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Weekly Farm Updates

Posted 7/30/2019 10:35am by Jeff Schrimmer.

Hello folks,

So after a brief respite, the heat is on again. It looks like it will break by Wednesday or Thursday. I imagine there will be a few more heat waves to endure yet this season! We did receive too much rain (3 ½ inches!) after the last scorcher. The combination of extreme temps and wetness took it’s toll on our lettuce crop and we will not have it in the shares for a few weeks. We will also be taking a break from summer squash for a bit- the first planting is succumbing to mildew disease and the second planting which was just starting to produce was damaged by high winds during one of the storms. There is a third planting just coming up and I will be planting more soon. The broccoli and cauliflower is just about done, so we will be switching to cabbage to fill the brassica slot.

The tomatoes are coming in heavy now and we have plenty of large slicers to distribute. We also have loads of ground cherries (Physalis Pruinosa), a sweet solaneceous fruit and cousin to the tomatillo (Physalis Philadelphica or ixocarpa). It shares the paper husk with it’s larger, greener relative. Also known as Cape gooseberries, they are about the size of a small cherry and fall off the plant when they ripen and so must be gathered of the ground, hence the name. Slip them from the husk and enjoy them out of hand or in a salad.

We have potatoes ready to be dug if only we can find the time to harvest them. We also have sweet corn that will be ready in a week or two. August is melon month, so expect cantaloupe, galia or watermelon for next week. Hmmm… so much to look forward to…

The full share for this week will be: Beets, green or savoy cabbage, cukes, eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, string beans (green, wax or haricot vert), kale, garlic, basil, scallions saladette tomatoes and ground cherries. There are tomatillos as an extra.

Enjoy,
Farmer John

Posted 7/24/2019 7:42pm by Jeff Schrimmer.

The season has started, but members can still join at prorated fees.  After enrolling by going to this page: http://www.downtownharvest.org/members/types, a discount will be applied for the missed pickups and we will send you payment instructions with the adjusted fees.  Please e-mail us at csa@downtownharvest.org if you have questions.

Here are the fees if you wish to join and start on September 18 (week 15 of 24):

Posted 7/23/2019 4:31pm by Jeff Schrimmer.

Here is this week's message from Farmer John Krueger:

Hello Folks,

So we have survived the heat wave although it has taken a bit of a toll on some of the crops. Primarily the lettuce has been damaged- we have lost hundreds of heads. But this may be good news for those of you who have been struggling to use 2 heads of lettuce a week! Now the question is how much rain are we going to get!

At last check the rain gauge had 3 ½ inches with more heavy rain forecast into Tuesday. Yet in spite of it all we have another wonderful share for you this week. The tomatoes are ripening profusely! We have a lot of several small varieties (most of the earliest varieties are small). One of these small types is called Aosto valley and it has a rather strange shape- sort of square and lobed. The catalog says it is really good for stewed tomatoes so if that’s something you like, you may want to give it a try. Some groups will get small tomatoes and others will receive slicers; next week we will switch it up. We also have peppers and one more round of cauliflower.

The full share for this week will be: Lettuce, summer squash, cukes, fennel, kale,rainbow carrots, white onions, beans, peppers, tomatoes, eggplant and choice of an herb (cilantro, dill or parsley). There will also be some summer savory and tomatillos as extras.

Enjoy,

Farmer John

Posted 7/16/2019 11:48am by Jeff Schrimmer.

This week's update from Farmer John Krueger:

Hello everyone,

So, Solanaceae is the name of the family of plants that includes tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, potatoes as well as tomatillos and their cousins. You might infer from the “sol” in their name that they are sun and hence heat lovers, which is true (although the etymology is unclear). Also known as the Nightshades, they are mostly New World species so it’s interesting that these plants play such a big role in European and world cuisine since they have only been known for a few hundred years. This family also plays a central role in the middle part of the CSA season which is the reason for the unsolicited botany lesson.

We begin this week with eggplant, for next week there will be peppers and after that the potatoes and tomatoes will make their appearance. I know how much many of you are waiting for those tomatoes! Patience! Soon!

The peas have succumbed to the heat and the beans are just beginning, so some will receive them this week and others for the week after. We still have some nice cauliflower and broccoli to distribute and some beautiful beets. The red onions will likely be an heirloom red torpedo type.

The full share for this week will be: lettuce, summer squash, cukes, either cauliflower or broccoli, kale, eggplant, beets, red onions, possibly beans, choice of arugula or chard and kohlrabi, and choice of an herb (cilantro, dill or parsley). Tomatillos as an “extra”.

Enjoy,
Farmer John.

Posted 7/9/2019 11:27pm by Jeff Schrimmer.

