newsletter March 21, 2013 - 10th St. Farm and Market
March 21, 2013
Its a cold spring
“If it seems a lot frostier and snowier than usual this time of year, that’s because it is – the coldest start to
spring since 1965. Among the cold hard facts from WCCO: The last time Minnesota had this much snow
on the ground this late in the winter was 1971.” (cite: kare 11 news). Yes, it is cold and we and everyone we
know are looking forward to the weather turning and the snow melting! Conventional farming is already
looking at their season starting 2 weeks later than usual due to this cold, resulting in colder soil temperatures
later in the spring. We are coping the best we can here at 10th st. Our high tunnels are not heated so these
very cold temperatures at night are slowing down the growth of our crops. Our tunnels are full however and
every row has germinated and is green and smells like spring even if the snow disagrees. We are hoping for the
weather to change soon, for the sun to be out more consistently and for higher nightly lows. Ahh, Hope and
patience... the 2 things every farmer learns the meaning of from their farm, ...every year.
In spite of the cold and slow growth, we have had quite an entertaining 2 weeks watching our new spring
chickens! 30 in total, half for laying, half for eating, all heritage breeds. They are so cute and small when they
arrive in the mail, one big ball of fluff peeping away in a box. We made a little cardboard house for them in
the basement due to the temperature outside, watched them figure out where their food is and how to drink
their water. We have also watched them go from sleeping most of the day to doubling in size and trying out
their new wing feathers by jumping off the small logs in their pen. The layers typically take 18 to 23 weeks to
start laying eggs, about 32 weeks to consistently lay one egg per chicken per day; so we will be selling eggs off
our farm staring some time in September. Fall share CSA holders will also receive eggs sporadically through
out their share. The chicks have gotten louder, faster, fatter, and funnier everyday. It won’t be long till
that fateful day when I walk down the stairs to the basement to check on them and find the chicks lined
up on my washing machine; hopefully the weather will break soon.
A 3rd high tunnel was delivered 2 weeks ago and we are very excited to put it up this spring and
increase our production. We unloaded all 6,800lbs of parts off the back of a semi by hand and piled them
in the barn and on a trailer for the time being. Tomorrow we will start to put the roof hoops and side
walls together in our barn so that once the snow does melt (and it will melt!), we will be ready to put it
up in a couple days time. This tunnel will be covered with 2 pieces of plastic that we can blow air in
between the layers as extra insulation. We are hoping to gain 2 more weeks of harvest in late December
and start some spinach and baby greens 2 weeks earlier in February. All our tunnels are on tracks so we
can move them throughout the season. This allows us to not only grow early spring and late fall but
also get a head start on summer crops like tomatoes and peppers. Along with this system of growing, we
plant very intensely in a small area focusing on improving our soil. We can produce on 1/3 of an acre
what traditional farmers grow on one whole acre. Feeding more people on smaller space using less fossil
fuels and extending the season is how we create a sustainable farm. Sometimes it means doing more by
hand which can be exhausting, but we believe it is worth it.
All in all, it has been a very productive 2 weeks! Looking forward to what comes next!
Farm Stand: open April 25th, 4pm to 7pm
Our Farm stand will be opening April 25th!! Our hours are Thursdays from 4pm to 7pm and Friday
mornings 9am to noon. CSA pick up times are the same. Our shares will be distributed in durable
tote bags, each member is required to bring the bag back the next week so we can use it over again.
This keeps us from using and throwing away cardboard boxes every week and helps us maintain our
sustainability commitment (since produce boxes are waxed, they can not be recycled). All bags will be
held in our walk-in cooler with the name of each member on them to keep them fresh. Any CSA bag
not picked up by Friday at noon will be donated to the Stillwater food shelf unless the share member has
made other arrangements. We will send out a reminder e-mail to all our CSA members before the first
pick up as a reminder of how it will all work.
Open House: May 4th, noon to 3pm
We are also hosting an Open House the following weekend, Saturday May 4th from noon to 3pm. It
is an open invitation so bring family and friends out the farm for a few hours and enjoy the rapidly
coming spring! There will be a farm tour starting at 1pm and some light snacks to share. We will have
our farm stand open as well with micros and pea shoots for sale as well as any high tunnel produce that
is in season! We want people to enjoy our farm as much as we do so feel free to pass this along to anyone
who might enjoy seeing some baby chicks, running around the trails in the woods, learning how local
produce is grown, or just needs to get out of the house after a winter full of snow!
Once again, thank you all so much for your support, your commitment to local food, and the change
you are creating by doing so. We believe food is an important choice we all make on a daily basis and
we are committed to providing quality, organic produce to you and your families.
Local food for Local people!