CSA Spring CSA Week4B Newsletter

Some days in Spring are especially busy for the farm and today was one of them. Crazy busy. 

There were melons to plant, tomatoes to trellis, slicing onions to dry. There were weeds to pull (nothing new about that.) And then, of course, the harvesting for this week’s share, which is a nice balance of the last of the winter crops and the first of the summer crops.

And then there were the kids. One hundred and two, to be exact. And I”m not talking baby goats. No, these were well-behaved, exuberant third graders from Elgin ISD who arrived at nine this morning for a field trip.

Erin is constantly hosting field trips at the city farm and most of them she can manage alone or with the help of Carolyn and one or two other farm educators. But today was different. Even before the dew had dried, three yellow buses pulled up to the barn and enough kids spilled out to encircle the entire barnyard several times.

Erin is our general and soon all seven of us foot soldiers for good food  are at our stations, ready to spend the next two hours giving these kids a real farm experience. For the farmer, who so often spends hours alone in the field, it is exciting and exhausting at the same time — all these questions thrown at you, ones you haven’t thought about in years. 

Some you can answer without thinking: what is organic, where does a potato come from, how old is Spot (our 800-pound boar)?  

And then come the one’s that give you pause. What is that pink thing on the back of Spot?  Why does the rabbit have red eyes. How do the goats make babies.? How do vegetables get their names? Do worms eat plastic?

 Humor goes a long way on days like this. And sometimes the kids run with our games. Our daughter Alex was in charge of the chicken and rabbit station. Pointing at the round rabbit droppings beneath the cage, she explain that we don’t call it poop. “

“We call it bunny berries,” she explained.

“Oh,” asks one astute third grader. “Can we eat them?”

“Yeah,” another chimes in. “It looks like Coco Puffs.”

Ah, life on the farm. Never a dull moment.

-Farmer Skip

CSA Spring CSA Week3A Newsletter

Visions of Green Fields

Warm days, cool evenings, and intermittent rains bring Spring to a brilliant crescendo of color — ten shades of green splashed with wine cup red, bonnet blue, and buttercup yellow. The farmer stands in awe at nature’s exuberance, once again caught off-guard by its silent rush to dress up and burst forth into the world. Everything in flux. Nothing staying put. A wild parade of growth that marches past him as he hastily pulls his babies out of its path.

Yes, it’s that time of year again, albeit a fortnight early by most planting calendars. This week’s harvest runs the gamut from fennel steaks that barely survived the late December freeze to romaine lettuce that baked under a summer-like sun. And now comes the moment he had waited for, dreamed about in mid winter when the farm finally appeared under control and promised to follow his best laid plans. Amid swarms of harlequin bugs and regiments of Johnson Grass, the farmer unveiled the white row cover and exposed his prized possession — the most tender, leafy, unmolested row of hakurei turnips he has ever grown.

As white and luminous as the full moon that rose later that evening, those sweet orbs were washed and packed and safely stored. A small victory worthy of a good meal, exalted, hopefully, by some brilliant menu that would honor the arduous journey.

The farmer has more to share — carrots and new potatoes ready in the next week or two; squash and cucumbers on their heels; and tomatoes already the size of easter eggs. And the farmer has more to tell, like how 30 Austin creatives celebrated the new moon at the city farm last night as part of the Moon Language Story Circle* gatherings. All it took was a fire and a dozen brave artists to hold back the storms with their poetry, music and timeless stories. A quintessential Austin moment was brought forth as gracefully and magically as those delicious turnips with the can’t-spell-me name. 

Alas, however, the farmer has run out of space and time. The Spring that sprung before its time has stolen the hours as well. 

-Farmer Skip

*Feel free to attend the next full moon meeting, which will be held at Urban Roots.

CSA Spring Week1A Newsletter

Welcome to the first week of the Spring/Summer CSA season. And what a great start to your culinary commitment to local organic food and small family farms. Warm weather. Nice rains. And hard-working farmers. Those are key ingredients to a bountiful harvest
and this week is a taste of delicious things to come.

I was going to delete the “Spring” part but I’m still hoping that this summer-like weather is not here for good. Last night’s storm dumped more than two inches to our river farm; the front also dropped temperatures by 10 degrees, but we are expecting highs in the 80s for the rest of the week. 

Spring. Ephemeral Spring. Where art thou?

As you may already know, Austin recorded its warmest meteorological winter (December, January, February). March will surely follow suit.  Who would guess that one of the most severe freezes we’ve had in years also arrived this winter and cut our winter season short. (Thank you, winter share members for hanging with us and returning this season!)

The good news is that we have seen an explosion in growth for the past month. Our tomato plants in the hoop house are already fruiting and we planted them only a month ago!  Cucumbers are flowering! And summer squash is only a few weeks away!

The downside to this unseasonable warmth is that the lettuce in this week’s share is on the verge of going bitter while the pac choy has started bolting. These are problems a farmer would anticipate in late April and plan/plant accordingly. Today, with climate change upon us, “accordingly” is begging for a new and revised Farmers Almanac.

Next week you can anticipate some beautiful romaine lettuce, green garlic, purple mustard greens, radishes, chard, and more. I’ll also share the results of our new venture into no-till farming and why new farming techniques are critical for a more sustainable agriculture.

-Farmer Skip

Click here for this week’s Newsletter in full.

