First, a logo. I opened this e-mail at 5:30am a few days back and my heart soared.
It’s just one step on this crazy staircase of forward movement this season. CSA sign-ups went tremendously well. So many returners have come back for another go around, and we’ve amassed newbies from all corners of the Lehigh Valley. We even picked up a Crossfit crowd in Quakertown thanks to one of the awesome cousins, and I’m excited to meet everyone this year.
I’m sad to be pulling out of the Philly scene this year, but as I expand my world and activities here and try to be more sustainable and insular, it is the only way to make sense of my life and still get to have a life in the midst of the insanity of the farm season. But I’m still moving and shaking all around the Valley, with even more surprises on the horizon. More to come on that very soon.
It’s official! Our teas and herbs will be available at The Trexlertown Farmers’ Market this year, Saturdays 9-1 with Opening Day on May 14! We’ll be sharing a tent with Lehigh Valley Kombucha. Like the market Facebook Page to keep updated on community events and special offers throughout market season! We’ll be making an appearance with a lot of the Trexlertown team at Lehigh Valley Farm Fest this year on April 30th, too, so mark those calendars.
Projects are the name of the game at present. Delegated projects. I’ve been holding myself back by thinking I should be knee-deep in every aspect of what is going on up here. But I can still be involved and have others taking the reigns. And, for the first time, I feel comfortable and good about that.
Forrest Quay, freelance mushroom grower, will be performing some outdoor perennial mushroom culturing experiments around the field. If all goes well, by the fall (and definitely by next year), the CSA bags will have oyster mushrooms, wine caps, lion’s mane and more! He’s starting his own spawn on brown rice, and we set up teepees of inoculated logs out in the woods by my field. I don’t know much about our fungus friends (yet), but it’s going to be fun to learn.
Mom Wags has taken the helm on the bee projects. After weeks of classes, phone calls, reading and research, she found the gear she likes, the hive equipment needed, and she even convinced Glenn out to the apiary visit on our last class to see the hives that the Lehigh Valley Beekeepers Association has at LCCC. Our first package of bees arrives next month, as a nuc already happily living on some frames, and the following month a package of bees, some 10,000 in a little wooden box with a marked queen, will arrive.
It’ll take a year to get any quantity of honey, but that’s not really even the primary goal. As pollinators, they’ll help all the plants around the farm, and ecologically, it’s hopeful to try to care for these delicate creatures.
Two weeks back, in a surge of momentum, Gary, our semi-intern Alex (who is looking for work, folks!), and I hammered in ground sleeves, bolstered hoops and ran the purlin on our mini tunnel. Glenn (my dad, for newbies who don’t know the man, myth and legend), came home later that day and put on the finishing touches of the frame.
At Keith’s farm I had the chance to see how happy some of our Zone’s more delicate perennials could be living in a high tunnel. I’m looking forward to planting our years’ worth of rosemary pots and some of the more tropical herbs in this permanent structure.
Now, if only I can figure out how to build the roll-up sides.
Easter was lovely, full of my family and their own awesome projects. We’ve always been a creative bunch. One cousin showed us around his wood shop, where he is now making custom guitars, and we awaited the arrival of one of his daughters and her return from France. One was in the corner reading a Francesca Lia Block book (and my heart burst), and others offered us some business advice as we munched on the lingering lunch snacks.
And, of course, family time means Jess Wagner time. My favorite. Whether it’s a phone call to commiserate on the challenges of self-employment or to celebrate an awesome step in the right direction, my sister has become a constant collaborator, mentor and friend on this crazy we road we’re on. I’ve gushed about her before, so I’ll hold back here, but if you’re looking for some philanthropic-based, delightful running apparel, check out her company Run Life Co.
As for our darling Crooked Row itself – the farm is growing along. The perennial herbs are up and looking beautiful. The greenhouse is almost tipsed, and I’ve got brassicas who are looking very forward to this cold week passing quickly so they can be planted. We are building our raised bed system 100-row feet at a time, which is slow going, but it feels so good be to setting up these permanent systems.
Our Happy Camper Hens are back, and everyone is so excited. Including them! These girls run toward my truck when I pull up to feed them, eat right out of my hands, and are happy to be out in the fields.
And yesterday Gary and I took a little trip over to a tractor supply store, where he began a new journey of his own.
When people you love gets ducklings, everybody wins. If you follow @thefarmerliz, stay tuned for piles of heart-melting, fuzzy joy.
And if you’re in the CSA this year, stay tuned for an e-mail this week! We’ll be offering some fun add-ons for your viewing, chewing and brewing pleasure for the upcoming season.
Stay warm out there today, friends. It’s a wild world we’re living in.
Hugs and Broccoli Starts and Little-Billed Peepers,