You're invited to come and get to know your growers!

Hi all,

What a glorious day today (now yesterday!): the sun is shining brightly; the birds are singing and the chickens cackling (is that what they do?)! Fresh air smells even better with these cold autumn mornings. Time for a coffee, computer and a fresh newsletter!

Yesterday morning we had a visit from a lady from Country Life, a rural program on National Radio to interview us for a half an hour session on the radio. It was a very enjoyable and interesting day as she came back in the afternoon to see for her self how the harvesting and packing took place.  I am sure that it will take some time to edit the work into a pleasurable piece, but it’s due to be aired later this year. We’ll keep you up to date. 

All of this is part of the positive spin the CSA is in and I am sure more good things will follow.  A wee while back Matt added on the CSA joining form a question to find out where new people had heard from us and it is great to read more and more that they hear it through the grapevine and from friends who are already a member. That is you! Thank you for helping the CSA grow and its good to find out that we must be something good, else you would not want to recommend it to your friends!

Thanks you for all the feedback on the newsletter and the chicory last week. The results so far are that half of the feedback was yes it’s great and the other half has trouble getting a taste for it.  A great email came in from one of our CSA members. She wrote:

“just wanted to say that one of the things I really like about your farm is that you do grow stuff that is common in NZ, AND stuff that is common in Europe as well. This makes an absolutely enormous variety!

Chicory with ham and cheese baked in the oven is a dish I've always liked and it's great to have it again after many years of abstinence! 

Same for the Kohlrabi, and the celeriac.

Part of the problem for New Zealanders probably is that it's all very strange stuff for them that they are not used to, and not knowing what to make of it.

It was just like this when I moved to NZ for me. Back then, I did my vegie shopping at the Waitangi park market. Each week, I bought a vegie or fruit I didn't know, and asked the person at the vegie stall what it was and what I shall do with it. It was all good fun and a culinary adventure. For example, pumpkin, squash and all those greens is not common in Germany. But I've learnt what to make of them and now I really like them and look forward to the seasons when they are grown.

But as the old Bavarian saying goes, "what the farmer doesn't know, he doesn't eat", and it is probably an obstacle here just as well as anywhere else.”

Organic certification and beyond!

We are getting ready for our 2013 BioGro Organic certification Audit. Paperwork needs to be sorted, maps adjusted and papers filled in. Quite a bit of extra work to ensure we have the “tick of approval” to use the certified organic trademark. The inspector’s visit is due next week.  Should be all fine; often its Frank explaining and educating the auditors as he like to think outside the box and beyond certified organics!!  Organic for us does not mean that we just substitute petrochemical fertilizers and pesticides with those approved by BioGro (as often happens and also called substitution organics). For us being organic means a complete redesign of how we treat the soil and the plants/animals, stimulating the natural processes in the soil (mineralization and humification) to lead the way. 

Zucchini, Courgette and Marrows

Seasonal summer produce is slowly on the way out with basil and courgette plants starting to crumble under the cold nights. I am sure you had enough marrows this summer as this crop (even though I did not sow as many plants in comparison with last year by a long shot) was the overall winner in harvestable kilos.  As the wholesaler and shops do not want them we might as well share them with you - all of them! Last week we had courgette soup, courgette fritters and courgette bread! It’s such an easy crop and easy ingredient, no one complained! I had 3 extra dinner guests (Matt, Ross and Joel) who’d been out there harvesting and packing for the CSA and/or harvesting apples for juice.  Our 7 year old boy Wietse noted that for once he was surrounded by more males than females at the dinner table (Wietse has 3 sisters). Enjoy them for now, because its gonna be over in a few weeks time!

Thank you to all our helpers!

Thanks Joel for your help over recent weeks, much appreciated. Finding places to sleep was a bit of a nightmare but in the end it all worked out! Today we have Laura and Russell from our Upper Hutt group and Joel from Wellington helping with the apple harvest.  I am sure they are enjoying themselves; the bigger the group the more fun! And as I said, the weather is marvelous out there!

PYO Apples and Farmday

If you are keen to see where and how your fruit and veggies are grown, meet your growers, Frank, Matt, Ross and Josje, and pick some apples to take home, then you are most welcome to join us on Sunday the 28 of April on our Masterton market garden and orchard.  The farm day starts at 11 am. Please register your interest by emailing Josje csa@wefs.co.nz.  We look forward to show you around.

ANZAC day delivery

Please note that this year ANZAC day falls on a Thursday (25 April). Your CSA shares will be dropped off to your usual pick up location a day earlier (i.e. Wednesday 24 April).

Your CSA shares this week:

Fruit Shares:  1 kg Braeburn Apples, 800 grams of Pacific Rose Apples and 800 grams of Pears.

Small Veggie Share: 1.2kg potato (or a pumpkin), 400g carrots, 1kg courgette, 165g beans,  and 1 broccoli.

Large Veggie Share: 1.2kg potato (or a pumpkin), 400g carrots, 1kg courgette, 165g beans, 1 broccoli, 120g bunch spring onions, 65g basil, 1 pak choy, 2 kohlrabi, and 150g mizuna greens.

Enjoy,

Josje and the farm team