Sunday, February 21, 2021

BGF NEWS - February 2021 - VOL. XLVI, NO. 4


Precipitation in the past month: Snow: 21.5"
                                                            Rain: 0.35

Our alpaca bed & breakfast
Wow, what a month it has been! It's been a tough run on the farm but we know that so many of our friends both here and in the south have had it even worse. The deep cold sure makes everyone appreciate the return to more normal temperatures. We had 14 days of doing chores every 2 hours to make sure that all the animals had water to drink and to keep the eggs from freezing. 
Our hot water line froze in the middle of it, so all the water had to be warmed on the stove and then hauled out. It was a lot of trips across the field with the chore sled but everything survived so it was worth it. 
Indigo and the chore sled
The chickens were the least impressed with the weather and we went from getting six dozen eggs a day to a total of 5 eggs a day. Hm, that's not going to make anyone happy, but we expect those numbers to go back up fairly quickly as the birds regain some energy. 
Shallot seed germinating
In between chore runs and heating water, we were able to accomplish a few other tasks. The first rounds of seeding is well underway and the earliest plants are growing. So far we've finished sowing all the allium crops (onions, scallions, leeks and shallots), the early herbs, a few slow-growing flowers, and kale, chard and head lettuce for the high tunnels.
Baby chard plants
 Next up will be the cole crops (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower ect. While we're not ready for spring yet, it is lovely to start seeing things grow again.

VegEmail deliveries continue every 2 weeks and demand remains high for local farm products over the winter months. We were fairly sure that the extreme cold would bring an end to our winter greens production in the high tunnels. In fact, we didn't even go in to check over the past few weeks. 
Finally, as the cold broke, we dug our way in and were pleasantly surprised. We certainly lost some crops but tucked in under the row cover there was plenty of life.  So more greens to come! Whew!

And speaking of things to come, a couple of notes:
The Downtown Des Moines Farmers Market announced this week that they intend to open on schedule this May with reduced vendors and safety measured in place. We are already fielding questions from customers as to whether we will return to the market or stick with our VegEmail deliveries. The answer is that we aren't sure yet. To help us decide, we are asking for your help. We'll be sending out a quick survey to our local customers in the next week and you can let us know how and were you would prefer to purchase our products in the coming season. Your opinion is important to us!

And speaking of the upcoming season, let's talk about the 2021 CSA! Our veteran member sign up has finished and we have started sending out invitations to our waiting list for the unclaimed spots.  Huge thanks to those of you who have already responded and an additional farm-fresh round of applause to those who have already paid (that helps us cover all those new seeds!) 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.

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