Monday, May 21, 2012

Welcome New and Returning Shareholders!

Welcome to the Henry Got Crops! CSA. This is our fourth season and every spring brings a new sense of excitement, curiosity, nervousness and ambition. I’m excited to meet new members and introduce you to Saul High School and our little farming world on Henry Ave. I’m curious about new varieties and systems I’m trying for the first time. I’m nervous about the weather and people’s reactions to new vegetables. Was the warm spring an indication of a record setting hot summer to come? Will shareholders like the okra? Did I plant enough, or too much? I’m also always ambitious when it comes to new projects and expectations-  but this is what keeps us reaching for the sky! I will plant an orchard! I will keep the grass mowed in my pathways when the students aren’t around to help! I will outsmart the groundhogs! I will raise money for our equipment and grant-funded education programs!
         As always, I have a fantastic team that has been working hard since April to make sure everything is precisely ready for this first week.  Clare and I both have our largest team of interns this year, which has already made a huge difference. Perhaps it’s just all the sunny weather we have had, but I really think this is the best the farm has ever looked in May! Over the next few weeks I’ll be sure to introduce you to this invaluable crew that is working closely with Clare and I this year.
         One aspect of this spring that feels different is its anticlimactic arrival, a result of the strange winter we had. It really wasn’t a winter at all (especially by my standards, having grown up in Vermont!) and I spent more time on the farm during the winter than ever before. My coworker from the other Weavers Way Farm, Rick, and I harvest biweekly from our hoophouses (greenhouse-like plastic structures) and sold more winter produce to the Weavers Way stores than ever before. The flip side of a warm, productive winter is the potential for increased pest and disease pressure during the summer. Many of these pests likely did not die over the winter like usual.  Cabbage moths and harlequin beetles have unfortunately been spotted on the farm much earlier than usual this year!
         The most energizing part of this week is thinking about how our farming community is always growing and strengthening with new and returning members and Saul students. Growing this much food in the city is a unique accomplishment. Growing at a public high school is a unique accomplishment. Having over 100 members from the immediate community take a short commute to visit the land from which they are eating is a unique accomplishment.  Although challenging, I cannot think of a better job for me and I thank all of you for supporting this educational farm and making it possible!

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