Tuesday, November 27, 2018

BGF News - November, 2018-Vol. XLI, No.1

Precipitation in the past month: Snow: 20"
                                                            Rain: 1.55"

What’s up on the farm?

Welcome to our November newsletter. We will publish these on a monthly basis until the start of the CSA season in June. Our goal is to give our members, customers and friends a window into our world on the "back-side" of the seasonal calendar. So grab a hot beverage, sit back and join us for a little tour of the farm this month.

Nov. 25th blizzard, 10-12" of fresh snow!

November is usually the time that the farm really starts to slow down. The regular farmers market season is done, the full-time crew is off and the field crops are mostly out. Somehow, even though all these things are true for the most part, it doesn't feel as "slow" as years past. The weather  has been a major contributor to this departure, in fact, likely THE major contributor. It has been unseasonably cold and snowy for November, we've already had more than 20" of snow, when the average for our area for the whole winter is 24" and we have had few days that even made it up to the average temperature. This has basically wiped out all of the remaining field crops, even with row covers installed.  The high tunnel crops are well tucked in, but it has been a challenge to harvest those as well, since we have no heated space for cleaning and packaging them. Mostly the unseasonable weather just means that everything takes longer to get done.

Despite the weather challenges, it has been a surprisingly productive month. Our VegEmail sales kicked off  the first week of the month with great response from veteran and new customers.  We then had our best ever November indoor farmers market last week, after which we drove home in the first snowstorm of the season. We got 7" in that little weather blip.

Amid the harvesting and market adventures, we sent our most recent flock of laying hens off to "freezer camp". Due to some scheduling challenges, our new birds didn't arrive until more than a week later, so it was strange to be a (nearly) chicken-free farm for a while. We did keep Qwerm, our rooster, and one little escapee hen who won the sweepstakes of having the rooster and coop all to herself for a week. The new girls arrived this week and had less than a day to settle in before the blizzard rolled in, bringing frigid temps along on it's coattails. This combination has led to some serious egg shortages, which our VegEmail and winter market customers will be dismayed to hear. Hopefully warmer temps and melting snow later this week will get the hens into the egg-laying mood!

Besides fun with the weather, we are stocking up for the Winter farmers market on 12/14-15 with more jam, yarn, dyed fibers and wool dryer balls. Finally one of our biggest challenges is keeping Sky entertained through all the weather challenges! Anyone ever lived with a puppy with cabin-fever? It isn't pretty! Indigo & Luci mostly just consider it bonus napping weather, but the puppy is another story. We are having to be very creative with toys and "indoor" training. Though that said, she is one hardy little pup. She never misses an opportunity to romp through the deep snow with the other dogs. She love to visit the alpacas too, though she still isn't quite sure about them.

Sky & Percy

We mentioned it in passing earlier, but did you know that we deliver farm-fresh eggs and produce all winter long? It's true! Through our VegEmail program you can custom-order our products every two weeks (Nov-April), to be delivered to Des Moines and Knoxville or picked up on the farm. 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 want to receive the VegEmail announcements, just fill out the form here: Mailing List and be sure to indicate which delivery location you prefer.

Is a monthly 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 this week, if you have any questions or comments be sure to let us know. 
Best from the farm,
Jill & Sean (and Luci, Indigo & Sky)