Saturday, December 19, 2020

BGF NEWS - December 2020 - VOL. XLVI, NO. 2

What’s up on the farm?

Precipitation in the past month: Snow: 3.0"
                                                            Rain: 0.4"

Happy holidays from all of us at BGF!

I know, I say it almost every winter newsletter, but I can't believe another month has already passed and now here we are looking at the end of 2020. I don't know that anyone will be sorry to see this one go, but if nothing else, the year has certainly been illuminating.

All tucked in for the night.
So what have we been up to in the past month? We finished up the harvest season in the field and have cleared *most* of the row covers and hardware. We did leave a few in place on some particularly cold hardy crops, just in case it happens to warm up enough that we might do a bit of harvesting later in the winter. You just never know! Our high tunnel crops are coming along nicely under their snug covers, though some days I feel like all I accomplish is opening the covers to let in the sunshine and then recovering the crops before the temperatures start to drop in the late afternoon.

Making chores more fun!
Daily chores take a bit more time now than in the warmer seasons. Eggs have to be gathered multiple times a day to ensure they don't freeze and snow makes things both easier and more challenging. And yes, sometimes after finishing chores I take the opportunity to hop in the chore sled for a little slide down the hill!

We are still harvesting and packing orders for our VegEmail deliveries every two weeks. It gets tricky with the colder weather and sometimes the walk-in cooler is the warmest place to pack and store orders, which seems a bit ironic. Our order volume continues to be brisk, so a couple of our crew members come in to lend a hand for harvest & delivery days. I really appreciate their help and company, otherwise I miss them all winter long!

Most of our other tasks these days are indoors. We recently finished our seed inventory and have nearly all of our seed orders placed. We just lack one company and the seed potatoes and we hope to get those done shortly. A few of our orders have already started arriving, so that is always a fun mailbox run. There is something so full of promise in a new seed packet! The rest of the time we are planning and prepping and attending virtual meetings and conferences.

Speaking of planning, it is time to move forward on the 2021 CSA season.  Given last year's unprecedented demand for CSA shares, we are reaching out early this year to ensure that we are better prepared for another rush on local foods. Veteran members can start reserving their spots this week. You should receive an email in the next couple of days with the details and a link to the sign up form. 2020 members will have until the end of January to lock in their spots and then we will open any remaining shares to our waiting list. If you are interesting in joining us as a new member this season, you can email us at and ask to be put on the waiting list.

Part of our planning for the upcoming season is the "Add, Stay or Go" list. Along with input from the crew, we look at crops, varieties, processes, tools and supplies, assessing which things we are interested in adding to the farm, which things to continue with and which things need to be retired. So far we are adding quite a few new flowers as we had good interest in our bouquets this past season. We are trying some new tomato varieties and retiring a couple that were underwhelming. We are continuing with our fabric mulch trials and plan to expand those into new areas this spring. There's at least one new potato variety, a return to a favorite green bean and experimenting with a couple new leafy greens. 

Our biggest change in the upcoming season is that we are fairly sure we are ending our time as egg producers. We know that this will be a big disappointment for a number of people, and we aren't making this decision lightly. We have kept chickens for 14 years and while we enjoy them and the luxury of having our own eggs, they are also an enormous investment of time and energy. Their schedule and needs rule the start and end of EVERY day on the farm plus some of the hours in between.  We have toyed with this idea for a couple of years, and looked at a variety of options for lightening our workload with them. However, this past year we lost both our source for new birds and our processor for sending our retiring birds to "freezer camp." We decided that this was the universe helping us to realize it was time to make the change. We will continue to offer eggs into the spring, but unless something unexpected occurs, we anticipate bidding our chickens farewell by the start of summer.
Some endings are beautiful!
That's about it from us this month. Thank you for making it all the way to the end of the newsletter and for joining us on all our farming adventures. It is such a privilege to live in this beautiful place and to raise safe, healthy food for so many amazing people. We wish you all the joys of the season and a bright new year!

Is a monthly 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

1 comment:

Rob Faux said...

Glad you had a good year at the farm!