Fantastic or what!
Dear Friends of the CSA,
21st of March today – we have arrived at the equinox, halfway between summer and winter. For me the start of autumn. Last week at full moon we managed to sow the last 60 trays (144 cells each, i.e. 8640 cells) of seeds for winter. The quick response of the seed to spring into life was great to see and this week we could already thin them out (take out where there is more than 1 seed coming up per cell) most of them. A great result and if all goes well in their next phase of life, making sure we do not run out of leafy vegetables over winter and early spring.
The weather has been good over the past few weeks. A wee while back I was afraid that autumn was coming very early, and we had the fire going for a few evenings, but luckily the weather gods brought back some warm (hot even) summer like days adding some extra warmth (and growth) to the soil and our hearts.
The CSA is in a fantastic place at the moment; we have a great group of people helping us on the farm, the bucky box software is running the show in the background and has taken a heavy load of my shoulders, we are starting to feel more confident with the new packing system, and every week we are packing for a few more families (thank you to all our CSA members who are spreading the word).
There is still room for improvement (and yes please send us your feedback (both positive experiences andthe not so good ones), but we are feeling confident that we are ready for the next few steps we will have to make to grow for 200 families (our target).
The next steps forward
One of the steps we will have to make is dividing up the packing days as soon it will be too much to do all in one day. Our plan is that from May onwards (when the next public holidays have passed) to split of Palmerston North, Wairarapa and the home deliveries from the Thursday delivery and start delivering these on Friday.
Talking about public holidays. The CSA will run as usual during the Easter holidays and Anzac day.
Another issue is that Berhampore and Kilbirnie pick-ups are becoming too big as there is not room at either premise to host all the crates. I am mapping out the delivery route and addresses and hope to come up with some ideas for pick up locations soon. If you are picking up from either of these places and you feel you could be a host address please let us know.
With Autumn here and winter not too far away anymore it is time for us to assess the garden. Over the past few winters we have struggled keeping production up to cater for the CSA (the reason why we stopped going to the farmers market). Many of you already know, but with quite a few recent CSA members it is probably timely to let you know that we work together with some other growers to make sure we either have enough to go into the shares each week and/or provide a bit more variety. As a rule of thumb, our decision from whom and where to buy this additional produce is as follows:
- Our own produce as much as possible (over the year this is 80% of all produce). This is the best option as we can give you more for less if we have an extra good harvest (eg the apples, potatoes and carrots at the moment) and then:
- Local and certified organic (there are 2 other local growers producing organic produce); This has been around 10% over the past year of all produce.
- Local, spray free or biological (e.g. our neighbour Bas who has been looking over the fence for some years now and who we know and respect); This has been less than 5% and is the last resort in case something else falls through last minute.
- Organic wholesaler in Napier for produce that cannot be grown in the Wairarapa (eg kumara, avocado’s, kiwifruit and oranges). This is the other 10%.
As we grow for you and this is your CSA we like to have your feedback on this policy and hear from you if this acceptable for you and your family. Over summer and up to now all produce has been from organic sources.
Hella's lacto fermented pickles
One addition last week was the sample of lacto fermented pickles. Many of you have send in feedback about the pickled veggies from Hella and everyone seems happy if we add this (or sauerkraut) as part of the shares. This is great news as first is helps us fill the shares over winter, it provides you with a bit more variety, and it helps Hella knowing beforehand how much she can sell and thus how much she needs to process, and this way slowly build up her little business. She uses mainly local organic produce and this helps the local economy. It is so nice to work on the local social structures and make it all fit like a puzzle (or a web).
Talking about social structures and webs, we are organising a Saving Pool Seminar on Sunday April 13 morning and/or afternoon. Our idea behind this seminar is to inspire community building and hopefully it is a start in helping each other in another way than with nutritious quality food. For more information on savings pools and how they work click here.
BD conference – Frank will be talking about community building and our CSA as an example at the upcoming national Biodynamic Conference in Palmerston North on the weekend of 23- 25 May. The title of this year’s conference is “Biodynamics for the 21st Century – Agriculture of Today”.
- Are you receiving weekly "what is the the box" emails? Since we started using Bucky Box to manage the CSA membership, we have been using a different source to send all our emails with. Please let me know if you feel you are left out of the loop.
- the old bank account number has now been closed. Please make sure your CSA payments are going into the right account. This is for CSA payments: Wairarapa Eco Farm CSA 01-0274-0432230-01 and for our RSA's: 01-0274-0432230-00. Thank you so much.
Picture perfect: Harmony in Nature
The carrots in the picture above and the array of young chickens to the right, are some examples that nothing but at the same time everything in nature is perfect; as it should be! No conformity as the supermarkets are letting us believe nature is or should be.
As you can see, it is all coming together very nicely indeed; to grow, connect and inspire!
Josje and the farm team.