Every year in February, we retreat to Breitenbush Hot Springs in Detroit, Oregon with 50+ NW organic vegetable farmers. It is sometimes our last trip away from the farm until August or September and we always come back with so many new ideas and tips to try out on the farm. We also get some nice soaking and sauna time which is so relaxing. The retreat is facilitated by farmers with farmers setting the agenda. It is quite unique. My favorite session, of course, was HR and Employee Management, which is a topic near and dear to my heart, while Josh’s favorite was a highly technical session about harvest yields and speed. Yes, probably boring for you, but interesting for us as we figure out how to make our systems more efficient and profitable.
This next week, we will plant out all 3 high tunnels with greens, radishes, peas and other spring vegetables. We will be experimenting a bit in these this spring to see what other season extension boundaries we can push this year. Josh is also putting the finishing touches on our second propagation house with new end walls, doors and new tables. A long time coming. Major seed starting begins as well — brassicas, onions, salad, herbs, etc. etc. It is also the time of year that we get ourselves organized with calendars, work plan lists, logs and other recordkeeping so that it is all underway when the madness of spring hits. I can sometimes feel frenzied at this time of year with all that is floating around in my brain – the list of things to do is long – so it helps to get everything on paper and in calendars so we don’t overstress ourselves. Ah spring!
As this is the last CSA box for the winter season, we wanted to let you know there are a number of ways you can continue purchasing Barking Moon vegetables.
- Purchase a market share and shop with us at the Saturday Grants Pass market, Saturday Ashland market and the Tuesday Ashland market. We start up on Tuesday, March 13th. You can start using your card then. Purchasing a market share card early in the season helps us fund employees and seeds and fertilizer at a time when there is not an early cash flow. It also allows you to receive abundant season discounts.
- If market shopping isn’t possible for you and you enjoy the CSA model, think about joining the Siskiyou Sustainable Cooperative CSA. We have a new website (soon to be launched…check in the next couple of days): www.siskiyoucoop.com. The CSA doesn’t start until June, so you can combine a Barking Moon market share card with your CSA membership. Find out more about the CSA at the website.
- We will start selling produce to the Ashland Food Cooperative and Medford Food Cooperative as soon as we have enough quantity to supply the stores. This is usually around April.
In Your Boxes:
- 1.5# Braising Mix
- 1/2# Salad Mix
- 5# Carrots
- 1# Leeks
- 1# Shallots
- 1# Yellow Onions
- 3/4# Spinach
- 1 Daedon Cabbage — This is a hardy winter cabbage — a beautiful red savoy with green interior leaves. Sweet and delicious.
- 2# Mixed Potatoes
- 1 bu Mustard Greens or Arugula Rapini — We love this time of year as brassicas go to flower and it is time to harvest the flowering brassicas for what is called “rapini” or “raab.” If you haven’t ever cooked with rapini or raab, you are in for a treat! Don’t be confused that we put in a flowering leafy green in your box! It really is a most delicious vegetable and treat. As spring markets begin, you’ll find a lot of different types of rapini on our table – collard rapini, cabbage rapini and kale spring flowers. You simply have to heat up a small amount of olive oil in a pan, chop up the leaves and the flowers and saute until wilted with a little salt and pepper. So so good! Here’s a link about rapini: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rapini. Also check out this blog post from our fellow farmer friends, Casey & Katie Kulla at Oakhill Organics all about rapini: http://www.oakhillorganics.org/?p=910.
Thank you again for your membership and support this winter season. It has been quite an adventure supplying all of you with winter vegetables. We have enjoyed it immensely. We have so many ideas for new crops to grow this season for our winter CSA. As well, stay tuned for a CSA survey to come your way in the next few weeks. See you all again soon!
Best to you,
M, J, E & A