CSA Newsletter May 3rd, 2021

SUMMARY: Sixth WEEK of SPRING 2021! - EXTRA VEGGIES! - FARM CREW SPOTILIGHT - NEW* - NURSERY SPOTLIGHT- ACI DONATION UPDATE AND DONATE TODAY! - DID YOU KNOW? - LOCATIONS AND TIMES - WHAT TO EXPECT THIS WEEK - WHAT TO EXPECT NEXT WEEK

Week 6 - The SIXTH Week of SPRING CSA 2021!

(check out that hail!!!)


HELLO DEAR CSA MEMBERS!


Well there is definitely light at the end of the tunnel, but boy oh boy if this isn't just another week to whine about the weather! (Well, I have to have something to write about 😂, and the weather never disappoints in that area🤣!)


The crops for this week and for next week are going to be slim pickin's as we try to eek out a few more nice shares...but there's still snow on the ground - a lot of it! Last week we got absolutely hammered by hail - 5 inches of it (see video above)! Then today we are getting hammered by snow - another 3 inches. Not only is there a lot of snow, but the temps are still freezing at night! To put it into perspective: Last year we had our tomatoes for the last weeks of May, this year they won't come until July.


The truth is, however, that this weather is actually more "normal" and what Colorado SHOULD expect. It's better for the soil and the water tables and for the ecosystem as a whole. It's also more historically normal - but compared to what we have been able to do the last few years, it really hurts one's expectations (more on this below in this week's "Did You Know."). The reality is that if I didn't complain, you probably wouldn't notice - as your feedback has been so positive! Quite frankly, these Spring season CSA shares have been fairly nice and most of you, the members, have been happy. Yes, it has not met our expectations and the season isn't going according to plan, but it hasn't been all doom and gloom - it just feels that way, from my perspective, due to my expectations. No, it's been a fine season, particularly for Colorado and especially considering the weather. If I could predict the weather, than I would have planted more quick-crops, but I can't and that's life. So far, for Spring, we have had turnips, beets, carrots, radishes, scallions, dill, mint, basil, parsley, lettuce, cilantro, arugula, sunflower shoots, microgreens, claytonia, spinach, kale, swiss chard and more. That's quite the selection - especially for local Colorado 🤩 !


So, that's Spring - not the best season, but not bad at all and still plenty of time to go. As for Summer, well, it's shaping up to be an absolutely amazing one! We have tons of varieties planted already, and they should all be ready right around the same time - Summer! From loads of carrots to peas to lettuce and cucumbers, tomatoes and basil and so so so much more! We have hundreds of squash and pumpkin plants going in the ground in a few more weeks and we have loads of beans, watermelon, cucumbers and potatoes to go in soon too! We also got in 16,000 onions planted on Thursday and they are looking awesome!


So, in short (or long!), things are still a struggle through the Spring, but things are looking up - we know that Summer has to come some time, and when it does we will not only be ready, but we will most likely be ready to knock it out of the park with a TON of veggies! Come on Summer - we need your heat!


See below for event updates, new articles and announcements!

Enjoy your share this week and don't forget to join the fun and share your recipes and pictures in the Facebook Community Group

 

Volunteering

You've asked for more weekend volunteer opportunities, so we've scheduled some! Spend a Sunday afternoon with us from 1PM - 5PM once a month. See above for the dates and times.


Want to volunteer? Simply e-mail our amazing Administrator, Bekka at aci@ahavahcommunity.org to get more information and to sign up!

 

EXTRA VEGGIES and PLANTS FOR SALE


Spring extras have been lacking, but more and more will be coming as the harvests get larger and larger. Keep an eye out for your favorite veggies for sale!


DON'T FORGET: SNAP MEMBERS ALWAYS RECEIVE 50% OFF!!

&

As always, all prices are

"Pay-What-You-Can-Afford."


👀GARDEN PLANTS ALSO QUALIFY FOR SNAP AND 2x DOUBLE-UP BENEFITS!!!👀


For Payment:  Cash or Check at the drops or the balance can be sent via PayPal to contact@ahavahfarm.com or via Venmo to Ahavah Farm, LLC or by paying with credit card over the phone.

 

SUMMER SHARES STILL AVAILABLE - FALL NOW OPEN.

