I don’t know about you, but I needed a few days to recover from 2020!
Without the CSA, Red Planet would not have survived and I am so grateful. When people kept signing up and the membership became bigger than it ever had, I worried about having enough to fill everyone’s shares. And it was a struggle sometimes, especially in the first month. But as the season went on I grew to love it so much. Partly because it was the most social I got to be all week! And my CSA members are the friendliest, funniest, most generous folks anywhere.
So here we go. These are the weeks I figure out what’s going to grow where. What I need to do better (protecting crops from critters is #1 on that list) and what I might want to grow less of (because I may be going overboard with my love of celery) Soon I will be sending off seed orders. Ordering supplies. And constructing a new seed starting area big enough for red planet 2021.
I’m happy to report that Kendra will continue to work with me for a third season! Together we will be helping Southside Community Land Trust develop the standards for a certified apprenticeship program in small scale sustainable farming in Rhode Island.
I’m getting excited about the possibilities. And we’re hoping that you will join us for another season! Perhaps one where we can eventually talk to each other without masks on!
I will set up a tent in the driveway tomorrow. And will mark where to line up. Folks will come up to me to get their share, observing social distance. I will wear a mask and gloves and bag your share for you, unless you bring your own bag. If you do, I will lay out the share for you to bag yourself.
And please be patient with us and each other. I have never done the csa this way. Things rarely go perfectly smoothly the first time around (or ever)
I look forward to seeing you all. As do the radishes, snap peas, lettuces, herbs and greens that await you.
Thank you so much! I may be able to bring in more members after we get started in June, so if you are interested, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or reply to this message and I will get in touch.
While the rain and cold temperatures of April kept slowing us down, we are looking forward to the month ahead: a frenzy of planting and preparation for the CSA start in June.
Working through this shut down has been confusing and fraught. Time will tell if we will be able to run the CSA pick ups as we always have, or if we have to pre-bag shares. I will do my best to make sure that pick ups are run safely. But right now I don’t know precisely what that will mean!
And lately I have been getting inquiries about whether or not I am still selling shares. The answer is YES. Restaurant sales were always a large part of my income but the pandemic is likely to cause a big change to the restaurant culture of Providence. Fewer vegetables to restaurants means more into CSA members homes. Spread the word!
I feel extremely lucky to have my small and mighty team from last year returning, plus some new worktrades. Here’s Kendra and Kim cleaning onions last August:
Kendra is in her second year of apprenticeship, and Kim has been working with me for even longer. Maybe this year I will remember to take more pictures!
That’s all for now, the rain is slowing down and I need to get out there.
As many of you know, 2019 was a year of radical changes at the farm and in my life. And as we start a new revolution around our star I find myself still in the process of taking stock and tying up loose ends.
I started managing the farm myself after ending a partnership of 18 years. This allowed me the chance to realign the farm practices with my ideals. I planted more intensively on a much smaller area, basically less than half the acreage we were using before. Beds were prepared and maintained using only hand tools. And there was a greater sense of cooperation and community building in general, despite the challenges we faced.
When the main season CSA of 2019 ended, I picked up some off farm work to help keep me afloat (kind of) while also giving my body a break. It left me no time to run our winter CSA program. Instead I am focusing on finishing the expensive work of separating and establishing my new life.
As I start the process of planning the year ahead for the farm, I look forward to continuing to work with my apprentice Kendra, and am looking for an assistant manager for the CSA. We will also be working on new partnerships to make use of the land where I am not growing crops.
By the time spring comes, we will have so much to celebrate. And Kendra and I have already started talking about how we want to kick off the growing season this year. In the meantime, you can sign up for your CSA share right here.
I can’t wait to hear from you! And to everyone who joined me last year I want to express my deepest gratitude for your kindness, support and friendship.
Now that we’ve had a couple sunny days I feel more confident saying that we are going to be having our first pick ups June 10th from 4 to 6 at the World’s Fair Gallery in Providence and at the farm on June 12 from 4 to 6.
We’ve had the winter CSA pick ups at the gallery for a while now and it is really exciting to switch the main season over here too:
If you were thinking of signing up but haven’t yet please get in touch as soon as possible. You can still go right here to find out more and pay with the paypal, too.
I have more to tell you about in the coming weeks but for now it’s time to get back in the field!
I know they take up a lot of room in the fridge, so here are two super simple ways to free up some space:
first wash it (by swishing it around in a big bowl of water then letting it drain) and chop it up into bite sized strips or whatever. sprinkle salt all over it (I used a smallish cabbage and probably a half teaspoon of salt) and let it sit in a bowl for a few minutes, or in the fridge a couple hours.
make a dressing with a teaspoon of honey, 1/4 tsp or so orange zest, a glug olive oil and splash rice wine or apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper.
add whatever you like to the salted cabbage: shaved radishes or carrots or turnips or roasted nuts or scallions.
mix it up. top with some parmesan if you want. parsley or chervil is good too. lasts a couple days in the fridge.
Wash and chop. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Or, if you happen to have a pan of bacon fat and a crumbled red chili, toss it with that. Spread it out on a pan and put it in a 375 degree oven for at least 20 minutes, til it gets soft with a few crispy bits.
If you have other quick easy Chinese Cabbage recipes, add in the comments and I will share them.
If you have ideas for how to organize recipes on this blog, get in touch!
…to stay inside and work on my plans for the main season this year.
This week I found out that I was accepted into the Southside Community Land Trust’s farm apprenticeship program; meaning I will be mentoring a prospective farmer who will be working with me full time, for a full year! And it’s going to be a year full of changes. I was deeply inspired by the spirit and the wisdom of Jen Salinetti from Woven Roots Farm at this year’s Northeast Organic Farmer’s Association Winter Conference. Her workshop reminded me of the ideals I had as a beginning farmer (back in 2003!) and showed me what is possible if I recommit to them. Intensive growing, regenerative methods, using mainly hand tools. The team at Red Planet is better than ever, and I will be making extra efforts to share our progress with you here on the blog. It feels like this Super Blood Wolf Full Moon with a total Eclipse (despite the fact that it won’t be visible tonight) is a good time to set some intentions. So that’s what I did. Stay warm!
There’s nothing better than those first greens of spring. And we will have various sweet and spicy roots, herbs and leeks and green garlic along with those hearty greens starting in March and going through April. Additional information can be found on the Winter CSA page, or get in touch with me directly at 401-273-0914.
An Early Spring Share is $175. Payment can be made here via paypal.