Mid-May Update From P&C

As we countdown these last two weeks before the beginning of the 11th P&C Summer CSA we wanted to do a little check-in here. We hope this update finds you all healthy and safe during these strange times. We’re doing well here on the farm and wanted to share some farm happenings and include a few quick recommendations of random things I (Carri) have been enjoying recently.

As many of you 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.

Here are a few photos to show you what we’ve been up to here on the farm:

It was a strange year for sourcing certified potato seed but we managed to get our hands on enough seed to fill out the field. They’ve been in the ground a few weeks now and soon we’ll be hilling the baby spuds to keep them adequately buried. Luckily we put in a couple of early beds of potatoes into a greenhouse, so we’ll have fresh potatoes sooner than later.

The propagation house has been the star of the show recently. This is where all of the transplants start out before being planted out in the field. It’s filled up and emptied out multiple times already this season. Last week we gave it a little boost with a new plastic covering.

I mentioned we’ve been planting and here’s some of the evidence. Many of the season-long summer crops have made their way into the fields including peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, leeks, celeriac, tomatillos, and melons. We’ve planted successions of corn, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, spinach, beans, herbs, celery, cabbage, kale, chard, kohlrabi, fennel and more. The planting will continue in the next dry window with winter squash, which was just recently seeded as shown by the seeds I’m holding in the photo above.

Luckily we’re beginning to see some crops coming on too. The strawberries are off to a great start and as long as we can keep the deer and birds at bay and get some warmer weather we should have enough berries soon. Scape season is well underway and we’ve recently harvested leek scapes and garlic scapes. Leek flowers will make an appearance in shares again this spring too. The crimson clover cover crop is happily flowering, but the bees get to most enjoy that one. Luckily we all get to enjoy the snap peas that just beginning to come on and they’ll definitely be showing up in early shares.

Over the next couple of weeks we’ll continue the planting spree as the weather allows, including the flour corn in the photos above. 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 2020 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 few things I’ve been enjoying recently as we’ve been staying close to home and getting things done.

  • First is a podcast recommendation – Check out the Dinner Sisters podcast for weekly cooking inspiration and recipe suggestions. In most episodes these sisters choose a handful recipes from the internet, try them out at home, then compare their results on the podcast. I’ve been inspired by some recent pantry meal suggestions and an episode all about broiling.
  • Second are video recommendations – I’ve been enjoying watching snippets of the Bon Appetit magazine’s video collection at lunch. A quick hit of watching professional chefs test recipes or share tips makes lunchtime more of a breaktime. Admittedly there could be more vegetables in these videos, but there’s plenty to learn here anyhow.
  • Third is a fish recommendation – We’ve developed a love of salmon over the last year and decided it was time to start supporting salmon fisherman the way you support us. We joined the Iliamna Fish Company CSF (community supported fishery) and are looking forward to a freezer full of salmon come September. There doesn’t seem like a better time to double down on support for local producers.

We’d love to hear from you if you’ve got similar recommendations you’d like to share with us or with the whole CSA group. Have a favorite food-related podcast, Youtube series, or book? Let us know! Or what about your favorite local producers? We often get questions about local sources for various products and we’d love to pass on your favorites to other CSA members.

Okay, that’s a wrap for this farm update. See you soon!

Your farmers – Carri & Jeff

2018 P&C Farm Update

Hello Farm Friends!

Our final summer share back in November feels like a lifetime ago. The past couple of months have flown by in a blur as Jeff and I have found our footing outside the routine of the CSA. When we last left off we were working towards selling the farm and moving on to non-farming lives, but it turns out we weren’t quite finished with this place yet.

So, without a Winter CSA to schedule our time (and pay the bills) what have we been up to of late? Just after Thanksgiving we decided to take the farm off the market, only days before the first legitimate offer was made through our realtor. Despite the amazing offer, we decided to stick with our decision to hang-on to the property until we’d worked out our plans for the future. December was full of fun hiking adventures and spending time together outside of farming, a whole new reality.

