First CSA Pickup
We want to update everyone on the start of the CSA season. I am sure it is no surprise to any of you what a challenging spring it has been. In 10 years of farming we have never seen one quite like this. Our schedule was already 2-3 weeks behind when we got about 6 inches of snow in early May, and by the time we broke ground on May 8th we were about 4 weeks behind schedule and it hasn't gotten much easier since then. Even in a 'typical' late spring we would have had a solid 4 weeks to get field work done. This year we have only had about 12 days and at least 5 of them were days that we would normally never even consider being in the field. It has been incredibly wet and it generally dries out about 1 and a half days and then is too wet for 5 more. When we got in on the 8th we actually had about 5 decent days, and in those 5 days we had to do our best to do about 6 weeks of work (working ahead as well). We have actually done remarkably well at getting plants and seeds in the ground with almost 3 acres already planted. It has taken some tremendous effort and we are very close to being back on schedule with our field work. The biggest issue at this point isn't the rain so much as the cool temperatures. Without any heat the soil is still cold and the plants are growing very slowly if at all, many plants seem dormant. If you have tried to plant a garden this year I am sure you understand what we mean. It is really quite amazing how good the farm looks considering all the adversity we have faced. We have had some friends and fellow CSA farmers over that were actually jealous of how 'far ahead' we are. This issue is affecting every CSA, wholesale and market farmer in the entire upper Midwest. Even many commodity growers have given up on trying to get a crop in the ground. Only about 60% of the corn crop got planted in Minnesota and not much more will be planted this season and dairy farmers are paying over $400/ton for hay (more than 300% higher than normal) from out-state because they don't have any pasture for the cows and most alfalfa stands suffered high mortality this winter. It's an across the board problem facing all farmers.
We think that CSA farmers feel the pressure more than most. Every CSA farmer around knows that first box would be nearly impossible to get the first share together in time without sunshine it is almost impossible to to get a crop in just 4 weeks. We long for a fresh garden salad as much, maybe even more than you but we are just going to have to wait a little longer for it.
It was a hard call to make but delaying the start of the season is the only option we have. We will have to postpone the start for 2 weeks. Instead of the 1st week of June we will have to wait for the 3rd week. The first pickups will be scheduled as follows:
Lakeville/Farmington - June 18th
Minneapolis/West Saint Paul - June 20th
Bloomington - June 22nd
If there are any changes to that schedule we will be sure to let you know. We are however very optimistic about the rest of the season and should have no problem having the whole 20 week season as planned despite this challenging start. If you haven't already done so, you can keep current by following our FACEBOOK page.
We would like to make it up to you and invite you to the farm on June 15th (2 Saturdays from now) for a little pre-season picnic. We would love the chance to see our returning members again and to meet our new ones. We are really proud of the farm and we want to give you a chance to come see it for yourselves and pick our brains a little bit if you want. We will send out another email very soon with more details about the picnic.
It has kept us up at night mulling this call and we are truly sorry to have to make it but this is the story of farming, the best plan and good management doesn't amount to a hill of beans when the sun don't shine. Together we will just roll with it and this season will turn out just great.
Keep an eye out for any emails from us as they will likely contain important information about your CSA share.
Thanks for you understanding and support,
John and Lidia