We are starting to get excited for our 2009 season. We can’t believe we are only 2 months away from going to our first farmers’ market this spring. If all goes well, we are aiming for the first couple of weeks in April. Most of all, we are hoping that we get some snow and moisture some time soon. It has been such a mild winter so far. I mean, it was almost 70 in Ashland the other day!
There is still room in our CSA, but we are filling fast, so don’t forget to sign up!
We’ve been working in the greenhouse alot so far this year. This is one of my most favorite parts of the year. Starting seeds in the quiet of winter. I think we have started over 20,000 onions & leeks. We found that we just didn’t grow enough of these last year and with our increase in markets this year, we are bumping up these 2 crops. Now, we just have to find the space to plant them. We are currently working out some leased land agreements, so they should find a home before planting time.
The first round of salad mix, spinach and bunching greens have germinated and will hopefully be ready to go out into our new hoophouse by the end of February. This will be our first year experimenting with season extension with a really large hoophouse. We hope to do early greens followed by early greenhouse tomatoes. We learned last year that because our site is a bit cooler at 1,800 feet, we rely on season extension for quicker maturity on a lot of crops, especially the warm loving vegetables like peppers & tomatoes.
Josh is about to start a four-week class on designing a farm mentorship, so that we can be better farm mentors for our interns this year. We are so excited about teaching eager, young new farmers and hope we can design a really productive and interesting learning and work experience for folks this year. We are increasing our labor this year to three interns who live and work on the farm. And then adding an hourly laborer to help with weeding and harvesting. We are expanding our markets this year, so we definitely need more help.
We are curious to see how the recession is going to impact our farm this year. We were astounded at the support of our farm in last year’s market season and we look forward to seeing everyone again this spring.
I have posted some new pictures here of our new pastured poultry Eggmobile! We finally got all 200 hens on pasture and the results have been amazing. The egg yolks are so beautiful and richly orange this time of year. We are looking at leasing more land next door to increase our pasture abilities for the hens. Right now, they get about a 1/4 acre in space to wander and eat bugs and grass. It took them a few days to get used to their new house — Josh was out there every evening putting the hens into the house for the night, but they have finally got the hang of it. Josh has been diligently researching alternative poultry rations and has found a farmer who might contract with us to grow certified organic grains for the flock. Josh is going to be talking at the OSU Extension Small Farms Conference in a few weeks about this very same topic. Go to this link if you want to hear him speak: http://smallfarms.oregonstate.edu/.
I spoke on panel last night on local farming and climate change in Grants Pass. That was a pretty interesting discussion. The questions went all over the place from GMO canola to horse farming. I had fun.
There’s the update. I love this time of year.