THERE ARE PLENTY OF SUMMER CSA MEMBERSHIPS AVAILABLE AND WE MUST SELL THESE SOON! Please share with your friends, neighbors and family!


Go to www.ahavahfarm.com/csa to sign up.


If you are not an auto-renewal member and have not signed up for Summer, but want to save 5%, please e-mail Havah at contact@ahavahfarm.com to be placed on auto-enrollment and automatically save 5% every season.

 

ATTENTION AUTO-RENEWAL MEMBERS:

Your automatic renewal will be charged on May 10th , 2021 for the Summer 2021 season. Please make any changes or request known no-later than May 7th. If you would like to change your share size or pickup location, or if you would like to change your Market-Style / Traditional style share or for any other requests, please send them to contact@ahavahfarm.com before May 7th. Thank you.


The following are the amounts to be charged:

Large - Cost $602.49 minus 5% discount. Amount to be charged: $572.36*

Medium - Cost $468.60 minus 5% discount. Amount to be charged: $445.17*

Small - Cost $334.72 minus 5% discount. Amount to be charged: $317.98*


*(Delivery members will automatically be charged an additional $117.00 (orig. $130.00) for a full season of door to door delivery)


*If you are paying cash or with SNAP there is an additional 2.99% discount for either of these methods.

 

DID YOU KNOW?

This week I want to talk to you about seasonal agriculture and what we can expect to grow, reasonably, all year round - and how we do it.


Now, there are a lot of factors to take into consideration. Weather patterns are never predictable and pests are not either. The only predictability we have is macro - things like Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. What does that really mean? LOL, well, not much around here😄! It means we can generally agree that there won't be any snow in August or that it won't break 100 in January (though both of those...you never really know either!!🤣).


See, when we moved here we were told, clearly, how difficult it was to grow here - not just in Colorado, but HERE, like in Peyton. Well, we took a chance and we are glad that we did, however, there was a lot we didn't know about the unpredictability of the weather (and we are still learning!). We are at 6,500ft elevation on the plains - that's over 1,000 ft higher than Denver! Peyton is essentially the high-desert with only 12 inches of rain on average and wind that doesn't let up (not to mention the hail and short growing season!)! Well, we did in fact meet our match, and we learned quickly that to grow here we needed to be creative (in year 2 we got obliterated by hail)!


The answer: Hoophouses! Hoophouses allow us to grow all year round, and it helps us to be more "predictive" of the weather. Having a film of plastic over the crops saves us from hail and from too much rain and from too much sun-scald. However, hoophouse growing has it's problems too and it doesn't solve all of our problems: pest pressure can be exacerbated, disease can thrive and it's not an all together protection either (it gets just as cold in the houses as it does out - imagine going outside with just a sheet of plastic on, it wouldn't help much!😆).

The unpredictability is certainly the most difficult part, particularly with a 4-season farm. Since we have started this farm, almost 7 years ago, we have experienced nearly every record you can imagine: 1. Coldest Spring, Winter, Summer and Fall 2. The worst hail in Colorado history. 3. The wettest Spring. 4. The snowiest winter. 5. Wind records. 6. The hottest Summer ever. 7. The warmest winter ever. 8. The worst drought ever. 9. Bomb Cyclone Ulmer...and more. You get the point: There is nothing we can predict, but hoophouses can help us be a little more accurate (heck, without them, I don't think we would still be here). There is a quote from the Bible that I love: "Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant. If they watch every cloud they never harvest" - Ecclesiastes 11:4. We learned quickly that there is no such thing as perfect weather, so having the hoophouses really helps with this aspect of farming. Having hoophouses allows us to avoid the terrible micro-weather so we can get our crops in earlier than usual and also to keep them later than usual. Having hoophouses allows us to have a little more stability (and security) throughout the season(s) and also helps to us save water and fertilizer too and the hoophouses also allow us to grow cold-hardy crops in the winter (things like kale, spinach and carrots).


So hoophouses can help a lot and they can extend our season and protect our crops, however, in a year like this year, there's only so much we can do. Soil temperatures are down and seeds are taking an extra week to pop. The sun is not out and the crops that are growing, are taking forever to be ready for harvest! So here we are with thousands of carrots, beets, scallions, turnips and more in the ground, ready to grow, but the sun and the temps just aren't having it and they are staying itty-bitty and not ready to harvest! So what is growing? Well, lettuce. Lettuce and kale and greens are growing...that's it. Anything that requires a lot of energy, like root vegetables and fruiting vegetables, they are only growing their tops - and they are taking much, much longer than usual to harvest.


