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!
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 email@example.com 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
👀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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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!
Biological Agriculture 101 and beyond 5 Series of classes.– By Yosef Camire
* May 7th @ 10am
* June 4th @ 10am
* July 2nd @ 10am
* August 6th @ 10am
* September 3rd @ 10am
Cost: CSA Members: $12.50 (50% off) / $62.50 (50% off) for full series. Non-Members: $25 / $112.50 (10% off) for full series (Including materials)
Description: An in-depth look at biological agriculture and how it impact our planet, our health and our communities. This class is an interactive and hands-on class with some powerpoint class time and field time. Classes are approximately 2 hours in length and cover all the fundamentals and basics related to biological farming and gardening. A very valuable class for beginners and a great review for experts.
Class Length: 2 Hours
Tours are educational in nature and last for about 1 hour. We see all the facilities, walk through and see most of the gardens, test some veggies, meet the crew and learn all about regenerative agriculture and our growing methods. Tours have a suggested donation of $10 and is free for all CURRENT CSA members.
Next tour is scheduled for:
* May 11th @ 10am
EVENTS - Put it on your calendar!
Summer Festival, Sunday July 11th from 5pm to 9pm. More information and details to come.
Harvest Festival, Sunday October 17th from 5pm to 9pm. More information and details to come.
Go to www.ahavahfarm.com/classes to see the full calendar and to register for classes, events and tours!
AHAVAH COMMUNITY INITIATIVE
Oh the amazing power of community and crowdfunding!
Every week, at all of the CSA locations, we have a bin or jar that looks like this. We ask all of our members to bring just $1 with them every week to help support their fellow-members and community.
Bring $1 every week and be a part of supporting, directly, families in need.
Don't say your $1 isn't important! The only way crowdfunding works is if we all participate. Therefore, your $1 is vitally important and it is directly through this program that we raise the majority of ACI's food donation funds than any other fundraising program, and yet it is the absolute easiest for all of our members to participate!
Everyone can afford to Bring-A-Buck and if we ALL bring $1, the impact can be enormous - to the tune of feeding 1 family for an entire season for every single week we all participate!!!! WOW!!
🔦 The Farm Crew Spotlight🔦
(Continued from 4/26 - look for a new feature next week) Where do I even begin with singing the praises of Asher? Well, for starters, he is our son. He is also one of the hardest workers we have ever known, and this farm, sincerely, would not be remotely close to as successful as it is if it was not for him.
Because he is so young, just 15 years old (Happy Birthday yesterday!), we may have a tendency to give him less credit than he deserves, however, the truth is that he deserves way more credit than anyone could possibly imagine - and we mean that! As a 9 year old, Asher helped build this farm from the ground up - whether it was helping to build greenhouses or fencing or it was planting and harvesting and he has only increased his efforts and responsibilities ever since. Now, our resident blacksmith (literally, he was the youngest certified Journeyman Blacksmith in the United States at just 11 years old!), he is also our maintenance manager and there isn't a tool, torch, welder or vehicle that he isn't capable of operating...and better than most others too!
Obviously, we are a little biased towards our son, but the truth really is that he has been indispensable on the farm and as the oldest in our family of 6. I can't sing his praises enough or express how absolutely proud we are of him and how grateful we are for all the benefit that he brings not only to our farm but to our family and our team. Sure, he works hard and sure he brings a tangible benefit to the team, but the truth is that Asher's greatest quality is his character - His uprightness, honesty and passion for serving others is something to look up to and celebrate! There is not a day that goes by that I don't witness (and learn from!) some sort of positive moral situation where I am not impressed with how mature and centered and morally upright Asher truly is. We love you Asher and we could sing your praises forever.
In Their Own Words...
How long have you worked for Ahavah Farm?
Well, I heled build it, so....since it has been built? :)
What is your job title and what do you do on the farm?
I am the maintenance manager and general farm-worker. I bunch, wash, harvest, repair, weld, blacksmith, weed and just about every last thing you can imagine on the farm!
What do you like most about your job?
Ummm, I like the fact that it's a family farm and I can work with my family. I also love the community and those aspects to working here.
Can you share one thing you have learned by working for Ahavah Farm?
The list is too long, but I would say work ethic is the most valuable lesson I have learned here...but there really is too much to list.
Do you have a favorite hobby?
Blacksmithing and reading.
Do you have a favorite quote?
"Ein od milvado" - which means, "There is none other but Him" - Deuteronomy 4:6
What is a fun-fact that only a few people know about you?
I love learning, so it's a great thing I am homeschooled!
What are three words or phrases that describe you?
Honest, hard-worker and passionate.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Well, I'll only be 19 by then, but I can see myself still being here working as a blacksmith and still as a farm-worker too.
Anything else you would like to share with us?
I love the community and am very grateful for all the community's support so that my family and I can continue to operate this farm.
There are still lots and lots of plants being brought to the CSA locations every week!
That's right - everything from tomato plants to lettuce and kale (and more) seedlings will be available - best part?
ALL CSA MEMBERS STILL RECEIVE 15% off!
Microgreen CSA Share!
