Wednesday, May 17, 2017

BGF News - May 2017

Blue Gate Farm News – Volume XXXII, Number 5    May 2017

Weather notes:
Precipitation to date in the past month: Rain: 6.90”

What’s up on the farm?

May greetings  from the farm! It’s hard to believe we have turned that calendar page already, but I guess I probably say that every month, though especially this time of year. As I write this, I am looking out the office window on a sea of green. The sea image is furthered by the waves of rain that are pouring from the grey sky, leaving the distant, rolling hills looking like tree-covered islands. It’s a good day to be inside, writing a newsletter.

The rain is much on my mind lately (as in, the aggravation of it wakes me up at night). We have been “blessed” with just enough rain in the past month, that the fields just start to dry out enough to work and it rains again. We were able to get in a few rounds of cultivating and tilling in a few plots. Enough that most of the earliest seeds are sown including: kohlrabi, choi, braising greens, spinach, carrots, peas and turnips. We also got a bed of Napa cabbage transplanted and our big achievement of last week was prepping and planting about 3,300 row feet of potatoes. We finished that task about 2 hours before the rain started, and it feels like it has hardly stopped since then. We have taken advantage of the miserable weather to get another round of indoor chores done, like catching up on the weeding in the high tunnels and seeding the last big group of transplants including: okra, cucumbers, summer and winter squashes and melons. Now, in full disclosure, you shouldn’t think that these tasks got done singlehandedly, all of our Farm Crew are “on the ground” (often literally) and worked a big (and soggy) first couple of weeks. And then, last, but not least, there is Jill’s dad, who often takes on the bigger mechanical tasks for us…like doing most of the discing recently. There is no way we could get all this done without our fabulous and hardworking team.

BGF Farm Crew (L to R): Rebekah, Danielle, Hannah, Jen & Tahirih

Now, as soon as the soil dries out again we are ready to wage war on the explosion of weeds, especially chickweed that we are seeing. Then on to a marathon transplanting session of onions, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, chard, calendula, zinnia and anything else we can put in the ground! Last week we had our final VegEmail sale of the season, the annual shearing of the alpacas and the opening of the Downtown Des Moines Farmers Market! If you aren’t familiar with the market, it runs the length of Court Avenue in downtown Des Moines from 7am - 12:00, May through October. Stop by and see us in the double blue tents at 2nd & Court.

*Team Blue Gate-Market Opportunity*
Again, this year we are looking for a team of folks who love the market to join Jill in the BGF tent during the Downtown Des Moines Farmers Market season. We ask that interested individuals commit to at least 2 market dates over the course of the season and to be there for set-up, selling and tear down (basically 7am-12:30 or so). In appreciation for their time and efforts, volunteers earn a BGF T-shirt and a $30 credit at the booth that day. We had an awesome group of folks do this last year and everyone seemed to enjoy it. If you are interested in joining us this year, you can go to the online calendar (  and sign up for whenever works with your schedule.

2017 CSA Season
The first delivery of the 2017 season will be Tuesday, June 6th and membership slots are filling up. The Base CSA Membership is $500 for the 20-week season. We just sent out invoices in the past few days, so if you didn’t receive one, please let us know. Balance payments due on May 15th.

We will be sending out an orientation letter/email in late May to provide the final details and as a reminder that the deliveries will be starting. Pickup locations include Peace Tree Brewing Company-Des Moines (317 E. Court Ave), The Grand Theater (Knoxville) and at the farm.

We do still have some memberships at all delivery locations available (Des Moines, Knoxville & on-farm); if you know of anyone who might be interested, please share this info with them. You are our best advertising.

“Asparagus for all of us…” A number of members have already claimed their complimentary pound of asparagus. Remember this is included with your CSA membership and can be acquired at any of our VegEmail sales or at farmers market for as long as supplies last. If you haven't gotten yours, this Tues (5/2) at the VegEmail sale or Saturday at the downtown Des Moines Farmers Market would be perfect opportunities. We may be able to send out a bit of asparagus in the first CSA delivery, for those who can’t get to the earlier options, but no promises. It will just depend on the weather and the whim of the asparagus as to when it stops producing.

Finally, and certainly not the least important, we are happy to announce that we have a shiny, new, updated website. Thanks to our dear friend Annie at The Prairie Wordsmith, our whole image has been brushed up, shaken out and transferred over to a new platform. We are thrilled with the new digs and are looking forward to easier, more straightforward utility and cool tools to help us feature all our crazy farming adventures. It will also be the new home of our long-defunct blog, which is about to become the new framework for our newsletters. Look out current technology, here we come! You can check out the new home here:

Is a monthly newsletter not enough for you and you want to read more about our daily adventures or see pictures of the farm?  You can follow us on Facebook at Blue Gate Farm.

That’s about it this month, if you have any questions or comments be sure to let us know. 

Best from the farm,
Jill & Sean (and Blue, Luci and Indigo)

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