Brown fields, ridges of tilled earth, lines of snow between the ridges, frozen water in the wetland and snow blowing through the air.  But not for long.  Last Thursday we headed to the greenhouse and planted seeds in flats for the Spring Share.  The greenhouse was so warm we were in t-shirts.  In less than a month we will be sowing seeds directly into the ground in our hoophouses.  Getting hungry?  Winter passes quickly on the farm.  The time between the last storage share delivery and the planting of the first seeds is only nine weeks.  And in those weeks we need to celebrate holidays with family and friends, take a family vacation, put a detailed plan together for each crop, place our gigantic seed order, put all of the pieces together for the 2012 season.  Physical exercise happens when we walk the dog, otherwise our days are spent in our offices, planning away, not even any snow this winter to ski.  Good-bye winter, hello spring.

2011 Season Survey results: 

Thanks to all of you who responded to the end of season survey.  We read through each and every one.  It’s incredibly important to us what you have to say.  We will summarize the main points; we read and consider all of your comments.  Here’s what you told us:

These are the vegetables you enjoyed the most, in this order: Salad Mix, Sweet Corn, Tomatoes, Sugar Snap Peas, Potatoes, Carrots, Garlic, Lettuce Heads, Beans and Spinach.  Vegetables you would like more of, in this order: Sugar Snap Peas, Spinach, Sweet Potatoes, Broccoli, Watermelon, Garlic, Carrots, Sweet Corn.  Vegetables you would like less of, in this order: Beets, Collard Greens, Fennel, Kohlrabi, Garlic Scapes, Swiss Chard, Edemame, Celeriac.  We asked you if we should continue growing strawberries (a very time consuming crop at a very busy time of year) 67% said” We like strawberries but it’s OK if you discontinue growing them”  28% said, “Please, please keep growing strawberries and 6% said, “Don’t grow them.”  This response will guide what we do in the future with strawberries, although you can look forward to strawberries in 2012.  Because it is a crop that needs to be planned in advance, new plants were planted last season for the upcoming season.  Regarding “This Week’s Harvest”, the slip of paper we put into your share box with details about each vegetable.  We asked if you would prefer a slip of paper in your share box or an e-mail send each Thursday.  42% said paper slip, 58% said e-mail.  Although the percentage was tipped towards getting rid of the paper, the comments told us to keep the paper.  Many people said some form of “While I’m all for paperless usually it is handy to have the printed slip with storage info when unpacking the share”.  People realized the efficiency and environmental plus of paperless, but loved the piece of paper to reference, put on their refrigerator, and use when planning meals.  We will keep the paper coming in your share and continue to post the contents of the share on our web site.

Who used beet greens? 53% of you.  You may have wondered why we asked this; delivering beets with their greens is much more work for us and we only want to take the time if the greens are getting used.  We asked what else we could add to our blog to provide better communication.  At this time we feature farm news, recipes, This Week’s Harvest and events information on our blog.  Some of you were turned off by the word “blog”, dislike blogs or don’t follow blogs.  I’m sorry we had to use the word, I dislike it as well.  It’s not that anyone at the farm sits around blogging, quite the contrary, we try to post news weekly.  The blog has replaced our newlsetter.  It is essentially the same thing, just an easier format for us to work with.  The blog is also an easy format for us to post recipes and event information.  Some other things you said would be nice; the ability to share recipes with each other, more frequent news posts, articles written by different people.  There were a lot of useful comments for us to read and ponder.  Some of you didn’t know we had a blog.  Many of you were happy with just how it is.  We appreciate all of the comments and will use them as we continue to make positive changes in how we communicate and share information.  And then we got hundreds of general “anything you would like to tell us” comments.  They are so much fun to read.  Picture me with a cup of tea by the fire reading and highlighting.  Yes, I print them all off and sit down with them.  The questions, suggestions, ideas, comments, critical feedback and praise are what make CSA special.  The ability for you to give your farm and farmers feedback is unique and special.  And the ability for us to receive feedback from our eaters is very special.  It only happens in the CSA world.  Thank you for caring so much about where your food comes from and who is growing it.

The Third Generation Perkins CSA Farmer

Baby Paavo

On December 21st Jesse (Barb and David’s eldest son) and Jonnah had their first baby, Paavo Armour Perkins.  He has already been busy around the farm helping his dad get the hoophouse ready for spring and watching his mom get CSA memberships organized in her office.  Paavo is excited to meet everyone at the farm events this summer.

Barb