Overall, 2013 was an excellent year of farming here at Wayward Seed Farm. There were the typical Upper Midwest swings in weather and moisture, but our farm plan was executed as strictly as possible, and in large part because of our strong staff and work share members.
It was a joy to work with the crew this year. We had veteran farmers on staff like Kristy Gerlich and Adam Utley who have many years under their belts. On the other hand, we had work share members who had never stepped foot on a working farm. We were a motley crew! By the midway point of our CSA season we had endurance, and techniques were entrenched. The work share members dove in and stuck it out through a very long season. Thank you so much–we could not have done it without you. We talked farming and politics, but mostly we talked about our cooking. Hand weeding for two to three hours can facilitate even stranger topics. If you’ve spent any time at our farm stands or come to a CSA event over the years, you know I like to talk about food and politics. Simple work fuels complex conversations.
We focused on our head lettuce program this past spring and will continue to trial varieties that blend heat tolerance and maintain flavor. Our red butter head variety, Skyphos, was a real hit. I hope to implement a baby romaine program this spring. I like the convenience that mesclun mix brings to customers, but head lettuces bring better flavor with their center blanching, and far better shelf life.
Our sweet corn program suffered this year from poor pollination and raccoon damage. We will plant larger successions this season and implement electric fencing to keep those fury thieves out of the patch. It’s Ohio, we want our corn, we demand our corn. I hope to maintain a better patch in 2014. We will also be trialing popcorn in our patch for late season CSA offerings. I grew up eating lots of homegrown popcorn–it’s a real treat. I also have some interest in developing an organic corn meal offering in the future as well. It will take several years of seed saving to achieve a genetic stock base. We hope to keep a prized variety such as Northstine Dent, which yields some of the richest corn meal available.
We try to maintain a balanced soil and rotation here at the farm. This is difficult due to our need to grow many brassica crops for the CSA. We utilize a five-year rotation to minimize diseases like club root and black rot that can devastate important crops like broccoli and kale. We see the benefits of this rotation throughout the season on all of our crops, but especially the brassicas. Our fall cabbage, broccoli and kale exploded with vigor and quality. The broccoli leaves packed in so tightly that you couldn’t even walk through the patch. It was a wall of greens!
I hope we can have an even better 2014. We will welcome more work share members and put all of our efforts into quality and strong flavors.
Thank you for your membership and investment in our farm. CSA farming builds sustainable business, soil health and secures farmland for diversified production. We farm, we eat, we dream of a truly regional food system. It’s worth the effort…
Happy New Year,
PS: The 2014 CSA program is now open for enrollment. Click here to sign up today!
PPS: Our delivery locations have been set! The Dublin Farmers’ Market, The Hills Market Downtown, The Hills Market Worthington, the Worthington Farmers Market, Bexley, Clintonville, Little Turtle, and Upper Arlington are available for sign up.
PPPS: And finally, our annual CSA potluck has been scheduled for Sunday, March 23rd. Stay tuned for more details!