2005. We did it. All CSA shares in the farm
have been sold! Our goal was 50; our planting plans were based
on 52 (using Market Farm Forms); and we accepted 46 shares
to give ourselves a little production cushion and hopefully
contribute to a successful season. We received some great
press from a small local paper – a cover story with
a huge picture of Jean in great form starting up the rototiller.
We had well over 75 calls from that article, and since it
is my cell phone that acts as the farm phone I had my hands
full talking to people, e-mailing information, and trying
to keep track of all the names and addresses for future communication.
We held our first “members meeting” and it was
well-attended. It was great to meet the folks who are making
the dream possible. We went over pickup procedures and announced
that half-share holders would pick up a full share portion
every other week rather than trying to compose a share box
with half the amount of produce in it each week. A few members
were less than thrilled, but all in all I think they understood.
A few folks signed up to be a part of our Weed Warrior volunteers,
and I now realize that organizing their enthusiasm will require
more work on my part – a double-edged sword.
We have an intern. Her name is Julie Weathers and she works
with us two days a week. Julie is a theology student on sabbatical
from studies who describes herself as having twin desires
in life – an intense interest in the study of faith,
hope and God; and agriculture. What a difference an extra
set of hands can make. She is a pleasure to be around and
a welcome addition to the operation.
Our ½ acre Mokena field is looking great. We are miles
ahead of where we were last year at this time. We are fairly
close to being on schedule with planting although it has been
quite cold and dry, so germination is lagging behind. The
transplanted brassicas are doing wonderful safely tucked under
their row covers while cabbage moths circle above. All my
winter planning is really paying off. The planting schedule
acts as the basis for our weekly tasks lists, and what a difference
in productivity those task lists make. We can start the day
knowing exactly what has to be accomplished without wandering
around looking at the beds trying to figure out what has to
be done and in what order. I had also planned to bring a laptop
computer to the field, but that has not worked out. It is
too heavy to lug around; of course there is no power out there
so it can’t be left running for quick-and-easy access
to information, and you can’t read the screen in the
sunlight. Oh well, it seemed like a good idea and would be
nice to have the information at my fingertips, but is not
working for now.
Our 2-acre Frankfort field is carved out of one end of a
35-acre oat/hay field. The oats in our spot were turned under
by the resident farmer last week. Boy that field looks big!
Our next step is to lay out the 132 beds and start planting.
At the same time, we are desperately trying to figure out
a way to irrigate that field without investing too much since
we have no assurance as to how long we will be able to grow
there. The drip irrigation system in Mokena cost us about
$2,000 and is of no use at the Frankfort spot. If we could
keep our investment to $1,000, I would be satisfied.
Neither one of our landowners wanted to have 50 families
converging on their property once a week to pick up produce,
so we have moved the pickup locations to our homes. 90 percent
of the members will be coming to my house on Thursday afternoons.
Hmmm…I wonder what the village is going to think about
that activity? I am on the hunt for refrigeration since harvesting
should begin in a month and will be installing that in my
garage. Also working on setting up a washing/packing station
in the backyard (my husband is a saint). I better get moving.