Whew!!! What a year…
Probably the most compelling aspect of this past growing season to me was my crew’s tenacity. We started with a whole new profile of workers at the farm here in Fremont. It was remarkable that our crew learned so quickly. We battled rain and then more rain from late May through mid-July. Many of our new staff had never worked on or seen an organic operation. Hoeing and hand weeding were very difficult due to the sloppy conditions. I’m really proud of them, they put up with my perfectionist attitude through many days and difficult weeks. Adam Utley, our previous production manager and I had worked together for five seasons. Getting to know and work with new people is tough and our Wayward expectations are always at the highest level.
I think new beginnings are one of the joys of life. This farm just absolutely exploded with production in our first year here. I don’t know if it was the nine years of experience, the nervousness of potential failure or maybe the longer distance to our markets in Columbus. We made our days long and steady, and Mother Nature repaid us with our best fall brassica production ever. Thanks again to our crew. I hope they get some rest this winter–it’s well deserved.
I also want to thank all of our members who have stuck with us through good seasons and the ones that have been tough. I think we are starting to make some real breakthroughs in our ability to produce consistently from year to year. This has only been possible through your direct investment in our farm. CSA is indispensable to the organic movement. With Wayward turning 10 years old in 2016 (10 YEARS OLD!!), it brings on a lot of emotions. We have a lot to be proud of, we have come a long way from our first season farming 1 acre. But mostly, it’s how we supported each other through success and failure that keeps this thing heading towards something more impactful. In the early years, I used to think about how to grow more, to make all of you happy and satisfied by bounty. These days I think about the soil more, and I’m less stressed about growing things. It’s now about making the system better, it’s about growing soil. And in Fremont the soil is as close to perfection as it gets.
A few highlights and notes from this season:
Now that we have established our rotation at the farm, we can incorporate our fertility program more fully. We are managing 32 acres of alfalfa hay and vegetables at the farm in Fremont. We have a six-year rotation and intend to farm vegetable for four seasons with two full years out of production in cover crops. After two years in vegetable production, we will add 20 tons of compost to maintain organic matter for the final couple of years in veggie rotation. We should be able to maintain some dynamite soils with this concept. The other reason for a six-year rotation is to mitigate disease, pest and weed pressure on the farm. Crops like tomatoes and cole crops need lots of time between production years to prevent disease pressure. It has taken years of observation, research and fine tuning to achieve this reality and I’m very proud of the crop rotation system we have developed.
Flat leaf parsley is probably the best looking crop we had this season or maybe the fennel from back in July? It’s a tossup. I know, parsley right? I’m telling you, I’ll take the Pepsi challenge on our parsley. I’m going to grow it commercially next season for our grocery customers. It makes the best walnut pesto!
We will probably start to have more tomatoes in the share in future seasons. We had a pretty good tomato year despite the cool weather. Heirlooms did pretty well and paste tomatoes did better than expected.
And yes…brussel sprouts and romanesco did well in our fall trials. Hopefully we can ante up for 2016 and continue to grow more of these gems. Speaking of the rarified air…I will be planting significant amounts of parsnips, parsley root and salsify next spring. I held off this past spring since it was our first season and I wanted to be extra careful with our weed control. That’s a very important key to success. Get your field clean in the first couple of years and then expand the crop list.
Thanks again to all of you for a great 2015 season. Here’s to 2016–Wayward Seed Farm is 10! What a ride……….
Sign up today to reserve your 2016 CSA share, and a discount! Details are below.
Account Management: http://www.farmigo.com/account/waywardseed
The 2016 CSA will remain the same, with one exception. New in 2016, we are offering a 5-Week Winter Vegetable Supplement. This share will feature 8-10 items each week, including only certified organic vegetables for $26 per week. The share will be delivered the weeks of November 27, December 4, 11, 18, and January 1.
And a discount? Yep! For all shares purchased and paid-in-full by January 15th, we will offer a $50 discount on weekly shares, $25 on bi-weekly. For weekly shares, use coupon code “Sign me up!” and for half shares, use coupon code “Sign me (half) up!”
Interested in our Multiyear CSA Investment option? Click here to read all about it!
As always, if you have any questions, please let us know. We have enjoyed feeding you, your friends, and your family for the last 25 weeks, and look forward to many more!
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