February 8, 2023
Dear CSA members and friends,
Here we are 2023. Happy New Year! Time sure flies by! Next year we will have been farming commercially for 20 years?! How did that happen? Also, Sadie now has her driver’s permit and she is my chauffer around the islands. Delia has grown many inches over the winter and is now as tall as her sister. That height has come in handy for basketball 😊
It has come time again to sign up for Blue Heron Farm 19th CSA Season – 18 weeks of fun vegetables, flowers (remember those EPIC zinnias, sunflowers, celosia, strawflowers and marigolds last year) and being part of our BHF farmily. We have 85 memberships available – between delivery and at home farm pickup. We really appreciate your support. You can sign up on paper or through our website. By signing up now and paying now, we are able to pay for the needed inputs: seeds, potting mix, containers, baby chicks, seed potatoes, sweet potato slips (We are going to put lots of water to them this year and lots of barnyard compost😉), mulch, drip line, property tax, land mortgage, water, fuel – you get where I am going. We were ordering seeds this morning and prices are up are up again anywhere from 10-25% from last year! Your early sign up helps us to order the needed things for the farm without accruing more debt and interest fees.
We also totally understand that some cannot pay now or need a payment plan or can’t pay at all – We get that. Believe me we do. So still sign up – and pay when and if you can. This pandemic is stressing all the parts of life out. We do not want to add to this stress. Just let us know if you are planning on signing up and send payment when you can – you can fill out the form online and if you can pay online. For those who would like to apply for the NOFA-VT supported share – the link goes live on February 1. https://www.nofavt.org/services-resources/consumers/community-food-access/farm-share-program . If you think you will need financial help, please sign up for our CSA and sign up at the NOFA link. This will help secure funding to help pay for the CSA share. No one will be turned away from a CSA share who wants one and who can not pay. There is always enough food to share.
We will also have an add-on of Perky Planet Coffee. Perky Planet is based out of Burlington and they are an amazing company – check them out. Due to circumstances beyond our control, we are taking a year off from egg and chicken shares. We accrued a huge loss of income due to bird predation, organic feed costs and weather in 2022. We hope to bring it back in 2024. There will be some eggs and frozen chicken available by chance at pickup and at the Champlain Islands Farmers Market.
We are in the middle of planning and ordering right now for the farm. Also, end of the year financials and reviewing the last season and what we want to improve on for this year. Last year was a very tough year for us so we have made some decisions to help get our cash flow back on track for this year. Some of these things are: Growing broccoli and cabbage as fall crops instead of spring into summer crops because we have noticed the weather fluctuation is too much at the beginning of the season and we waste so much growing space for two failing crops. We will plant brussel sprouts where we would have had the broc and cabbage because they are long season crops and they don ‘t mind the fluctuation of temperatures. Also, brussel sprouts grow well here, we do a good job with them and we should prioritize them again. We are going to make more permanent beds and recover our tomato houses and get soil testing done for our heirloom tomatoes and make sure we stake the field tomatoes.when.we.plant.them. Also, starting peppers earlier and maybe growing some in hoophouses. Planting more pole beans and bush beans – because everyone loves beans. Growing more winter squash, pumpkins and turnips so we can supplement ours, yours, and the sheeps diet with these nutrient dense storable food. We are cutting way back on our egg laying chickens and meat birds this year. Also, we will be hiring our first fulltime employee for the growing season. We are taking a hiatus from our apprentice program this year. There are also some other crop tweaking and growing, we are looking at everything and trying to figure out where we can tighten up and be better farmers. Work smarter not harder. If a crop doesn’t work – why do we keep trying to grow it ? – using the pen instead of pencil in our growing plan and this will allow us to grow more beautiful produce, herbs, plants and flowers – while still feeding all the people we can in a sustainable way.
We can do this. You know how I know this – because we have been doing it for almost 20 years together with many of you old and new members. We are resilient people. We are thankful for you and your support. Please reach out if you have any questions. Christine’s cell is 617-276-4728 – you can text her or call. Or email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
We look forward to handing over the clippers and for you to pick flowers to your heart’s content. To come get all those juicy heirloom tomatoes – to eat crunchy bok choy and green scallions again. In the meantime, we will feed and nourish and plan and rest for this amazing season to come.
Adam, Christine, Sadie, and Delia
Blue Heron Farm
34 Quaker Rd
Grand Isle, VT 05458