News from the Farm – March 13, 2015

Newsletter sent to our email list on Mar 13, 2015. See the original newsletter in full format.

Welcome, Spring!!

The great weather over the past week has melted nearly all of the snow around the farm. The soil is starting to warm up, and we’re looking forward to getting some seeds in the ground!

CSA sign-ups are coming along. A BIG thanks to those of you who have already signed up – this REALLY helps us cover costs early in the season. And we’re half-way to our goal for the year! We’ll have a big push with one of our company partners on March 23rd, and another big push with our farm cruise on April 25th. If you want to make sure that you have a spot this year – please sign up soon (info below)!

The nice weather also allowed us to get up a new, bigger greenhouse. With our hopes to expand the number of members in our CSA, we needed a little more space! This year we plan to start over 17,000 plants in the greenhouse, which we will then transplant into the field.

The nice weather also allowed us to get up a new, bigger greenhouse. With our hopes to expand the number of members in our CSA, we needed a little more space! This year we plan to start over 17,000 plants in the greenhouse, which we will then transplant into the field.

Spring Farm Cruise is April 25th!

Spring Farm Cruise April 25th - 10AM to 4 PM Come join us for a fun filled and educational adventure touring some diverse local farms in the central Iowa area. The “cruise” will include both Polk and Story counties just a short drive North of the Des Moines Metro Area. Come look around, talk with your local farmers, see demonstrations,  purchase delicious, decorative and fresh local products, sample some treats, watch  the animals, and learn about where and how your food is produced.

Spring Farm Cruise
April 25th – 10AM to 4 PM
Come join us for a fun filled and educational adventure touring some diverse local farms in the central Iowa area. The “cruise” will include both Polk and Story counties just a short drive North of the Des Moines Metro Area. Come look around, talk with your local farmers, see demonstrations, purchase delicious, decorative and fresh local products, sample some treats, watch the animals, and learn about where and how your food is produced.

 

The hens are also happy that spring is here, and they've been showing it! Our hens have LOTS of space to roam during the day. (It's kind of fun to watch them because every once in a while a hawk will fly over and they will all head for cover. A few minutes later, and they're all back to scavenging. All that to say - we've got lots of eggs ready now. Send me an email me if you want some, and we'll figure out a time for you to come out and pick them up or a way for us to get them to you!  (We'll also put information out about adding eggs with your weekly delivery of vegetables at a later time.)

The hens are also happy that spring is here, and they’ve been showing it! Our hens have LOTS of space to roam during the day. (It’s kind of fun to watch them because every once in a while a hawk will fly over and they will all head for cover. A few minutes later, and they’re all back to scavenging. All that to say – we’ve got lots of eggs ready now. Send me an email me if you want some, and we’ll figure out a time for you to come out and pick them up or a way for us to get them to you! (We’ll also put information out about adding eggs with your weekly delivery of vegetables at a later time.)

 

Would you like to feast on your farm fresh produce all year round?

Learn about the safest methods of
•Freezing   •Dehydrating   •Water-bath canning  •Pressure canning
•Pickling   •Making Jams and Salsas
with your CSA deliveries (or extras from the farm)!

Sign up for the ISU Extension Home Food Preservation Course
Preserve the Taste of Summer
http://www.extension.iastate.edu/registration/events/conferences/preservation/
Only $35 for 8 online lessons and a 4-hour hands-on workshop!

(This is not connected to our farm in any way – just an opportunity we saw and thought might appeal to some of you!)

I’m really looking forward to this year, and fully plan to build on last (our first) year’s success while continuing to learn a lot from a wide range of people. Your support for both our farm, and for local foods more broadly – in whatever form it takes – is much appreciated!

This spring there will be several opportunities to lend a helping hand at the farm. Even though CSA deliveries don’t start until June, we have started getting really busy… preparing equipment, starting seed trays, and soon we’ll need to be building fence, planting, weeding, and several other things that require much hands-on work. If you or someone you know is interested in coming out and volunteering to lend a hand for a few hours, contact me (tony@newfamilyfarm.com) to see if we can get something worked out.