Here is this week's message from Farmer John:

Hello everyone,

So we received some much needed rain over the weekend. The broccoli and cauliflower are heavy drinkers lol. I also have a lot of seed in the ground waiting to sprout.

We have some wonderful cucumbers for you this week. We continue to have broccoli and the cauliflower is beginning to head up in larger quantities. We will begin a rotation with these two items this week. Some groups will receive cauliflower and other broccoli. We have decided to call arugula an herb this week so your choice will be parsley or arugula.

Last week some groups received fresh yellow onions (Tuesday) and the rest received sweet onions. We will reverse that for this round. The sweet onions don’t keep well- so use them up.

The full share for this week will be: Lettuce, summer squash, peas, cukes, onions, broccoli or cauliflower, escarole and choice of spinach or chard, choice of radishes or salad turnips, kale and choice of arugula or parsley.

Enjoy,
Farmer John.

Posted 7/3/2019 3:38pm by Jeff Schrimmer.

A message from Farmer John:

Hello folks,

So summer is here and the heat is on! Nothing too extreme on the horizon just yet- mid-eighties and dropping mercifully into the 60’s at night. This type of weather is tough on the lettuce, peas, broccoli and other cool weather crops but it’s just the ticket for the peppers, tomatoes, eggplant and the melons. We should have plenty of sunshine now and hopefully a little rain from a passing thunderstorm now and then.

We have some fresh onions for you this week with the green tops still attached. You can make soup stock with these if you’re feeling ambitious. Also new this week are the first carrots of the season- yippee!

We have an abundance of peas, especially sugarsnaps (yum!) Just a reminder- they are meant to be eaten with the pod which is as sweet as the peas themselves. Raw or lightly steamed they are a treat in salad or any dish. We are still in rotation with the broccoli and Napa cabbage and waiting for the cauliflower to start heading up. We should have eggplant soon and peppers right after. We picked the first few small tomatoes today but it will still be a few weeks before they are abundant.

Many thanks to those who came out to pick peas over the weekend. Check the event schedule for your next chance to see the farm and lend a hand!

The full share for this week will be: Fresh yellow onions, carrots, lettuce, summer squash, peas, broccoli or Napa cabbage, kale, bok choy, Swiss chard and fennel and extra lettuce and extra peas and choice of an herb (mostly parsley and summer savory as the cilantro and dill have gone to seed and the marjoram rotted away from all the rain).

Enjoy,

Farmer John.

Posted 6/26/2019 9:37pm by Jeff Schrimmer.

Hello folks,

So it was a wet spring and the final week of the season was even wetter. It’s been a challenge to get our planting done and now all the moisture is starting to affect the crops a bit.   We lost hundreds of heads of lettuce to rot before it was even close to maturity. The spinach is turning yellow.

Anywhere there is a low spot in the field where the water collects, the crop is stunted or has died. A large planting of winter squash that I planted just ahead of the heavy rain has not come up yet. I am a bit worried about it because when it rains that much it compacts the soil and when it dries forms a hard crust that seed sprouts have difficulty breaking through.

Nevertheless most of our planting continue to thrive. The Napa cabbage is ready to cut and the broccoli is beginning to head up. We may not have enough broccoli for all groups this week so some of you will receive the Napa and get broccoli next week.

We will be trying to harvest spinach but it’s uncertain how much will be of good enough quality. On top of everything the deer were beginning to graze it (not normal) and we had to fence it in. The cilantro and dill have bolted so we will be moving into some other herbs-savory, marjoram, mint and parsley. We are sending some dandelion greens as an extra this time around, so if you like these watch out for them.

As promised we will be shipping beets this week. Carrots are coming next week and cauliflower soon.

The full share for this week will be: Lettuce, beets, peas, broccoli or Napa cabbage, garlic scapes, choice of an herb, summer squash, choice of kale or Swiss chard, choice of escarole or frissee.

Enjoy, Farmer John.

Posted 6/11/2019 12:03pm by Jeff Schrimmer.

Hello everyone,

So we have arrived at the week many of you have been anxiously waiting for- the first CSA share delivery. In spite of the weather related challenges we have faced this spring, we have a nice share for you to start out the season. The main weather issue has, of course been too much rain and not enough sun. The main effect of this is that we have been delayed in getting some of our planting done. We did get poor germination on the first planting of beans but I will be replanting later this week. We also lost about a thousand broccoli plants which were in a low spot in the field and sat in super saturated soil for too long. C’est la vie!

The peas are just starting to come in so they are not abundant just yet. We will send them to some groups as availability allows. We keep track of who has received and who has not so we will keep things equitable when we come to the end of the pea production period.

