Posted by: A Part of the Solution | November 3, 2011

How Our CSA Season Went in 2011

The farm finished its second produce CSA season on the 27th of October this year. Totting up the numbers this morning, I have to say I was impressed with our production levels this season. Going through my seeding lists, I have to confess to being disappointed in our viable varietals this season. It’s confusing, but true.

Because we didn’t have the watering capacity we could have used this year, we only brought one melon down the hill to our CSA faithful–despite having planted six varietals. We watched helplessly as nearly every one of our sweet peppers tanked promptly after transplanting. We saw negligible productivity from our laboriously trellised pea plants.  Our stressed out Curcurbitacae (squash, cucumbers, pumpkins, zucchini &tc.) succumbed first to a wave of squash bugs and next to powdery mildew. And we never even seeded in the herb garden, since we could barely manage to keep our ‘market basket’ produce alive in our established gardens.

And then there were the tomatoes. We gave them more space this season, both as a section of the garden and per plant. We handmade hundreds of tomato cages to support them in their productivity. We put in drip irrigation to keep them going through our mid-season dry spell. And we had worse blossom-end rot than the year previous. Further, though the weather broke a month earlier than it had in 2010, our tomatoes never really produced in any volume. We were scraping to get sufficient tomatoes for our small CSA. The farm never sold even one tomato to the big hotel which had bought hundreds upon hundreds of pounds of our tomatoes the previous season. No, this season our tomatoes rotted without ripening. Happily, everyone else had the same horrible tomato season, so we don’t feel our crop failure was a result of our practices or lack of experience.

Even with all those vicissitudes, we still sent more produce down the hill this year than the year before. Our soup kitchen CSA members  received thirty percent more produce from us than they had the year before. Our private household CSA members also saw a more than thirty percent increase in their share bags (discounting the tomato discrepancies). In all, we have some reason to be proud of our 2011 accomplishments.

Thanks to our Kickstarter.com initiative, we’ll have a well by our house garden next season in addition to the well for our market garden. We will be in a position to keep more than three acres of produce garden adequately watered right through our dry summer months in 2012. If the new well performs as expected, the farm will explore expanding the orchard at the end of 2012 or beginning of 2013. How exciting is that? For us, it’s pretty lively.

And that same new well should give rise to a veritable dynasty of red-coated, sweet tempered, playful Tamworth Cross piggies in the year to come. We’re taking pre-orders for 2012–so if you want to get in on the ground floor of premium heritage breed, pastured pig shares now’s the time to let us know!

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Responses

  1. Congratulations, Buckland Farm! Year 2 sounds like a success, over all! And I’m very happy to have donated to the Kickstarter project and hope you’ll start others in the coming year. You are part of making the world a better, truer and healthier version of itself and it is so exciting. Keep us posted!! 🙂

    • Shoot. Now I’m all embarrassed and a-flutter. All that sweet talk goes right to my head! Don’t worry, I’ll keep everyone up-to-date on whatever I can as it’s possible.

  2. Be nice to Mother Nature. Yeah, I feel like with an extra well we’ll be able to go the distance next season with a reasonable chance at bringing actual produce away from the garden. WOO-HOO


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