Finally, we would appreciate you passing on this newsletter or information about New Family Farm to anyone who might be interested in joining our CSA next year! We are looking forward to providing you with safe, healthy, yummy food in 2015.

News from the Farm: Jan 20, 2015

Newsletter sent to our email list on Jan 20, 2015. See the original newsletter in full format.

Happy 2015!

While it’s only January, prep for the 2015 is well underway: planting plans are made, seeds are ordered, and equipment is being repaired. The last week of warm weather has made it much easier to get a few things done outside – and we’d welcome more mild winter weather!

The next couple of weeks involve lots of meetings and conferences – the remainder of the winter is about networking and learning from what others do well, and sometimes the mistakes that have been made. We’re actively working to grow our own operation, as well as the broader market for local foods in central Iowa. And there are many others working on this, too! We hope that you will support New Family Farm by joining our CSA. If that does not work, you can also support us by buying some of our extras through the Iowa Food Cooperative (iowafood.coop). We do not have any products listed right now, but we will likely start listing stuff there again in late May/early June, depending upon spring weather. Other farms, however, offer a variety of exciting local foods on the food coop throughout the year.

This spring there will be several opportunities to lend a helping hand at the farm. Even though CSA deliveries don’t start until June, we will start getting really busy by mid-March… starting seed trays, building fence, planting, weeding, and several other things that require much hands-on work. If you or someone you know is interested in coming out and volunteering to lend a hand for a few hours, contact me (Tony – tony@newfamilyfarm.com) to see if we can get something worked out.

Also – we’ll likely be looking for some part-time paid help starting in April. Though details are still being explored, if you know someone that might be interested in working at the farm this summer, please have them contact me. General tasks are likely to include planting, weeding, harvesting, and helping prep for deliveries.

Need a birthday or Valentine’s gift?
Consider gifting a CSA Share! 

Our 10-week Sampler shares are only $225 and come with all the benefits of giving a healthy gift that supports the local economy!

We would appreciate you passing on this newsletter or information about New Family Farm to anyone who might be interested in joining our CSA next year! We are looking forward to providing you with safe, healthy, yummy food in 2015.

 

 

 

 

News from the Farm – Nov 28, 2014

Newsletter sent to our email list on Nov 28, 2014. See the original newsletter in full format.

Greetings!

Where has the fall gone? Every time I sit down at my desk and take a moment to catch my breath I find that question parading through my mind. Our very successful first year of the CSA has just wrapped up: our last delivery was last Tuesday – Nov 25th – just in time for Thanksgiving! We hope the squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, turnips, potatoes, onions, kale, and more were all wonderful additions to many Thanksgiving meals.

A very big THANKS goes out to all of you who joined our CSA in this inaugural year. We served 25 families during both our summer and fall shares – spanning 26 weeks in 2014. We also shared our produce with dozens of others via the Iowa Food Coop. While we’ve learned much and know there are some areas where we can do better, overall we’re extremely pleased with how the year has gone and are – again – very thankful for your support.

While the workload has lightened over the last few weeks, there has still been plenty to do. Field clean up and spreading manure to further enhance soil fertility took some time. Now that deliveries are done, the packing shed needs to be organized and prepped for next year. And then planning for next year, including ordering appropriate amounts of the 80+ varieties of seed that we’ll need, must happen in the next several weeks.

cubedveggies

My iron skillet full of “cubed” veggies including beets, sweet potatoes, squash, purple top turnips, and daikon radish – just waiting to be roasted in the oven. Yum!!

 

Need a Christmas gift? Consider gifting a CSA Share! 
Our 10-week Sampler shares are only $225 and come with all the benefits of giving a healthy gift that supports the local economy!
Click on the links in the text above to find out more about our shares.

We would appreciate you passing on this newsletter or information about New Family Farm to anyone who might be interested in joining our CSA next year! Wishing you and yours the best for this holiday season, and looking forward to providing you with safe, healthy, yummy food in 2015.

