May Showers Bring June Vegetables

We’re quickly approaching the start of the 13th P&C Summer CSA season! As we wait out another rainstorm it seemed like a good time for a spring farm update. Read on for a synopsis of what’s happening on the farm.

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 (when it’s not raining) and weeded after we plant them. We’re thankful for your support as we take the time to focus on getting things in the ground and growing to ensure another successful CSA season.

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

That’s us, on a rare off-farm excursion to the coast between CSA seasons.

First off, how about we re-introduce ourselves. We are Jeff and Carri, and along with Leo the farm dog, we’re growing your vegetables this season! It really is just the two of us growing transplants, working the soil, planting, cultivating, irrigating, harvesting, and distributing your vegetables at the CSA pick-ups.

Jeff is the tractor driver, be it our diesel McCormick tractor pulling the disc, rototiller, or waterwheel transplanter or hopping on our 1947 Farmall Cub cultivating tractor and tackling the weeds. You can see him in action over on our instagram first pulling the transplanter with the McCormick while I plant potatoes and then using the Farmall Cub to cover them up. He also wrangles the irrigation pipe, maintains the irrigation system, is king of the weed whacker, pounds t-posts, sows the cover crops, mows everything, and fixes all the 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, which you can also see over on our instagram or here on our website. 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.

Together we harvest, wash, and pack your vegetables ahead of CSA pick-up days. You’ll find us at both the Salem and on-farm pick-ups ready to answer questions and chat about the past week.

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

Rain outside but happy transplants growing up inside the propagation house (right, top and bottom). Plus potting up the tomato plants we’ll share with CSA members the first couple of weeks of the season (bottom left).

Although we had some early weather breaks this spring, it’s been a cold and wet start to the growing season. We’ve mostly managed to stay on schedule with getting the earliest plants in the ground but the soil conditions have certainly not been ideal. Despite the rain the propagation house has already filled up and emptied and filled up again with vegetables transplants waiting for their turn to find a home in the field.

Transplanting onions (top left), a snapshot of early crops int he field (top right), potatoes ready to be covered up (bottom left), and salad mix transplants (bottom right).

Though the weather feels like it could easily still be April, we’ve managed to keep things on track and we’re only about a week behind on field transplanting. Yesterday we were able to sneak in the second succession of head lettuce and salad mix and the first succession of sweet corn. We’ve got successions of cilantro, dill, basil, spinach, bok choy, and beets all ready to jump into the field as soon as we see another workable break in the rain. Right behind them are peppers, leeks, celeriac, melons, and cucumbers!

Baby broccoli (top left), baby cucumber plants (top right), baby basil (bottom left), and baby lettuce (bottom right).

Over the next couple of weeks we’ll continue planting as the weather allows. We’ve got our fingers crossed that the sun shows up for longer stretches soon. Soon enough we’ll 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 2022 Summer CSA season!

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:

  • First is a suggestion to check out the new Local Resources page here on our website. – If you’re looking for local meat producers (pork, beef, or chicken) or other local services you might find what you need there.
  • Second is a fish recommendation – We’ve developed a love of salmon over the last couple of years and decided two years ago to start supporting salmon fisherman the way you support us. It’s become a highlight of dinnertime for us and once again we’ve joined the Iliamna Fish Company CSF (community supported fishery). We’re 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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