 

Notes from the Field 11/22/16

Howdy Folks,

Welcome to week 9, where things are going smooth so far. We thought we wouldn’t have them but, carrots are in this week! We will likely have enough for everyone to get a taste of their crazy, crunchy-ness. Come and get ‘em, more are available at our farm stand on Friday and Saturday 10:00am- 2:00pm. The fields at our city farm are going through transition with this cold weather. We pulled our rows of squash out and moved them to the sweet compost bin to be turned into soil. Golden frill mustard was planted in some of it’s place. Peppers and some of our baby starts were hit by the cold over the weekend. Kale, although aphids have found their place within them, are still going strong. Collards, head lettuce, and other treats are coming in soon. At the city farm we will be hosting a composting class on December 3rd from 11:00am- 12:30pm. Learn all you need to know from Zach Halfin, one of the most seasoned composter I know; $25.00 – group discounts may apply. Thanks for being a part of Green Gate’s CSA and prepare yourself for our winter CSA starting January 9th, aka let us know if you want to join!
Ali Stone
Urban Farm Manager
Green Gate Farms
612.619.5251

Notes from the Field 11/10/16

Howdy Folks,

Blister beetles have been storming the river farm during this fine raining week. The beetles mutilated the chard, everything else is hanging in and growing big for a ride to your dinner plate. At the city farm we have a few new treats growing strong. Cilantro, collards, head lettuce, and golden frill mustard should all be making their way into the shares over the next few weeks. The squash is tapering out, enjoy the rest while it lasts. And if you are ever looking to get your hands on more of Green Gate’s rocking vegetables we are beginning to wholesale with Vinaigrette (http://www.vinaigretteonline.com/) and In.gredients (https://in.gredients.com/). Thank you for being a part of our CSA, we all look forward to continuing and building our relationship with y’all. Until next time.

-Farmer Ali

CSA Newsletter Week 18A

FIELD NOTES

Hey there folks, So we’ve made it to the last week. The fields are looking pretty tired at this point and I think so are most of us. As we see more triple digit days we’re already getting our first fall crops in the ground. I’m actually in the process of planting tomatoes in our new hoop house as I write this. We’ve also got more melons, peppers, and eggplants in the ground as of last week.

Thank you so much again for sticking with us through a real tough growing season. It’s your support that kept us going through the rains and now the sweltering heat. This week you’ll see the tail end of our summer crops. By Friday I’ll have picked every last fruit or vegetable from the fields.

I hope you enjoy your last week of fresh produce for the summer and please stick with is in the fall. Hopefully the weather will be on our side and we can have a lot more to show for it.

Jason

CSA INGREDIENT RECIPE SHARE

We are winding down our summer season at Green Gate Farms, so you are probably recognizing some of the same usual suspects in your CSA shares:  potatoes, green onions, okra, shallots, and peppers… just to name a few. Here we have this week’s newest recipes to help you mix it up a little!

CALL FOR BOOKKEEPING INTERN

Green Gate Farms is seeking an office intern with bookkeeping, and Quickbooks experience. In exchange for 4 hours a week of your skill and time we will provide $25 worth of vegetables, plus other benefits. Contact admin@greengatefarms.org or call 512-484-2746 for more information.

THE FALL CSA BEGINS SEPTEMBER 21ST

RESERVE YOUR FALL YUMMIES, JOIN THE FALL CSA TODAY At just $25 a week, and 14 pick-up spots (and more forming) all over town, our CSA is affordable and convenient.

Contact: members@greengatefarms.net

LAST WEEK: GREEN GATE FARM STAND

ON SALE THIS WEEK!

  • Okra
  • Potatoes ( Purple Viking, Yukon, Red
  • Cucumbers (Suyo Long. Market, Pickling)
  • Shallots
  • Squash
  • Plus more…You’ll find all of the veggies from our CSA share plus more, including eggs, meat, and honey.
SNAP/WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program — thank you for organizing this Sustainable Food Center — accepted as are all other forms of payment.

GREEN GATE FARM STAND

8310 Canoga Ave, near E. MLK and Decker Lane
Tuesdays, 3 – 6pm, Fridays/Saturdays, 10 – 2pm
Call 512-484-2746 to place advance orders

Donation Request:

Do you have extra freezer space at your home, or homestead? Green Gate Farms is in need of your help, as we will be receiving an influx of CSA meat, and though it will soon be going to a new home, we don’t have the storage space at the moment to accommodate it all. Please consider making a donation of space today.

Contact Green Gate Farms at 512-484-2746.

FLOWER CSA SHARES STILL BLOOMIN’

Learn more about your flower share from this week’s Flower Share Blog!

MEAT SPECIAL: WHOLE & HALF GUINEA HOG

The meat from our rare-breed Guinea Hogs has an unmatched flavor and is perfect for grilling. Lucky for you, we have a few whole meat shares available from smaller animals (about 60 pounds). Here’s more info….

LOOKING FOR A HEALTHIER FAT? TRY LARD
Our Guinea Hogs produce the most amazing lard. Our freezers are full so we can offer this healthy alternative — less saturated fat than butter — for just $2/LB. To learn more: Click Here.

 

FUN STUFF AROUND AUSTIN

JULY —

  • Farmshare Austin’s Second Annual Farm Raiser, Friday, July 31 Farmshare Austin will host its second annual Farm Raiser featuring square dancing, live music, BBQ from Tony Grasso, plus more. More information

AUGUST —

  • in.gredients 3rd Anniversary Party, Saturday, August 1, 6-9pm! Find out more information here!
  • Austin Pet Expo at Palmer Event Center, Saturday, August 1, 10-6pm. Find out more information about this free event here!
  • Several upcoming GREEN BY DESIGN workshops, for how to design your “green” home, by AUSTIN GREEN ENERGY BUILDING throughout the month of August. For more information about registration and sessions, click here!

UPCOMING —