Sunday, March 15, 2020

BGF News - March 2020 - Vol. XLIII, No. 5

What's up on the farm?

Precipitation so far this month: Rain:0.75"
                                                            Snow: 3" 

Image result for wwii posters

What times we live in. It is nearly a full time job trying to separate the fact from the rumors (on multiple fronts). Here on the farm we've been working on figuring out our plan of action as we move into spring mode. In the short term, I've determined that my philosophy will be one of solitary social solidarity. Be supportive to my community in whatever ways I can (which includes social distancing when practical), while preparing for a "normal" season of growing and providing safe, healthy food for our customers & members. 

The whole "support your community" concept reminds me of the WWII posters targeting efforts on the home-front. I can't do anything about the medical issue, but I can do this. 

So what does that mean specifically? In the past couple of years, I have participated in several different food safety trainings, these helped to hone our plans and procedures for handling your food in the safest way possible on the farm, from seed to delivery. Hand-washing and surface sanitation continues to be the greatest part of these policies. We continue to strive to update and improve our practices.

For the coming week, we will continue our VegEmail deliveries as planned. Note, as of now, we will no longer be accepting egg cartons, plastic bags or produce containers for reuse. Please recycle those items with your local recycling service.

If the health safety situation worsens during future ordering cycles we will look at making changes that may include a drive-through pick up so you don't have to exit your car thus mitigating your exposure to other people during the delivery. We may also go to a 100% electronic payment system so that we can all handle fewer "things" that might transmit illnesses (though this change would also mean an increase in our prices, so we'd rather not do it if we don't have to.) 

As we look towards the market season, who knows what may happen, but if market is compromised, we will plan to continue some version of our VegEmail system. If you have thoughts or concerns about how we might better facilitate these deliveries, please let us know.

The 2020 CSA season is on track to be our biggest season yet. We do still have a few spots available, but they are filling quickly. If you want to avoid extra trips to the grocery store or market this summer, let us cover your veggie-needs. More information and sign-up link available here: BGF CSA

We are pretty much on schedule with crops and preparations so far. We've seeded transplants for broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, chard , kale, head lettuce, herbs and edible flowers. This week we will finish clearing spent crops from high tunnel 2 and will sow peas and choi and get those kale and chard transplants in the ground. Last week we burned the asparagus patch and got cover crop seeded over the area just ahead of the snow. Perfect timing! We also got the finished compost pile turned and as soon as the fields dry out again we will spread compost and be ready for planting.

What can you do? Support your local small businesses. They will see the financial hardships first as behaviors change and events are cancelled. These businesses are unlikely to get any "bailout packages" from the government, so your support is even more critical. Buy gift certificates for later use or shop online locally, your favorite restaurants, artisans and vendors will thank you for it. Getting great local service? Share that info with your friends. And of course, stay home when you can and wash your hands! I'm personally going through a bucketful of my favorite locally-produced hand cream from our friends at Prairieland Herbs just from all the hand-washing!

Upcoming dates of note:
March 21: Heartland Fiberpalooza - Winterset, IA (update, we are NOT attending)
mid-April: CSA invoices go out
May 1: CSA  balance payments due
May 2: opening Downtown Des Moines Farmers Market
June 2: 1st CSA delivery

Need some inspiration for your day? Here's ours:
Mixed kale seedlings ready for transplanting in the high tunnel

 Staff meeting

I love seeing the different colors of sprouting celosia seeds
Is a weekly newsletter not enough for you? Do you want to read more about our life on the farm and see more pictures? Follow us on Facebook at Blue Gate Farm or on Instagram at bluegatefarmfresh. CSA members can also connect with other BGF members to share recipes or ask questions on our FB community page 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 the whole BGF crew)

Indigo, Luci & Sky