Momma pig had her babies this morning!
Momma pig had her babies this morning!
There is lots going on at Mendocino Organics as we prepare for the 2013 Vegetable CSA season, which starts next week. The climate is definitely changing and being less predictable, making crop planning and farming more challenging. As local farming changes because of this, we farmers will need to work with the community, like you, our CSA shareholders, to ensure longterm food security! We do not usually count on the late winter and early spring being so dry and warm. Cultivating and getting crops in the ground is usually challenging on the North Coast. This year, many farmers are needing to irrigate or were hoping for more rain, as the ground has been TOO dry to cultivate. We’re also going to be cutting our hay almost a month early this year.
Nonetheless, we are still on track for our first CSA harvest next week, and the crops are all doing generally well. We’ve been fortunate to hire a little part-time help from a couple young farmers in Potter Valley. They are helping us transplant crops and may work some harvests. One piece of equipment still on our wish-list is a transplanter. For now, we still transplant vegetable seedlings, alliums (onions, shallots), and potatoes by hand. It’s a big help getting all the crops out when we need them in the ground. Plus, we can provide some mentorship and a small source of income to these new farmers. Organic vegetable production is very labor intensive, so us two farmers and our one full-time employee need the extra help now that it is spring. We are also working with another young farmer to grow 1.25 acre of field corn – Oaxacan Green corn and Abenaki Calais Flint corn. We are growing it for nixtamal or masa, which you can use for tamales, tortillas, posole, etc. (This is outside of the Vegetable CSA…)
Our application to accept SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits has finally gone through at the USDA Food and Nutrition Service, but it will still be some time before we can process SNAP benefits (aka food stamps) for the CSA. For us to accept SNAP benefits, instead of paying upfront, those member will pay each week when they get their vegetables. If not this year, by next year, we hope to do much more outreach to SNAP users.
Next week, we expect to harvest lettuce, radishes, sugar snap peas, fava beans, spring onions, and various greens – your typical early spring harvest. We are starting to transplant greenhouse cucumbers and tomatoes to have some early for you. If you are unfamiliar or new to eating seasonally and locally, we hope these weekly newsletters will help you understand the unique climate of Inland Mendocino County. Our region, the North Coast, has a different growing season than other parts of California, like the Central Valley, Central Coast, or Imperial Valley. Most of the vegetables you find in the grocery store come from these regions that are typically drier than here and have a longer growing season.
We also aim to provide you with food preparation and meal planning tips in your weekly e-newsletter. Along with borrowing cookbooks from the library, we like to check out FOOD52 http://food52.com/ and the USDA recipe finderhttp://recipefinder.nal.usda.gov/ There are so many resources available online, and we’ll share with you our own experiences with meal planning with the weekly CSA share. Of course, don’t be shy – connect with your fellow CSA shareholders for ideas on using your veggies, and if you want to contribute something to the newsletter, feel free to contact us!
Just to refresh your memories – next week’s pick-ups will be
Ukiah - Westside Renaissance Market, Ukiah Valley Medical Center, Head Start on Orchard Street - Tuesday, May 21
Redwood Valley - Heart Arrow Ranch - Tuesday, May 21
Willits - J. D. Redhouse - Thursday, May 23
In the next couple days, we will be sending each pick-up site group an email with details relevant to your individual site, like specific times and how the distribution sorting system works. Remember, if you are planning on missing a pick-up anytime this season, please find someone to pick up your share for you.
Also, if you are interested in purchasing a 100% natural cotton tote bag (19″ x 15″ x 6″) with the Mendocino Organics logo, please let us know. They are perfect for carrying your vegetables each week! There is a quantity discount, so the price will depend on how many people are interested.
Just for fun – check out this fun infographic from the Union of Concerned Scientists explaining their vision of a healthy farm!http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_agriculture/solutions/advance-sustainable-agriculture/healthy-farm-vision/ Mendocino Organics strives to accomplish many of the aspects valued here for a healthy farm using agro-ecological practices…
Adam & Paula Gaska
We’ve been insanely, zanily busy! Getting crops in, keeping animals happy, but not keeping up with email or blogging, so thank you for your patience! Thank you, CSA members for supporting us this year! More to come later. Love, Adam, Paula, Lorenzo & the part-time crew
April 8, 2013 by pasm