Tuesday, March 11, 2014

CSA subscriptions open for this year!

I've got a handful of new spaces open for this year's vegetable CSA. If you've ever considered joining a CSA for a season, this is the time to sign up! Joining a CSA supports local farming, contributing to a viable sustainable farming sector in Ontario.

A CSA subscription with Black Sheep Farm gets you 10 vegetable packages over a 20 week season from mid/late June to end of October/early November. Depending on how this spring progresses (if it ever comes!), the first vegetables will be ready to harvest in June. Seedlings will be starting this month at the farm, like onions/leeks, soon followed by tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and then the various cucurbits (cucumbers, zucchinis, winter squash, pumpkin). I look forward to seeing seeds come to life soon :)

The total cost for the season is $400 ($350 if you're local to the farm and come to the farm to pick up your package). Even though fuel prices are much higher now than when I started farming in 2009, I'm holding the CSA subscription price steady for at least another year.




I'm trying a few new vegetables this year, like arugula (a gorgeous variety called Dragon's Tongue) and rapini/Chinese broccoli. I'm also adding a couple new tomato varieties, called Indigo Rose and Nebraska Wedding. On the bean front, I'm adding a fresh green bean called Black Valentine Bean and a striped bean called Tongue of Fire. For winter squashes, I tasted Sunshine at a pot luck in January and was smitten by its wonderful taste and texture, so that's been added to the growing list too! For zucchinis, I'm going to try out a new yellow striped variety called Sun Stripe.

I've also picked up a few new tools for this year. I bought a stirrup hoe from Johnny's which I'm super excited about. I've been wanting one for years and hoping that a Canadian distributor would start carrying it (Lee Valley, the Hula Hoe doesn't quite cut it...), but finally broke down and ordered it from the U.S. this year. Now I have one more tool to counter all those weeds this summer! I broke my dinky little harvest knife this winter cutting through bale wrap on my hay bales for the sheep, so I decided it was time to get real harvest knives (not random kitchen steak knives). So from William Dam, I got their produce knife (kind of like a mini machete, only 8" instead of 12"+!) and a curved serrated blade that I'm hoping will be good for all those salad greens, baby chard, etc. Hopefully now, I'm all set :)

Now I just have to make a trip to pick up more row cover (damn flea beetles and cucumber beetles!) and some peat/grower's mix. I'm also on the look out for black lumber wrap (not the woven kind) and unprinted cardboard as mulch for the field under the hot crops (peppers/eggplant) and cucurbits. If this summer's going to be as cool as predicted, I'm going to have to figure out how to retain more heat in the field!