Crooked Row Extended CSA Deadlines and Guest Food Bloggers!

We know, we know. It still doesn’t feel like spring.

To make up for the snow still lingering in your souls and fields, we’re extending our CSA deadline to April 20th! So if you were on the fence about signing up or had an older deadline on your flyer and felt like you missed out (we got a couple panicked phone calls to this effect), never fear! We have some room left for you.

This year will be one of community. Next week I’m presenting on local food economies and backyard composting and growing advice at an office near the farm, and I’m hoping to get more involved in these sorts of educating opportunities in the future. This Saturday I’ll be at the Mt. Airy Read & Eat for Story Time at 10am, so bring your kids over to plant some seeds and hang out while I read some children’s books about farming and talk about the CSA with interested parents. If your office hosts lunch and learns or your schools want to talk agriculture for a class or two, give me a holler.

We’re also going to be having FARM EVENTS this season! CSA potlucks, meet and greet dinners and showcases for my other grower/baker/maker/artisan friends will be a regular occurrence now that I’ve got a house to host in. A few of these will be at the farm as well, and as these two places are within literally two miles of each other, we have lots of opportunities for overnight stays, farm volunteer days and other activities up here in the Valley. And we can have some of these in Philly, too, if someone is open to hosting. And if you’ve been in the CSA before back when I promised these things and had no place to have them, you are most welcome to come hang out at this year’s whether you joined this season or not. Keep your eyes peeled for my e-mails.

Additionally, I’m excited to announce that this season I’ll have two wonderful humans and dear friends guest blogging with their versatile food knowledge throughout the season.

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Sarah climbs, hikes, leads, reads, photographs and cooks, amongst other incredible things.

Meagan cares for critters, cooks, revolutionizes the world, salvages cast iron and made Stubbz this excellent kitten harness last summer.

Meagan cares for critters, cooks, revolutionizes the world, salvages cast iron and made Stubbz this excellent kitten harness last summer.

Meagan and Sarah have years of cooking experience between them  as omnivores, vegetarians and vegans, and as they teach us how to better utilize the foods from the field, you’ll have access to their recipes and more on the forthcoming Cooking Tab on this site and in market handouts and CSA newsletters. I’m so jazzed, and so are they!

strider2

Abominable Snow Dog.

In somber news, we had to say goodbye to our best farm partner and pooch love, Strider, Monday morning. Strider was the most loving and personable dog I’ve had the honor to know, and whether he was minding us in the field, taking up all the room in my bed, herding small children in bodies of water, harassing Arya puppy or hiding during thunderstorms, he had, as the best dogs often do, an infinite abundance of charisma, charm and love.

strider

Bed Hog Dog.

I’m so grateful we had him for as long as we did, and I know he’ll be roaming our fields in some fashion in the years to come.

The pups view their kingdom and wait for the snow to melt.

“Everything the light touches.”

Since we are currently tapped out in greenhouse space as we wait for more seedlings to germinate in our bunker, today will be one of research and maintenance. I have a wagon full of birdhouses we’re excited to hang around the property, and then I’m going to try my hand at building some vertical structures for the market stand. After we’ve chilled thoroughly outside, it’s back in to keep reading The Market Gardener by Jean-Martin Fortier, aka The Crooked Row Game-Changer.

market gardener

We’ve got big, big plans.

Seeds, snow and…snow.

Seed party!

Seed party!

Sure, it’s snowing. But it’s March 1st and that means, theoretically, that this snow will be gone soon. And when that happens these little tykes will be grown and ready to get in the ground.

onions

See? In the greenhouse it’s already starting!