News from the Farm, May 14

Last time I started out saying something about “It’s becoming a trend: each time we get precipitation, I write a newsletter.” So maybe you were expecting to receive some news a couple days ago? We did get a nice 1.2″ of rain, and now I’m getting out another newsletter.

At this point, the only part of the field still covered with the cover crop is the part of the field too wet to till. I’m ready for it to be dry, because I’d like to get that part of the field tilled under and ready for sweet potato planting!

The (regular) potatoes started popping through the ground this week – that is a nice sign! We have had some pest problems – mostly a rabbit. He seems to really enjoy young cauliflower and broccoli plants. I’ve been trying some different things – today it was a spray that I made up from our eggs, some milk, and cayenne pepper. The smell is supposed to deter the rabbits – so I’ll be watching closely to see if it works!

Soil temperatures were up to the upper 50′s last week. That meant we could plant a few rows of sweet corn. Now we hope that it does not come up yet – tomorrow night’s expected low of 34 (!!!!) degrees might be pretty cold for it.

Here are some kohlrabi! These were started in the greenhouse about four weeks ago, and they should be ready for our first deliver in the middle of June.
We are still a few members short of our goal for the summer CSA! If you want to partake in a share of the produce that’s going in the ground now, be sure to sign up!

Here is that rascally rabbit – captured by an infrared camera at 3 in the morning. Maybe we should start feeding him carrots outside the fence, so that he doesn’t feel obligated to find a way to share in the vegetables we are trying to grow.

It’s time to start thinking about our first delivery! The current plan is to start as scheduled – the week of June 16th. If you’ve signed up for the CSA, I’ll be in touch during the first week of June regarding delivery details.

For the first delivery, you can look forward to peas, lettuce, arugula, radishes, kohlrabi… and possibly spinach, turnips, greens, green onions, and maybe a few other surprises. The weather has been cool, which means things are taking longer than expected to get going. A few good, warm weeks and we’ll be in good shape!

Thanks for your support – at all levels! Just reading our newsletter is nice – there is so much work going on here, and we’re glad that people care (about us, and about where your food comes from). We would appreciate you passing on this newsletter or information about New Family Farm to anyone who might be interested in joining our CSA.

Always growing-
Tony

News from the Farm, April 11th

Most of the field is still covered in rye. This is the winter cover crop – it helps protect soil, hold nutrients and moisture, and comes up green early. Some of the field has been tilled. Of the parts that are tilled, some has been seeded already with peas, carrots, spinach, and beets. And the onion sets are in! Some extra space is tilled already for two reasons: first, in case the field is too wet to work for a while, to kill off some of the cover crop so that it would be ready to plant. Second, one of the weed control methods is to allow the weeds to germinate before planting vegetables. By tilling, it brings the weed seeds to the surface, and allows them to start growing. A couple of days after the weeds start growing, we’ll lightly till or harrow to kill the weeds, and that way when the vegetable seeds are planted there will not be so many weeds to compete with them.

Here’s the field: much still covered in winter rye, with some strips tilled. There are multiple strips – each strip is for 1-2 different crop families. One of the pest control methods is good crop rotation. That means the onions will not be planted in the same place again for at least 3 years.

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Here are the onions! Nearly all of the onions were ordered as “sets”. We ordered 120 bunches, and each bunch contains at least 60 plants. It turns out they average more than 80 plants in each bunch, because with 3,000 row-feet with onions spaced every 3-4 inches… we have about 10,000 onions in the ground!

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Getting a little help from nephew Ty to put onions in the ground!

It’s exciting to talk about what’s going on in the field, but much of the work right now is going on in the germination house. This is where we start many of the plants that are not direct seeded in the field. It’s also a nice place to work on rainy days!

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So far, things are going well in our first year! Plants are growing, irrigation lines have arrived (just in case!), and equipment is working often enough to get jobs done. Lots of hands have been helping out! We would appreciate you passing on information about New Family Farm to anyone who might be interested in joining our CSA. You can also arrange for a time for me to come talk to a group that would be interested in learning more about us and what we do!

Please be in touch if you have questions or ideas, and I’ll do the same.