Love our microgreens!? Than this selection is for you! Receive 3 types of microgreens every week of the year and save 17% every single week!
✔SIGN UP ANYTIME AND START YOUR SUBSCRIPTION AT ANY TIME OF YEAR! AND CANCEL AT ANYTIME TOO!✔
Our microgreens are fresh and will last - unlike anything you can find in the store. We pride ourselves on our microgreen quality as being not only absolutely pure - grown without chemicals, fertilizers or inefficient energy (we grow with 100% solar, renewable energy!), but they are absolutely beautiful, long-lasting and delicious! We really can't rave enough, they are THAT good!
What's in a Share?
In your share you will receive a combination of 3 microgreens every week with the option to purchase add-ons and extras when available. Every week we will be growing a mixture of microgreens and you will receive 3 selections of the following: Sunflower Shoots, Pea Shoots, Radish, Kale, Kohlrabi, Basil, Cilantro, Lettuce, Brocolli and more.
Pickup locations and times are the same as Ahavah Farm Veggie Share CSA but you do not have to be a veggie-share member to be a microgreen CSA member - these are two independent programs combined into one.
Go to https://www.ahavahfarm.com/microgreen-csa to learn more and to sign up!
Be a part of our ZERO-WASTE mission here at Ahavah Farm and bring us your compost! PLEASE REMEMBER - NO PLASTIC BAGS. Want more information? CLICK HERE to learn about the program. Thank you everyone who has been bringing their compost! We are so excited that we can help on your mission to become Waste Free!
CSA PICKUP LOCATIONS AND TIMES
NOTATE TIMES: Times are subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances. Please be aware that it is your responsibility to check Facebook and this blog on ahavahfarm.com for updated information and changes.
COS North / Monument @ Beasts and Brews (7 Spectrum Loop, Ste. 140)
12pm to 1pm (Drive Thru / Market Style)
Denver @ JCC (350 S. Dahlia St.):
3pm to 4pm (Drive thru / Market Style)
Colorado Springs @ Ranch Foods Direct (4635 Town Center Dr.):
1pm to 2:00pm (Drive Thru / Market Style)
2:00pm to 6pm (Inside store - 🚨TRADITIONAL SHARE MEMBERS ONLY!!)
Peyton @ Ahavah Farm (7545 Log Rd.):
10am to 11am (Drive Thru / Market Style)
This Week's Harvest
As always, nothing is guaranteed. These are the items that are "in season" and are anticipated to be ready this week (which may or may not be available at the CSA):
Small = 4-6 items per week
Medium = 7-9 items per week
Large = 10-12 items per week
Parsley Root - yay, something new this week! Parsley root is one of our member-favorites, however, it takes FOREVER to grow - so we don't grow much of it. Treated similar to a carrot, this vegetable has a very unique (and delicious) flavor. Here is a basic, and interesting, article on some of the benefits and uses of parsley root.
Kale- Absolutely amazing kale! The best we have ever had, you really can't beat this variety of Blue Curled kale. An heirloom variety that is super sweet and delicious! (don't forget to massage it - no really!).
Red Fire and Green Muir Lettuce - A beautiful red and green lettuce with big, fluffy leaves.
Turnips- One of the most desired of all the things we grow are turnips. Now, for you newbies, I know you are thinking that sounds crazy...but until you try these amazing, mouth-watering turnips, you won't believe it!!!
Radish Microgreens - Next to the barley grass and the sunshoots, radish microgreens are some of the most nutritiously-dense items we grow on the farm and not only that, but during our annual survey last year, they ranked as the #1 most requested and love item we grow! They have a fantastic bite to them, last considerably long in the refrigerator and are beautiful in appearance.
Living Plant - You will have the choice of Oregano, Chives, Mint, Kale, Tomato, Basil, Mustard or Marigolds (and more).
Mustard - Red and Green mustard this week. The red is little milder than the green southern giant, and stunning in appearance! Have you ever made a frittata? Ever made one with mustard greens😋😋? Learn about 10 recipes and how to use them here.
Carrots - There really is nothing quite like our beautiful and incredibly tasty carrots!
Pea Shoots - One of the most desired and sought after items we provide are these pea shoots! Quite literally the best you added to any dish or salad. Our favorite way is to add them to stews and soups. A perfect topper too! Here are four fun ways to use Pea Shoots: http://blog.bostonorganics.com/4-fun-ways-to-use-pea-shoots
Broccoli Microgreens - Last week we told you that Radish Microgreens were the #1 most loved item we grow, well, these microgreens weren't on the list then! I have a sneaking suspicion that these microgreens are the real winners!
Sunshoots - Our sunshoots are certainly some of the nicest, most high-quality sunshoots you will ever find (that actually goes for all our microgreens). They are one of the most beloved items we grow as well and a regular staple to our CSA. Here are some ideas to use your sunnies this week: https://www.martinsgardenacf.com/sunflower-shoots-recipes
That's it for this week! We love you to pieces, are incredibly grateful for each and every one of you and we are blessed to the core to be YOUR farmers!!
Yosef, Havah, Kids and Team The Camire Family