But it is pretty cold, as you know, so I’m doing what I can inside in the meantime. This includes:

-Farming paperwork
Legal documents, insurance forms, market applications, crop rotation planning and farming estimates
-Recruiting!
Folks keep asking about the CSA, from Mt. Airy in Philly to Schnecksville. That, my friends, is a good feeling.
-Joining Stuff!
Last year I joined the board for farmland preservation in my country, which has afforded me some neat new knowledge and a chance to work toward local green spaces for future generations, which is pretty exciting. This year I’m also trying to be a little more active as a member of the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture.

lehigh county farmland preservation

Annnnnnd I joined the National Young Farmers Coalition, which aims to push for legislation and create a community for – you guessed it! – young farmers. And with the growing community of us in this area, I think we’re in for an exciting year together.

national young farmers coalition

-Doing a bunch of things I won’t be able to do in a couple months
This includes reading all the books, taking some day naps, wandering Philly before and after the part-time gig, running as much as possible (Broad Street Run, here I come!), finally watching the fourth season of Game of Thrones, brewing a saison with Steve and getting Little House in order so next week I can actually, properly move in once my job in Philly ends. It’s been a really enjoyable winter. I caught up with a lot of excellent people I didn’t see much of in the last year, and I’m hoping to keep my act together enough during the season to keep this going. I’m putting a start and end time of my days this year – a lot of seasoned farmers recommend doing this, and I think a life outside the field will keep me from getting burned out by August, which has been a reoccurring problem.
-Working on the blog
As you can see, I’m calling this the comeback.

Did I mention day naps? Love, Liz and Arya

Did I mention day naps?
Love, Liz and Arya

Once the snow melts, cover crops will go in and all the spaces in the greenhouse will be tapped to capacity with green. You are most welcome to come visit and get warm.

Look at her. Jess Wagner, professional plow boss.

Look at her. Jess Wagner, professional plow boss.

In the meantime, the Wagner sisters master the plow and I go finish reading my latest fantasy novel. Stay warm!

Happy National CSA Sign-Up Day!

What better day to start blogging for the 2015 season than one that promotes our small, local farm and CSA programs?

CSAday4

We still have some shares available for the 2015 season! Check out the CSA Tabs on the site for more info. Not in Philly or the Lehigh Valley areas we deliver to? Check out the area’s Buy Fresh Buy Local page for other great CSA farm listings! Our current drop-off locations are:

In the Lehigh Valley: Health Habits in Schnecksville, Wagner’s Auto Body in Orefield, personal home deliveries and other locations that would generate enough share-holders to warrant a spot. So rally your friends!

In Philly: Mt. Airy Read & Eat (Wednesdays), La Salle University (Wednesdays), The Support Center for Child Advocates (Wednesdays), The East Falls Farmers’ Market (Saturdays), South Philly (location pending – Wednesdays or Saturdays, TBA).

buy fresh buy local 2

We’re also spectacularly excited to announce our collaboration with St. Luke’s Hospital Quakertown Campus this season! St. Luke’s started to provide its staff with local farm CSA options a couple years ago, and the program has flourished. We’re looking forward to meeting the wonderful folks at the Quakertown campus and sharing some green bounty.

One of last year's half shares, for primavera love

One of last year’s half shares, for primavera love

Welcome back, friends. Sorry to have been away so long. I can’t say it was all farm-related work keeping me from WordPress, or all vacation, but the point is I’m here to share the watershed season with you in 2015, happy green pictures and all!

Okay, not quite green...yet. But we're getting there!

Look familiar? Filling our passive solar bunker, Round II!

seeds in bunker

Okay, not quite green…yet. These onions and greens need a couple more days. But soon. Reallllllly soon.

We have an irrigation system (only three years in the making!). We have proper soil amendments. We have a CSA that we believe will be doubling in production size this year and two growing markets in the city. We’re getting organized for the bigger side projects (here’s looking at you, tea blends), and getting more in the greenhouse earlier.

Snow? What snow? Spring is almost here, folks. Keep your chin up.

easton table

Our table with teas and herbs at Monday night’s Buy Fresh Buy Local Greater Lehigh Valley farm to table event in Easton. Awesome farmers, awesome promotion, awesome night.

I’m off to build some more grow boxes in the greenhouses. We’ve got a lot of greens and herbs to start! Catch up with you again soon.