Twas the week before first pick-up…

This week has been a rather full and busy week preparing for our first CSA distribution day! On Monday, we did some hard core cleaning on our harvests bins and our seeding trays.

Tuesday was the first class of our 2015 apprentices. And boy do we have a large group! It is exciting to see so many students that are interested in farming and it will surely be a big help in getting things done around the farm, especially on harvest days.

With all the help we’ve had the past few days, we have gotten some much needed weeding done in our carrots.
Here are some of our apprentices already working out in the field, weeding carrots:

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Wednesday we got in our netting for the cucurbit field, to protect the squash, zucchini and melons from insect pests.This netting is better than the Remay cloth covering that we use because it lets in more light and air, while the holes are small enough to keep even the flea beetles off of the crop, and it seems to be a bit sturdier and won’t tear as easily as the Remay. We will be leaving the netting on until the squash, zucchinis and melons start to flower. It was a big job unfolding the netting into the field, but luckily we had plenty of help! Below are two of our apprentices this year, Whit and Trey unrolling the netting.

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And here is the field being covered with the netting.
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We are so excited to begin harvesting for you all and look forward to seeing you next week!

Until then,

your 2015 CSA farm crew.

Meet Your 2015 CSA Farm Crew.

Last week, as has become tradition, we took a staff photo for our potato planting. You may recognize many familiar faces from years past.

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From left to right:

Aaron is returning for his third year working at the CSA. When he’s not working at the CSA, he’s mowing lawns, teaching philosophy, or brewing beer. Staying true to his philosophic background, he likes to make us all think by asking really great questions; that or he’s good at making us all laugh. We also think he secretly lives at Country Boy Brewing.

Katie was an apprentice in 2012 and farm staff in 2013. She spent 2014 working on a dairy farm in Wisconsin, and acquired other useful skills like food preservation and soap making. After a stint at making beautiful flower bouquets with a local florist, Katie is back to work on our CSA and will be writing the newsletter for our CSA members.

Alex was an apprentice on our farm in 2014, and has the distinction of being the tallest crew member. He is graduating this month with his degree in Sustainable Agriculture. While he only completed his apprenticeship last year, he already knows the true meaning of farm work thanks to previous employment at Elmwood Stock Farm. After his season here, he plans to return to his home state of Virginia and continue to work in agriculture.

Tiffany is our tireless and inspiring CSA manager. 2015 is her fifth season managing the CSA. She is doubly busy because she is close to finishing her Masters degree! Her thesis will be an extension of her work here, embodying her continual striving for farm excellence, efficiency, and good economic sense.

Kristi was an apprentice in 2012 and has been on the farm staff ever since. This time last year she was 8 months pregnant; she now has an 11 month old daughter and is very glad to not be pregnant while working in this 2015 May heat wave. Kristi also takes most of the farm photos on the farm’s flickr page.

Not pictured above is Robert, who is helping us part time when he is not working on a local horse farm. He became famous last fall when he got bit by a poisonous snake at the Gorge. He now has anti-venom in his veins, and hopes to join the Peace Corps later this year.

We are all looking forward to getting to know our CSA members — YOU!

Early May at the Farm.

Finally, the sun is shining, the fields are drying, and we are busy planting!

The spring transplants are starting to take off after a brief transplant shock. We can see kale leaves growing and small kohlrabis starting to bulb up.

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Our field of garlic overwintered fairly well, especially considering the winter we had this past year. Students from the College of Agriculture came to the farm recently to sow cover crop seed in the aisles. This cover crop has now produced a nice, lush, green carpet that is outcompeting the weeds between our rows of garlic.

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This week, we had two big planting events. We transplanted our tomatoes onto black plastic. The black plastic helps to heat up the soil for warm-loving tomatoes, while also cutting way down on our weed pressure. Our tomato varieties for 2015 include Big Beef, New Girl, Amish Paste, Speckled Roman, German Johnson, Persimmon, Pineapple, Black Velvet, and Cherokee Purple.

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We also planted an entire field of potatoes with our five full time staff members. We have two rounds of potato plantings, but for the first round, we planted Kennebec, Chieftain, Magic Molly, and Salem.

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Next week, we hope to plant peppers and corn!

CSA Fliers are up!

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We are a little over half-way to our CSA member goal and have hung our new fliers around campus to make a push on member sign-ups.  Do you want one near your office or break-room?  Let us know (uk.csa@uky.edu) and we will bring some for you to hang up.  The best advertisement we have is word of mouth from past CSA members.  Help us share our CSA with others!

As a reminder, there is a list of other CSA’s in the Bluegrass region above in the “Join our CSA” tab.

 

 

Spring is here

With two months until our first delivery, we are gearing up for field planting soon–although we have been busy in the greenhouse getting transplants ready since early February, the CSA crew is ready to get their hands dirty (with real soil and not potting media!).  Crops planned for planting in April include: onions, herbs, broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, beets, carrots, spinach, salad mix, radishes, turnips, arugula, kale, collards, chard, kohlrabi, and more.  We are also getting many summer crops started for planting in May: including tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, squash, sweet potatoes, potatoes, beans, corn and just about anything else you can think of.

Spreading compost, marking field corners, greasing equipment, buying supplies, creating field plans, and marketing are just a few of the many tasks that keep us busy during the winter.  But, what we really want is to put a plant in the ground and feel the warm spring sunshine on our faces.  Come on spring, we are ready.

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This is a brand new chisel plow that the farm bought over the winter.  We used it early last week on the fields with winter-killed oat residue to break-up the surface of the soil and hopefully speed-up soil drying.  If the soil is too wet, we can’t plant.

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This field is winter wheat, another type of cover crop that does not die over the winter.  It is both greener and taller than it was a couple of weeks ago–a sure sign that the warmer temperatures are encouraging the start of planting-season.

Good Food Jobs Contest Winner!

This past fall, we participated at the farm in a contest hosted by Good Food Jobs known as the GoGastroGnomes contest.

What exactly is a gastrognome? The Good Food Jobs folks define a gastrognome as a “jovial individual whose main purpose on earth is to connect people who derive pleasure from good food.” The contest they hosted involved getting a gnome and photographing the gnome on various food-related adventures, connecting people across the nation who are involved in the sustainable food movement.

Some of you may remember seeing the gnome visit our distribution site and make numerous appearances over on our Instagram feed.

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As a result of our gnome food adventure photographs, we were awarded second place in their contest!

This was our winning photograph:

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Click here to read their full report on the contest winners. You can also view other contest entries by searching on Instagram using the hashtag #gogastrognomes

Thank you, CSA members and staff, for being a part of our band of “jovial individuals” who derive pleasure from good food — both growing it and eating it!

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