We have a couple of unusual items for you his week at least for the CSA neophytes among you. Garlic scapes are the flower tops of the garlic plant and can be grilled (my favorite way), chopped finely and sautéed, pickled or blended with cheese and nuts to make a garlic pesto. They keep for weeks; even months in the fridge so don’t feel as though you need to use them up quickly.

In the brassica slot we begin with kohlrabi which can be cooked or eaten raw- grated into a salad or to make kohl-slaw. Our chervil is already starting to flower and yellow a bit so rather than include it as an herb choice we are sending it as an “extra”. Chervil is a French fin herb and is difficult to find fresh since it doesn’t like hot weather so the Francophiles among you will appreciate it.

The share for this week will be: Lettuce (red leaf or Boston), spinach, radishes, kohlrabi, garlic scapes, maybe peas and choice of cilantro or dill. You will also have a choice of escarole or endive (frissee).

Enjoy! Farmer John.

PS: First delivery is tomorrow, Wednesday the 12th @ 180 Sussex St, from 5.30pm to 8pm. Don't forget to sign up for your volunteer spot! https://signup.com/go/pKauvBv.

Posted 6/5/2019 2:10pm by Jeff Schrimmer.

Volunteering at the pickup site during the season is an important component of our program. We ask that each member volunteer for an evening during the 24-week season. Downtown Harvest CSA is a 100% volunteer organization, and we could not run our pick up site without member participation.

The benefits of volunteering are you get to know fantastic people, learn more about your CSA and witness the loading of the surplus and donated shares on to the van from the Our Lady of Sorrows emergency food pantry. To make things easier for the volunteers this season, there will be two shifts per evening with the choice of   5 to 6:30 pm or 6:30 to 8:15 pm. You can fulfill your one evening commitment by volunteering for both shifts on the same evening or by signing up for multiple evenings,  We will need two volunteers for each shift beginning on June 19th to November 20th.

The Core Group will manage the site on the June 12th pick up.

To volunteer, please click on https://signup.com/client/invitation2/secure/2837271/false#/invitation

Thank you for your time and commitment to Downtown Harvest CSA.

CSA Core Group

Posted 6/3/2019 4:27pm by Jeff Schrimmer.

From Farmer John Krueger:

Hi Everyone!

So the first delivery of the season is fast approaching and we are working hard to get our planting done and be ready for a strong start. I’m sure you have noticed that it’s been raining a lot, which for us has meant another challenging planting season.

I am reluctant to complain too much while most of the country has been experiencing extreme weather. Tornado alley is getting pounded , which is not totally unusual in the spring, but we have had tornadoes pass just to the north and just to the south of us this past week. This is not normal folks, but don’t tell that to the climate change deniers!

We have been putting up more high tunnel greenhouses to grow our tomatoes and cucumbers under protection. Every time strong storms roll through I worry that these new structures will be damaged. We are
fortunate to have a sandy loam soil which is well drained. The fields dry out relatively quickly and we are able to take advantage of brief dry spells to get some seeds or transplants in the ground. We have been behind in our planting, gotten caught up and then gotten behind again. We are currently backed up with finishing our summer crop planting. I have beans planted but no corn yet. If we can just get three days in a row without getting drenched we can get back on track.

The spring crops are doing fine- the peas are flowering prolifically, the spinach, lettuces and brassicas are all growing well and the beets and carrots are coming along nicely. A little more sunshine and a little less of the wet stuff would really be appreciated!


Enrollment in the CSA program has again declined this year. I have to confess I am very worried about the future of the farm. I was able to get started in farming and even buy my farm based on the support of CSA members like you. Small local farms need all the support they can get and are very important in the fight to mitigate global climate change, even as they are some of the most vulnerable to it’s effects. Word of mouth is the best marketing tool we have available to us. Please help spread the word to your family, friends and neighbors.

Thanks for your support! Best, John

July 7 update from our farmerJuly 7th, 2020

Hi from Downtown Harvest CSA! The next weekly Pickup of the 2020 season will be this Wednesday, July 8th from 5:15pm to 8:00pm at 180 Sussex St. All food that is not picked up by member

June 30 update from our farmerJune 30th, 2020

The next weekly Pickup of the 2020 season will be this Wednesday, July 1st from 5:15pm to 8:00pm at 180 Sussex St.  All food that is not picked up by members will be picked up

June 23 update from our farmerJune 30th, 2020

Hi from Downtown Harvest CSA! The next weekly Pickup of the 2020 season will be on Wednesday, June 24th from 5:15pm to 8:00pm at 180 Sussex St.  All food that is not picked up

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2020 Enrollment