CSA is full for 2020

We are also at the Storrs Farmers Market. I expect to start having a good diversity of veggies in late May or so. Thank you!

 

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Farming during a pandemic

Good morning! It’s a beautiful sunny morning, and I’m watching the birds from the couch with my coffee. I haven’t seen our winter friends the juncos in a few days, and it seems that most of our summer residents are back and feeling feisty. There is a female cardinal right outside the window, eating the remains of some barberry berries (not the invasive type!) and I can clearly hear the bluejays and crows even with the windows closed.

    With all that’s going on, farm life continues mostly as normal. Thousands of seedlings are started in our friend Alice’s greenhouse, the high tunnel is prepped (and finished!) and ready to be planted today. We’ve started prepping the fields, too. I am feeling a bit of pressure to make purchases. I pushed up deliveries, so all our regular supplies are on-farm, but I’ve been slowly working on designing a new irrigation system, and hope I’ll be able to get everything I need before our supply chains break down. A lot of what we need is so specific, buying new may soon prove challenging. On the other hand, I have a lot of faith in the good will, open hearts, and giant junk piles of the many small farmers across the state, so I’m sure I can cobble together a system if need be!
    Looking ahead to CSA season, I fully expect to be operating at full capacity. Covid-19 is most likely here to stay with us for a while, and we may need to change our system for on-farm pick up, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. As of now, the Storrs Farmers Market is up and running. I worked with our State and Town officials, and we have guidance from the governor’s office that farmers markets are to stay open as long as grocery stores do, so market pick ups should continue as normal.
    If you have not yet signed up for this year’s CSA, PLEASE DO SO NOW! For real. I anticipate reaching our maximum number of shares, and would very much like to help feed you and your family if that’s what you want. Redundancy in our food system is always a good thing, and we’ll be seeing that in the coming months in a way most of us have never appreciated. We need the big chain grocery stores and their vertically integrated supply chains, we need the food co-ops with their community connections and regionally sourced foods, and we need small farms selling directly to consumers. We’re all doing our best to keep each other safe and fed.
    ~ Diane
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2020 CSA Memberships Available!

Check out CSA member info and our CSA sign up form to get yourself set up for a full season of some of the best food you can eat!

For real. As I write this, it’s mid-January. With the mild winter we’ve been having, we were able to hold some carrots in the field. I dug the last of them about two weeks ago, and have been sending increasingly large containers of them to school with my middle school son. He eats them during class, and ends up feeding his classmates, who clean him out in minutes. That’s one of the best testaments to high quality produce I can imagine.

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We’re at the Storrs Farmers Market for the winter… see you there!

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2019 CSA memberships

Our CSA is full for the full season. If you’re interested in joining for the fall, please find info here and membership forms.  Thank you!

 

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Sign up for the 2018 season!

 

 

 

 

 

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Looking into 2017

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A few moments

So it turns out I’m an awful blogger. Witty and insightful posts, half finished and abandoned at one in the morning, an old phone too full of old pictures to take any more. So many recipe ideas!

But rest assured, I’m pretty okay at farming, and the season is coming along nicely. Right now, it feels like it hasn’t rained since June, but even though there are always outside forces making it all ‘less-than-perfect,’ the perfect shows itself anyway. The perfect bunch of radishes, the sheen of a well-cured red onion, jewel-like quarts of cherry tomatoes. Turkeys running for lettuce scraps in the glow of sunset. Spying on CSA members from the kitchen window as they consider their tomato choices. Happy and grateful. Thanks everyone.

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Alliums

Onions, garlic, shallots, leeks. Scallions, chives, and ramps. They are all alliums, collectively indispensable in cooking. And among the first seedlings to sprout in the greenhouse.

Alliums are monocots, which means they have one cotyledon. Cotyledons are the first tiny little leaves bound up inside the seeds, waiting for water to penetrate the seed coat, waiting to burst out into the light. I particularly love the way alliums germinate. Unseen in the soil, a little root, the radicle, will be the first part of the plant to emerge. As it pushes it’s way down, a tiny little loop of that first leaf will push it’s way up through the soil, growing taller as it elongates. Finally the tip of the leaf will be pop up out of the soil, with the seed coat attached to the end.

I love imagining what is happening inside the tiny plant, how it really grows. At the tips of the radicle and cotyledon, cells rapidly divide, then get bigger before differentiating into specialized cell that carry out all the functions the plant needs to thrive.

look at cell division in more detail

 This is a microscopic view of an onion root. It is stained to show the cells clearly. Isn’t it beautiful? The clearer cells are the root tip, generalized cells whose function are to protect the root apical meristem. The meristem is where all primary growth occurs, where cells divide to send the roots deeper into the soil.

Members of the onion family are also among the first to start growing outside without the help of greenhouses or low tunnels. Garlic, chives, ramps, and other perennial onions. (I would include some pictures but ours were recently stampeded by chickens.)  And then there are the garlic and onions that have been in our basement all winter, even they want to start growing. As soon as I bring them into the kitchen they send out shoots, here they are in action.

While they might look similar right now with their little shoots, they don’t share the same plans for the future. If they were in the soil, the individual garlic cloves would grow into whole new bulbs, ready for harvest in July. The onion would send up a flower shoot, producing seeds mid-summer. Seeds that could be germinating about this time next year.

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Hello Southeast Families!

As part of the Southeast Elementary School community, I am really proud to be able to contribute to the school through the farm.

Over the years I have gardened with kids in lots of different settings. While our CSA is primarily focused on providing members with delicious, affordable produce, I look forward to sharing with kids the joys and discoveries of growing -and eating!- food at our farm.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions at dianedorfer at gmail.com, and you can see more on our Facebook page.

Thank you!

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