Monday, May 24, 2021

BGF NEWS - May 2021 - VOL. XLVI, NO. 7



Precipitation in the past month: 4.2"

Reading back over last month's newsletter, it is amazing to me how fast things change this time of year. After a very dry early spring, the past two weeks we finally started getting some rain, and now it seems as though it will never stop. Not that we're complaining, we were pretty desperate for moisture but a couple of weeks ago we were feeling pretty good about staying ahead of the weed pressure and now it is too wet to cultivate (or plant) and we are quickly falling behind. Ah well, such is the cycle of life on a vegetable farm! We did get lots done before the rains started. 

First snow peas of the season
All the onion family crops are in as are the early cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, chard, lettuce, celery and roselle, plus the first peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, basil and a variety of flowers. The earliest seeded crops are growing nicely including a variety of greens, peas, turnips carrots, beets and popcorn. The potatoes are up and the beans and edamame are just peeking out of the ground. The next big round of transplanting will include the tomatoes and summer squashes and as soon as the soil dries out a bit we'll be seeding winter squashes and melons as well as more successions of most of the direct seeded crops.

Aspara-sword practice!
It might be obvious from the list above, but we can't do all this alone and we are thrilled that the farm crew is back on full time hours again. 
These ladies can outwork just about anyone, including the farmHer in chief, and they do it with style, grace and a great sense of humor! I can't imagine farming without them.

Boris and his barber team
In addition to all the other tasks on the spring to-do list, it is also the time of year for shearing. Since we only have 3 alpacas, it isn't a huge deal but it does require time, preparation and some savvy 'paca catching (they hate being handled). We've used the same shearing team from Missouri since we got the alpacas and they do an awesome job! Shearing alpacas isn't like shearing sheep, unless the alpacas have been trained to stand for shearing (usually show alpacas) then laying them down stretched out like this is the safest and most humane way to shear. It looks a bit alarming the first time you see it, but it is quick, painless and efficient.

CSA 2021: The CSA is full and on schedule to begin deliveries on Tuesday, June 1st in Des Moines, Knoxville and on the farm. CSA members will receive an email from us later this week detailing the pick-up process and extra options available for each location.

VegEmail sales are back on the summer schedule of Saturdays from 10-noon. It's a perfect opportunity to get first choice at top quality, chemical-free produce and other farm-fresh products, like meat/eggs from Ebersole Cattle Co, while avoiding the crowds and parking hassles of the farmers market. Plus, in DM you can enjoy your favorite beverage from Peace Tree Brewing Co!

We've recently gotten a couple of questions about the difference between CSA and VegEmail. The quickest answer is that CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) is a subscription program where a limited number of "shares" are offered for pre-sale for the season. Members pay up front and then receive a box of produce weekly over the season. The box contents are chosen by the farmer.

VegEmail is our year-round custom delivery program. We send out emails weekly (bi-weekly in winter) with what is available for that week and customers can choose their items for purchase or can opt not to order for that cycle. Payment is made at purchase time.

Here's a quick comparison:

And speaking of VegEmail, just a reminder that our newest offering in that program is our U-Pick Yarn. The first Saturday of each month, we will bring our full yarn inventory for perusal and purchase along with the VegEmail orders in Des Moines. Keep an eye on the VegEmail announcements for more info. Next U-Pick Yarn date is Saturday, June 5th. Marion County or non-local customers can contact us directly for other arrangements.

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

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