Monday, January 27, 2020

BGF News - January, 2020-Vol. XLIII, No.3

What’s up on the farm?

Precipitation in the past month: Rain/Ice: 0.4"
                                                             Snow/Sleet: 18"

Boy were we spoiled by the December/early January weather! It was warm enough the second week of January that we were able to set fence posts to protect the mulched strawberry bed from marauding chickens! Seemingly, winter returned to the farm and we are feeling bit whiney about it. The dogs and alpacas don't seem to mind too much as long as there is plenty to eat but the chickens are pretty offended and don't really want to leave the coops in the snow. In protest of the weather, egg production has decreased a bit which we don't mind at this time of year with lower demand for egg sales. 

Chicken sledding party
We did manage to sneak away for 5 days to visit family in Colorado earlier this month. It was a great chance to take a breather and focus on something else for a change. Huge thanks to Jill's parents and our farm crew who took over the care and feeding of the farm, making it possible for us to go. Naturally, the weather took a turn while we were away so their jobs were made much more challenging.

Since returning home, the weather has driven us indoors for the majority of the hours of the day, so we are attending to the many annual tasks that this time of year brings. Website updates, farm crew meetings, seed inventory, placing seed orders and planning garden maps for the 2020 growing season are all on the to-do or recently done lists. Seed sowing hasn't started yet, but by the next newsletter it should be underway. Fiber work has just ramped up for the year and there will be LOTS more to come. Our fiber customers were so amazing this past season that our stock is very low. More spinning, more dyeing!

OK, enough talk about winter, let's think ahead to spring and the upcoming CSA season. Now is the time to sign up for the 2020 Summer CSA. Renewal emails have gone out to our veteran members and we will hold spots for them until February 14th, at which time we will open any available spots to new members. If you are a veteran 2019 CSA member and didn't receive a renewal email, please let us know ASAP and we'll get you the link. We wouldn't want you to miss out on the beautiful bounty of produce that we are planning for this season. If you would like to become a new member of our CSA or have questions, shoot us an email to mail@bluegatefarmfresh. com and we'll get you rolling.

We continue to do our bi-weekly VegEmail deliveries. Harvesting for these sales can be a bit tricky as we have to closely follow the weather forecasts to ensure we can harvest in a timely manner. With unheated high tunnels, the crops may be safe under their row covers, but if the air temperature isn't above freezing, we can't harvest. Then, in extreme cold, there is the challenge of getting the harvested crops down to the packing shed without freezing. We sometimes have to harvest several days ahead of a delivery and then transport the crops to the barn in our market coolers on a sled. It all makes for some interesting logistical gymnastics.

Remember, if you can't wait until spring for farm-fresh products, you can place a VegEmail order every 2 weeks  and we will deliver them to Des Moines, Knoxville or you can pick them up on the farm. Eggs, fresh produce, popcorn, jam 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 weekly 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 Indigo, Luci & Sky)