Home > Uncategorized > Creek’s First Farmer’s Note

Creek’s First Farmer’s Note

April 19, 2013

Spring greetings to all new and old Brook Farm CSA members!

As Brook Farm CSA gears up for its tenth anniversary season, I wanted to take a moment from our busy days in the fields and greenhouses to share some exciting updates.

We are now harvesting the beautiful winter-grown salad greens from our high tunnel– spinach, baby kale, baby lettuce, some spicy edible flowers, and a variety of mustard greens– and selling them this weekend. We’re giving first dibs on those greens to you, our faithful CSA members who are the heart of our operation.  A limited quantity of Brook Farm eggs will also be for sale.  Please email us at BrookFarmProject@gmail.com to pre-order your greens.

The peas and asparagus have emerged! We look forward to offering them to you prior to the start of CSA farmshare distribution on June 8. It has been a cool spring, but still we expect to have asparagus by early May and peas by early June. The garlic is nearly a foot tall, and sprouts of newly sown spinach, lettuce, radish, turnips, and other greens line the beds, with beets and carrots already germinating underground.

We have finished construction of a new seedling greenhouse, and BOTH seedling greenhouses are already full with trays of transplants – one with warm – weather crops such as eggplant, tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, and basil, and another with cold-weather crops such as broccoli and cabbage. The hardiest plants, such as lettuce, scallions, and kale, are already hardening off outside. We have delayed transplanting them into the fields until this weekend’s low temperatures have passed.

Our farm plan for this season calls for cultivating more acreage with more varieties of vegetables than in recent years, as well as for developing livestock operations. Some chickens and quail are already settled in, and piglets and more will be arriving later in the season.  Fortunately we also have hired a larger farm crew that is wonderfully talented and experienced. All are from the region, and happily they have begun to arrive at the farmhouse just in time for the busy season. Dan Moon, the assistant farm manager, hails from Putnam County and earned his Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Science from McGill University in Montreal. He has completed several seasons both at a different local CSA farm, and as co-founder of Cardo’s Farm Project in Denton, Texas. Besides his extensive knowledge of soil science, irrigation, livestock, farm training and education, and volunteer management, Dan enriches our farm community with his wit, humor, musical skills, and community consciousness. Other farm crew will be welcomed in upcoming notes, but for more information, click the ‘About Us’ tab on the website.

One of the greatest gifts that comes with farming for Brook Farm CSA has been getting to know the dedicated community of CSA members, along with all the unique skills and strengths that each contributes. Our business plan for 2013 calls for a moderate expansion of the CSA community, and at this moment we have more members signed up than last season, and growing weekly. However, we have not yet reached our target number and are still accepting new (and returning!) members. Please tell your friends that anyone who signs up between now and May 15 will receive as a bonus a portion of snow peas or sugar snap peas in early June, and so will the CSA member who leads them to sign up!

We are continuing to develop Brook Farm’s special niche within the many excellent CSA farms in the area. This niche reflect Brook Farm’s unique heritage within a neighborhood of historic farms, and with strong ties to the Mohonk Mountain House, the Mohonk Preserve, Mohonk Consultations, and SUNY New Paltz. Specifically, we are committed to not only growing quality produce and livestock, but to exploring ever-more-sustainable place-based farm techniques, training local aspiring farmers, and providing the public with food-and-farm based programs and experiences. Our location in a creative hub of the Hudson Valley has nurtured a farm that is infused with creativity and the arts, especially music. Here are some of the ways your farmers and farm organization are working above and beyond the call of bounty to enrich the community and build its’ food system:

  • Harvest celebrations, such as our popular ‘Thanks to the Maple Trees’ Celebration with Wild Earth
  • Farmhouse concert series of progressive, farm-friendly musicians working for change
  • Monthly farm music jams on the first Sunday of every month school group farm education programs, such as our ‘Sustainable Farming’ programs with High Meadow School college farm education programs, such as our for-credit summer courses through SUNY New Paltz outreach at community and private sector events, such as the New Paltz Environmental Awareness and Sustainability Fair
  • Farm-and-food themed workshops such as our well-attended ‘Backyard Maple Sugaring’ workshop
  • Weekly ‘Worksong Wednesday’ crop mobs and Second Saturday volunteer work parties

Through these efforts, we strive to build a vibrant, many-layered, food-system-educated farm community that starts in the fields and farmhouse and radiates outward throughout the community, the region, and beyond. Mark your calendars now for our next big public event, “Sing In the Seedlings” Sale & Celebration on May 3, 4, & 5, a giant sale of our sustainably-grown vegetable, herb, and flower seedlings accompanying an entire farm-&-music themed weekend of family farm activities, music workshops and performances, and theatrical revelry. Evenings feature a farmhouse concert, a barn dance, a bonfire singalong, and more!

Finally, we give grateful thanks to all of the people that have carried Brook Farm along throughout the years (starting a successful farm operation is no easy task!) and left it poised for the fantastic start that we’re off to this season. We simply don’t have space to thank every deserving person in this first Farmer’s Note, but we are especially indebted to last year’s farm manager Joshua Passe who has been generous in every way during the transition, and whose effort created the fertile raised beds that are growing this season’s spring greens and garlic.  Gerow Smiley and Dan Guenther brought the CSA into being and have left it well equipped for its’ current work. Lastly, our highest gratitude goes out to all farmers that have ever put their love and their life into improving this land and this organization, as we do now, and all CSA members past and present that have supported it through their memberships and their service.

See you down at the Farm!

Farmer Creek, for the Brook Farm farm crew

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