Starting the Season in a COVID World

What a crazy start to the season it’s been! In early March when the pandemic started to heat up Wyatt and I didn’t even know if we’d have a farm this year. Would we be required to close down? It was time to do our first big spring planting, so we decided to put a lot of seeds in the ground and hope for the best!

On March 23rd, our governor declared that farms were essential businesses so we knew we had the choice to stay open. But what about the health risks? I did a lot of online research and decided that our workplace risk was relatively low since we are working outside and can reasonably maintain safe distances from each other. But restaurants had already been ordered to close and we sell a lot of produce to restaurants. Would we have enough income to operate with the loss of restaurant sales?

In a normal year we have about 400 CSA members. As of March 30th, we only had 320 members and we didn’t think this would be enough to keep us operating. So I put out the call to existing CSA members to help us spread the word. You sure came through! By April 23rd we had 600 members and Wyatt said he didn’t have enough crops planted to feed any more people, so we closed the CSA to new memberships and went to a waiting list. (We have 175 people on the waiting list! This says so many things about people and food these days!)

In the middle of all this, the temperature got down to 14 degrees on April 14th. Remember the night the buds on all of your trees died? So did a bunch of our sugar snap pea plants. All the things we plant in March (spinach, arugula, radishes, turnips, peas) can handle cold and snow. (Otherwise we wouldn’t plant them in March.) But 14 degrees is a bit much and a lot of our crops suffered some damage. And then it was cold and muddy for a handful of days so we couldn’t get out to plant anything else until it dried out a bit.

Me & Roxy on April 16th. No wonder the season is off to a slow start!

Your CSA shares are lighter this week than we usually try for. But I feel like we have accomplished a lot by having any food at all given the past two months. Wyatt, Javier, and the rest of the crew have been working so hard to plant and grow and harvest…and plant and grow and harvest…and…  There are so many seedlings in the ground here right now. We can’t wait to start harvesting them for you in a few weeks.

Thank you all so much for joining us for whatever unknowns this season brings. We’re grateful that we are able to look forward to feeding you in these uncertain times!

Amy

After I published this blog post I decided to go back and add this bit. I hate attention and prefer to remain incognito. But with so many new members I realized that I really do need to introduce myself (sigh). My husband, Wyatt, and I are the owners of Red Wagon Farm and we’ve been growing organic vegetables for our Boulder County community since 2004. Thanks for joining us!

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