As for the crops outside? Forget it! The ground is still frozen in places and the hail and snow is killing everything - you should see how terrible our garlic and chives look after the hail (both planted outside!). We need to prepare the potato-beds and about 75 more outside beds, but the ground is not ready and the weather is too cold (particularly the nights are in the teens still).


So where does that leave us? At least 6 weeks behind - that's where😣 ! Well, we have done everything we can do (as humans)😄 . Truthfully, there isn't much more we can do, or could have done for a better, more productive season. We are currently (nearly) fully seeded and planted in the hoophouses, and we do have some beds outside planted (like the onions, garlic, chives and mint), but the rest simply is delayed due to the weather. Same with a lot of the hoophouse plants and our warm-season plants. While in the nursery they didn't get the sun, so they didn't grow fast enough and the weather is so cold outside that they simply can't go in the ground yet (even in the hoophouses). So, while we wait for hundreds of beds to start producing, and for the weather to start improving, we are filling up the nursery and waiting and we are harvesting what we can for the members. Things like kale and lettuce and some other cold-season veggies are all we have right now, and it's a tough pill to swallow. It's one of the toughest seasons we have had, but we will come out of this and summer will show it's face and we will move on and have an incredible season - in fact, I am 100% sure of this! Summer is going to be off the charts and it is most likely going to be even more abundant than last year - so don't worry yet!!!


So what to expect moving forward:


I have to be honest and tell you that am not expecting to have a thriving May. Last year we had tomatoes the last week of May, this year I don't see tomatoes coming until mid to late June. That goes for other warm-season crops as well, like squash, peppers, cucumbers and more. For May we can expect smaller-sized CSA's, with mostly greens. Anticipate more microgreens and sprouts as well as radishes, turnips, carrots, kale, swiss chard, garlic greens, herbs like chives, mint, basil and dill, lettuce, mustard, arugula and fennel. Once June comes around we should have a similar selection, but with a lot more bulk and we will also have a lot more beets and scallions at that point as well and of course the summer veggies will be coming in mid to late June as well. Then, as summer starts to shine it's face we will start to see the tomatoes and squash, cucumbers and tons of beets, carrots, turnips, cabbages, onions and so much more. I think it will be an abundant summer, I really do. I just think we have to get through this yucky, slow and cold season first🙄.

 

🔦 Ahavah Community Initiative SPOTLIGHT 🔦

As you know, Ahavah Community Initiative loves to donate free food to those in need. But did you know that ACI is all about education and outreach too (see our class schedule below)!?


It's true! We strive to put on as many events and classes as we have the bandwidth to do. Classes include kids education classes (like Tracy's Storytime class every month) and project classes for children (like this week's "Build a Herb Box" class). We also do in-depth, professional level classes (like last week's Nursery Management class, and next week's Biological Agriculture 101 class). We also really enjoy putting on educational tours and events and sometimes we even have school groups (like later this month) and kids camps come and stay on the farm or we go and visit your school or event (like Yosef did last month for a Girl Scout group). In short, education is a key component to Ahavah Community Initiative and it isn't slowing down!

This week, Asher did a great job teaching the "Mother's Day Windowsill Herb Box" class. This is a class he came up with on his own and he designed the box himself (you can purchase the box with or without the herbs here). The students all built a pine box stained with Organic whey-based stain and they planted four herbs in the box: basil, thyme, chives and oregano.



Interested in making a tax-deductible donation to ACI? Ahavah Community Initiative is registered as a 501c3 with the State of Colorado as a non-profit organization and all donations are tax-deductible.



CLICK HERE TO DONATE TO AHAVAH COMMUNITY INITIATIVE


Want to get involved with either ACI or as a volunteer on the farm? E-mail us to let us know. We are always looking for volunteers and we would love for you to join the party!

 

🚨CLASSES AND EVENTS!!!🚨

So many classes are happening this year and registration is filling up!! Go to www.ahavahfarm.com/classes and click on the calendar event to register. Don't miss them!