Spring is Springing!

We are officially counting the days to the beginning of the 12th P&C Summer CSA and it seemed about time to do a little update. Read on for a synopsis of what’s happening on the farm. This spring has been kind to us here on farm. The weather has been cooperating and things are on track for a solid growing season. Somehow we’re well into irrigation season already but we’ve got our fingers crossed the rain continues to show up now and again as the season progresses.

As many of you past farm members know, we take the month of May off from harvesting to focus on planting. Of course there’s also the pre-planting work that goes into prepping ground for planting, growing up the transplants, and then keeping everything watered and weeded after we plant them. We really appreciate your support as we disappear for the month to get those first crops in the ground and find the rhythm of field work again. Not only does it make for happier farmers, but it also makes for a happier farm, as the pressure to work the ground too early doesn’t take over.

Here are some photos and thoughts from spring on the farm:

Farmers with a tractor and plants, rainbow over the farm, and Leo the German Shepherd.

First off, how about we introduce ourselves in our natural habitat. We are Jeff and Carri, and along with Leo the farm dog, we’re growing your vegetables this season!

Jeff is the tractor driver, be it our diesel McCormick tractor (as seen above) pulling the disc, rototiller, or transplanter or hopping on our 1947 Farmall Cub cultivating tractor and tackling the weeds. He also wrangles the irrigation pipe, pounds t-posts, sows the cover crops, mows everything, and fixes stuff as needed.

Carri (that’s me!) gets to play in the propagation house starting seeds, growing transplants, and getting plants ready for life in the field. I’m the transplanter, and as Jeff drives slowly in straight lines I sit on the back of our water wheel transplanter plugging plants into the ground. And while Jeff is the head of field cultivation I tend to take on the greenhouses, trellising tomatoes and peas and managing the weeds with hand tools. I also handle all things business, seed orders, website, and CSA member communication.

It’s a team effort with Leo the German Shepherd helping out with security, rodent patrols, and heading up the ball games.

Flats of plants inside our propagation house, baby Brussels sprouts plants, and baby cucumbers plants.
In the propagation house! Below are the babiest of Brussels sprouts and cucumbers.

We built a new propagation house early this year. After a decade of making due with a greenhouse structure that was on the farm when we arrived here, we decided it was time for an upgrade. This spring has been especially nice for me to have a new workspace; one that doesn’t flood in high rain events and has proper ventilation. This is where most crops start out. Plants cycle through and the prop house fills up, empties out, and fills up again many times over the season.

Transplanting summer squash, trellised peas, planting peppers, and potatoes.
Planting the first round of summer squash (top left), trellising and weeding peas (top right), planting peppers on landscape fabric (bottom left), and getting the potatoes in the ground (bottom right).

Since the end of the Winter CSA we’ve been hustling to get plants in the ground and to keep them watered and weeded. We planted nearly a mile of potatoes, got the first rounds of bok choy, sweet corn, summer squash, basil, and celery planted, and transplanted the second rounds of broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, lettuce, and beets. This week we transplanted the leeks, celeriac, eggplants, and peppers. It’s been a whirlwind of ground prep and planting and more ground prep. And we’re just getting started. We’ll continue the planting marathon from now into September!

Cloudy skies, farm field, sunset through the oak trees, and yellow kale flowers.
Farm scenes, moody skies, and a glimpse of a kale seed crop.

Over the next couple of weeks we’ll continue the planting spree. We’ll also make the first harvest lists of the season, get back into the swing of harvesting, and before we know it we’ll be ready to bring you the first share of the 2021 Summer CSA season! It won’t be long now!

Until then we hope you’ve been getting our recent member emails. If you’ve signed up to join us for the Summer CSA and haven’t heard from us in your email inbox recently, try checking your spam folder for emails from us. If you don’t see them there let us know by dropping us a line at farmers@pitchforkandcrow.com.

Finally, here are a couple of things I’d like to pass on. Note, we’re not officially affiliated with these businesses but we do like them!:

  • First is a recipe collection recommendation – Katherine Deumling over at Cook With What You Have has made a discount code available for a free three-month subscription to her amazing collection of vegetable-oriented and CSA-inspired recipes. Check out her post on Instagram inviting folks to try it out and then head to her website for delicious recipe suggestions.
  • Second is a beef recommendation – One of our Lebanon CSA members is in the beef business. Check out their availability on their Instagram @RupertsMeatsOregon or pick-up some cuts directly from them at the Saturday Corvallis Farmers Market.
  • Third is a fish recommendation – We’ve developed a love of salmon over the last couple of years and decided last year to start supporting salmon fisherman the way you support us. It turned out to be a highlight of 2020 and once again we’ve joined the Iliamna Fish Company CSF (community supported fishery) and are looking forward to filling our freezer full of salmon again come September.

On that note, let’s wrap up this update. Summer CSA members, keep an eye out for more emails from us as we continue the countdown to the start of the Summer CSA season!

All our thanks!

Your farmers – Carri & Jeff

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