA share will be about $24.50, which is the same as the regular season share. We will have a biweekly option available for the mini fall CSA. You will be able to sign up online for the mini fall CSA starting tomorrow. Look for an email from Amy tomorrow with sign-up instructions.

Thank you all for being a part of the Red Wagon community! I have really enjoyed seeing each of you at pick-up every week and I’m sad to see it come to an end. Thanks also to those who made it out for our harvest celebration yesterday. I couldn’t think of a better way to end the season.

– Maddie

Winter Keeper Boxes: Storage Instructions

Posted by Mo

Here’s what is in your winter keeper box this year:

  • Squash & pie pumpkins (25 lbs)
  • Yukon Gold potatoes (5 lbs)
  • Beets (2 lbs)
  • Sunchokes (2 lbs)
  • Winter radishes (1 lbs)
  • Purple top turnips (5 turnips)
  • Apples (5 lbs)


Wow.

I wanted to talk a little about how to properly store the food you will get. All the root crops are already packed in plastic bags for you. That is how you want to store all of the root crops except the potatoes. If you are going to use the potatoes in the next week or two you can keep them in the plastic bag they came in and put them in the fridge, or on the counter if you put them in a paper or cloth bag. If you want to keep them 2 or more weeks you should put them in a paper or cloth bag and put them in the garage or a cool room in your house. If they start to dry up and shrivel, use them as soon as possible.

We have talked about keeping squash before. Keep them in a cool room or in the garage on a shelf. Don’t put them on the floor of the garage. They need to have air circulating around them. The area touching the garage floor will began to rot.

The apples you get will keep a long long time in plastic in the fridge.

You will notice that the root vegetables in the Keeper Box aren’t washed as well as you are used to getting. They store better minimally washed or not washed at all. You will have to do a little scrubbing before eating your sunchokes and potatoes, but keep in mind that they store better and longer that way.

If you have any questions shoot me an email at im@momckenna.com.

Thanks for a great CSA season. We say it all the time, but it can’t be said enough. We couldn’t do what we do without our CSA members.

I am so grateful for being a small part of this community.

Humbly,
Mo

Ending the Season with Gratitude

Posted by Amy

I wanted to express my gratitude to all of our CSA members. Farming is never easy, but some seasons are easier than others. This was one of those “other” seasons. In 2011 most of our crops did really well and we had a lot of food all season. I guess this year was the flip side of last year’s abundance. But as always, our CSA is what helped us get through the year.

We started the season with an exceptionally warm, dry spring. The snow pack in the mountains melted off quickly and we didn’t get our usual heavy snowfalls in the mountains in March and April. This means that all of our irrigation water went rushing by in the creeks in the spring and didn’t leave much water for later in the season. By the end of April we didn’t know if we would have enough water to make it through the season. Wyatt quickly (and painfully) rearranged our crop plan and cut some crops from his list. He was able to lease some water for our late summer and fall crops. And we got lucky and had some rain in the mountains over the summer. We feel very thankful that we didn’t have to watch our crops shrivel up and die in the fields due to lack of water!

This was also a difficult year with regards to pests and diseases. Our tomato, pumpkin, and winter squash crops were at least 80% failures. Our tomato plants were heavily damaged by tomato wilt virus, which is caused by tiny insects that float on air currents. Almost all of our tomatoes went to our CSA members and even then, we had to give “seconds” tomatoes a lot of the time.

We also had problems with squash beetles. We planted winter squash and pumpkin plants in June, but as soon as the plants got a few inches tall, the squash beetles attacked the plants and killed them. We replanted the squash and pumpkins 3 times, but the end result was a very small crop.

On a personal note, I have been dealing with a chronic illness, which has limited my ability to work. I’ve really missed seeing all of you at the CSA pickups and at the farmers’ market! I’m hopeful that some more rest this winter will help to restore my health.

We are very thankful that we had a great crew to get us through a hard season. They worked through a lot of scorching hot weeks over the summer and kept planting, irrigating, and harvesting to make sure we had enough food.

And as always, we are so thankful for our CSA members. I got to see some of you yesterday at our CSA Harvest Celebration. There were 4 families at the party who have been members since we started our CSA back in 2007. I feel so honored to have the many members who have been with us year after year. Our CSA members are really the foundation of our farm. I could go on and on about the ways our CSA supports Red Wagon. From a business perspective, our CSA is our most stable and reliable source of income. We know at the beginning of the year how much CSA income we have and how much food to grow. We also don’t have to worry about rainy weather with the CSA, like we do with the farmers’ market. There is nothing like having the crew spend hours harvesting vegetables, only to have the vegetables sit on our table at the farmers’ market in a downpour without a customer in sight. And it has been so nice to get to know many of you over the years and share our successes and failures with you. I really need to spend some time writing more about the ways our CSA members support our farm because I am certain that you don’t know many of the ways you help us. But I’ve already gone on too long here. So for now I will just say, with sincerest gratitude, thank you. We really could not do it without you.

Amy

Harvest Celebration Photos

Posted by Mo

Photographs by Mo McKenna and Anna Mayer

It was great to see so many people at the farm yesterday for the Harvest Celebration. It was fun to see so many of you use the fruit and vegetables you got from your CSA shares in the dishes you brought.

Clay and Jake work at Red Wagon and played some music for us yesterday, along with some friends. Thanks guys! It was really fun.

Hay rides with Sally, Wyatt and Amy were really popular.

In general I think everyone had a really good time.

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