Friday, March 30, 2018

BGF News - March, 2018-Vol. XXXIX, No.3

What’s up on the farm?

Precipitation in the past month: Snow: 6.5"
                                                            Rain: 1.25"

Well, we very nearly missed getting a March newsletter out, but we are sneaking one in at the last minute! Every year I am amazed at how quickly the seasons morph from the relatively sedate pace of winter to the raucous dance that is spring on the farm.

Got my spring "dancing shoes" on!

Garlic sprouting through the straw mulch

So now here we are, firmly entrenched in Mud Season and making every effort to work our way through the chores of Spring. Outside, the soil and temperatures are still too cool and wet to do much work in the fields, other than sowing some oats and clover for cover crops, though the garlic doesn't seem to mind. In the high tunnels, we've started clearing the winter crops and prepping the beds for spring. The new crops of kale and chard are sown in the big tunnel with other spring greens soon to follow. 

In the sunroom nursery, things are starting to get serious. The allium (onion family) crops are the most cold tolerant, so they have moved out to the small high tunnel to harden off and make space for more tender seedlings. The sunroom shelves are loaded with herbs, broccoli, cabbage, chard, kale, peppers, eggplant, garden berries and lettuce. This week we will start more lettuce, herbs, cabbage & broccoli as well as tomatoes.

The nursery...waiting on warmer days.

March also marks the end of "fiber season" on the farm. Most of Jill's yarn and fiber work happens over the slower winter months. It is the time to dye, spin and knit to get stocked up for the farmers market and other fiber sales. It is also the annual Heartland Fiberpalooza fiber festival, which we have attended since its beginning 7 or 8 years ago. It is a great opportunity to get ourselves organized for the coming season and also to hang out with some of the fiber friends that we only see once or twice a year.
BGF fiber and Mom's GloryBe photo cards

One of the coolest things we got to do this month was participate in the release of a new Peace Tree beer that was "born on the farm." Last fall, Joe (the brewmaster) captured wild yeast here at the farm, which (rather miraculously) fermented into the most amazing beer. Talk about local foods! If you want to try it, it is available on tap at both the Des Moines Branch and Grinnell under the name "Spontaneous."

Beer, eggs & veg, all "born on the farm"

Speaking of local foods, let's chat about the CSA. There is still time to sign up for the 2018 Summer CSA. Veteran members should have received sign up information last month, so now we are opening all remaining slots up to new members. If you are interested in the 2018 CSA season, you can read more about it on our website at . If you are ready to join us for the upcoming season of veggie-adventures, you can get sign-up information here: Blue Gate Farm CSA Sign-up

If you can't wait until spring for farm-fresh products, we continue to do our VegEmail deliveries all winter long. Every 2 weeks you can order from our list of available products and we will deliver them to Des Moines, Knoxville or you can pick them up on the farm. Eggs, fresh produce, stewing hens, popcorn and herbs all rotate through our availability list until the start of the farmers market season. If you  aren't receiving the VegEmail announcements, and you would like to, just fill out the form here: Mailing List and be sure to indicate which delivery location you prefer.

And finally, we just attended the annual vendor meeting for the Downtown Des Moines Farmers Market. It is hard to believe that market opens in just 5 weeks!! Guess we'd better get busy!

Is an occasional newsletter not enough for you and you want to read more about our daily adventures or see pictures of the farm?  Follow us on Facebook at Blue Gate Farm and/or share your recipes, experiences and questions with other BGF members at Blue Gate Farm Community.

That’s about it for now, if you have any questions or comments be sure to let us know. 
Best from the farm,
Jill & Sean (and Luci & Indigo)