I’ve been working part-time for our friends out at Adaptive Seeds helping clean seed last fall and now packing seed for sale. It’s been fun participating in the other side of the seed world, and I get a little thrill each time one of the seed lots we grew comes up on my list for packing. Jeff was hired on at Entek, a local Lebanon manufacturing company with global reach, and he’s been learning all sorts of new machinery assembly skills that have already come in handy when working on truck and tractor repairs. His favorite parts of the new gig are getting off work at 3:30pm and having a regular paycheck. Can’t argue with that!

As farm planning season sets in, I’ve been feeling the pull of farming. Given our decision to keep the farm for the time being, I’ve decided to undertake a small CSA this upcoming season. Jeff will be keeping his job, though he may help with some field work at times, and I’ll be farming mostly solo at first with the goal of hiring on labor as the season progresses and finances even out.  I’ll be focusing on the Salem area initially, but hope to get a farm stand together for local folks to purchase directly from the farm in the near future.

Big things are in store for this upcoming year.  We recently received a conditional use permit from Linn County to build a house on the farm and we’re reviewing our options and next steps.  We’re settling into the new routines of work and life and are ready to tackle the changes ahead.  As I look forward to the farming season, and begin to put plans in place, I’m nervous about taking on the challenge of the CSA without Jeff always by my side, but also excited to return to growing food for this community.  It will be hard work, but I’m hoping I’ve learned some things over the past nine years and that this tenth farming season will be a successful adventure.

Shoot us an email at farmers@pitchforkandcrow.com if you have any questions about the farm and the farm’s future.  Head on over to the Summer CSA page to get all the updated program details, and think about joining me on the summer/fall vegetable adventure ahead!

– Carri & Jeff

field notes: december 6

Hey, it’s cold outside!  December has really decided to bring the wintry weather and though it’s been fairly dry we’ve been fully aware of the icy, frosty goodness that is the out-of-doors these days.  We’re finding more inside work to do, but trying to enjoy the dry weather as much as possible too.

Jeff has been seeing to tasks that quickly move to the bottom of the priority list during the growing season.  The barn is neatly organized, tools have been put in their proper place, and field supplies have been rescued from a long, wet season in the field.  He’s also been in his own “Farmall 101”, learning all about the finer points of our little cultivating tractor.  We purchased this tractor in the spring and put it to use right away weeding, marking beds, and planting and eventually digging potatoes.  Having only done minimal maintenance during the summer and fall, he’s happy to have a little extra time to spend tracking down spark plugs and air filters and to tinker with the internal workings of the machine.

Soon we’ll begin our crop planning for next year.  The seed catalogs have begun to arrive in our mailbox and I can’t help but begin pouring through them, looking for sources of our now-favorite vegetable varieties and finding new varieties to try out.  Long, cold nights provide the perfect excuse to snuggle up with a cup of hot tea and a stack of seed catalogs!  Before too long we’ll be gearing up for spring planting and the push towards next summer, so we’re trying to enjoy the slow time as much as possible.

Finally, we’ll be posting CSA program information for the 2012 season soon, so watch for details!

Carri & Jeff

field notes: november 29

After six months of weekly posting, it’s hard not to check in on a Tuesday.  With the end of both the market and CSA, we find ourselves officially in the “off” season.  Don’t fret for us though.  We have plenty of work to keep us busy at the farm, plus we’re enjoying catching up on our fireside reading during these dark evenings.

If you have a hankering for some P&C veggies during our hiatus, head down to the Crooked House Bistro in West Salem for dinner with Bernard!  Jeff just delivered broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, beets, frisee, delicata winter squash, carrots, and fingerling potatoes this afternoon.  The menu is even posted on their website so you can plan ahead!

For now, I’ll leave you with that beautiful fractal romanesco up top.  We’d given up on this experimental crop heading up, but there it is, fantastic in appearance and tasty too!

Carri & Jeff