Winter on a farm can be pretty desolate, cold and quiet. Snow covered fields, idle machinery and the occasional Cardinal at the bird feeder. However, here at WSF we are busy as bees researching and developing our most hopeful CSA season to date. Our team of Adam, Adam, Kristy, and of course Jaime have been calculating our needs for this upcoming season. Yes, that’s two Adams…
We have a lot to evaluate when planning our growing season here at WSF. How many members do we expect to join our CSA? How many seeds do we need to source? What new varieties of vegetables do we plan on growing? What can our wholesale partners expect us to grow in terms of acreage or quantity? The list goes on and on. Back in 2006 when Wayward was in its inception, I thought naively that “I will work 6 months a year, and have 6 months off” if I become a market gardener. Little did I understand the rigors of committing oneself to a trade like farming?! We make incremental progress each season with a dogged effort to become more professional in this pursuit of organic farming.
This season WSF is pleased with the return of our most recent addition to the team, Ms. Kristy Gerlich. Hailing from New Jersey, Kristy has worked on many organic farms here in Ohio and the East Coast. In her second year here at WSF, she will be particularly focused on our salad production and vegetable seedling succession. Her presence will provide additional management focus to our operation.
After many conversations with members this fall we have decided to focus our efforts for 2013 on usability and diversity in the CSA this season. We will increase production of the beloved Shishito pepper from Japan. I am also focused on Celery Root for next fall; hopefully we can grow some large ones that could be thinly sliced for raw salads. We are also going to increase our paste tomato field for this season with a tentative U-Pick date of September 1st. We grow an excellent variety named Marianna. It has a determinate fruit set and all of its fruit will ripen in a short period of time. Our idea is to schedule U-Pick around this tomato in hopes of a large harvest for the members. Paste tomatoes have excellent shelf life and are good for countless dishes in the kitchen. There should also be some hot peppers at that time of the season for salsa preparation.
We had a really successful 2012 season with sweet potatoes, winter squash, and of course potatoes. They will continue to be a staple of our late summer and fall shares. They provide utility and storage within the share that can allow a family to consume more perishable items first. It is our belief that the 2013 growing season will be cooler overall and we will be able to produce more greens, onions, and of course carrots during the hot weather period. Last season was daunting, and I like to tell folks that 2012 was a “good, bad year.” Our facility at Oakvale has been wonderful. During those 103F days, we had a cool 72F in the building. We didn’t even run the AC. It is a concrete block building and maintains a cool temperature when we are washing vegetables. I literally sang its praises all season long. Long term we might be able to extend the CSA season to 30 weeks due to our increased storage capacity and heated building. Christmas CSA shares anyone?
At lot has been discussed recently in the media about the Stanford study regarding the nutrition levels of Certified Organic to conventional produce. They concluded in the study that organic foods did not have higher nutritional value than their conventional counterparts, but did have significantly lower levels of chemical and residues. I believe the study is flawed in one important way. It doesn’t have anything to say about LOCAL Certified Organic food sourced very close to home that was picked within 24 hours of delivery. I thought to myself when reading the punditry from The New York Times to Mother Jones, “This isn’t a black mark on organic, it is a positive sign for local, sustainable, and organic.” In the 2012 season here at WSF, we didn’t spray a single drop of Certified Organic pesticide, truly making our produce “chemical free.” We are here every day to answer your questions on our farming practices and strive for a “relationship based food source for you and your family.” Many of our members say the CSA is making a positive impact on their children’s consumption of fruit and vegetables. The sustainable farm movement should, and hopefully will continue to pave the way for a more nutritious and hopefully tasty future. As always it is a pleasure to grow for and know our members. I look forward to seeing you all soon at the farm or market…
But before I go, a quick reminder of our annual CSA Open House at House Wine in Worthington tomorrow. The event is open to everyone. Whether you’re a current member of the Wayward family, a CSA newcomer or just simply curious about local farming, please join us!
The event will be held tomorrow, Tuesday, January 29th from 6-8pm at House Wine. For those who wish to enjoy a drink, House Wine will offer $5 wine pours and $4 craft beers until 7pm. Reservations are not required. Also, there will be plenty of free parking. For more information, including directions, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.housewine.biz.
Farmer Adam (Welly), Wayward Seed Farm