Tuesday, November 26, 2019

BGF News - November 2019-Vol. XLIII, No.1

Precipitation in the past month: Snow: 5.5"
                                                            Rain: 0.95"

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.

Our November newsletter from 2018 opened with the information that we had already had 20" of snow, which makes our little 5.5" so far this year seem a little more palatable, even if it is still significantly above normal.  We are thankful for many things this year, and less snow than last year is just one of them.

We are thankful for a time to slow down a bit. Not that a farm every really rests, but November is usually the time that the pace on the farm really starts to ease. 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 (again). The overnight record low of 3° on November 12th wiped out all of the remaining field crops, even with row covers installed.  We were able to get some of the turnips and the last of the carrots out right before it got so cold, but everything else was a loss. The high tunnel crops are well tucked in, but we didn't plan on needing them so soon, so many of them aren't ready quite yet. 

We spent a few hours in the past week clearing all of the row covers and hardware from the fields, since they are no longer needed. We also got the garlic planted and part of it mulched. Now we are waiting for another dry spell to be able to move big bales of straw to finish the mulching. 

Speaking of the high tunnels, we are thankful that the big tunnel is recovered and nearly finished, with just a few small details to complete. The small tunnel is still limping by in post-tornado form, but the crops inside don't seem to be offended by the conditions.

Storm recovery continues on the house. We are VERY thankful that the exterior structure is done and the siding replaced. Most of the insulation in back in and part of the drywall and painting are done. There is still plenty to do and it will be nice to have our house back in order over the winter.

We are at the mid-season mark for the indoor winter market. The November market was the first at the new location in HyVee Hall. There were some transitional challenges, but it was a great market overall and we look forward to a smoother process for the December markets on 12/13-14. 

We've also started our VegEmail season deliveries every 2 weeks to Des Moines and Knoxville. We will continue to do these sales every two weeks until the start of market season, with an extra week in between for the Christmas Holidays. Our next delivery is 12/3 and the order form for that will go out in the next day or so. If you aren't receiving the VegEmail order form and you would like to, just fill out the form here: 

VegEmail Sign Up

Last week marked our annual "freezer camp" when we cycle our old laying flock out for younger birds. Due to greatly increased demand, the processed stewing hens sold out almost immediately. We were so surprised by it, we didn't even manage to set any aside for home use. Ah well...next year. The chicken coops have been moved to their winter location and we spent yesterday morning cleaning the coops with the crew. It isn't anyone's favorite job but it has to be done. The replacement flock arrived today from the Amish farmer who starts our birds . The new ladies look great and are already laying, so we're hoping for a minimum of interruption in our egg availability. We were thankful to have a full week of "vacation" from chicken chores, but are also glad to be back in the egg business. 

Most of all we are thankful for the privilege of living here on this beautiful farm, raising tasty, healthful produce. We couldn't do it without our amazing family, customers, members and community supporters. So we are thankful for you! May your Thanksgiving be filled with a bounty of delicious foods shared with the ones you hold dear.

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