Well folks, we’ve arrived in December. As I write, the late afternoon sunbeams light up the landscape. The golden beams glow like fire in the trees and the green explodes from the garden and pasture. The velvet of the light matches the character of the land, softening the soul after the steelyness of harvest.
The days are short, the nights are cold. The time has come for planning, cleaning, organizing and reflecting. We look back on the year that has gone by and we look towards the year that is to come. Now that the rains have come, the landscape is moist and soft and the green is beginning to return.
We play cribbage with dinner and find time to read, relishing the shorter days and trying to catch up on sleep. The rhythm of farming is such that the downtime is an absolute necessity, a welcome respite from the grind of harvest time. Every fall is hectic, but this year was especially so, with days often starting at 5 in the morning and not ending until well into the night. After the marathon of the season, rest is essential.
This is the first year since 2015 that we have done a winter CSA, and we are enjoying the partnership that we share with other farms and the FoodHub in this effort to bring you quality local food. We are appreciating the leadership and vision that Mikey and everyone in the Flow Kana ecosystem are creating, exemplified in this CSA program. We are thrilled to be on this journey together, learning as we go.
In past winters that we did CSA, we were operating at a much smaller capacity with a much more limited set of options to fill the bags. HappyDay has very little in the way of infrastructure for winter production, but we are able to coordinate with other farms to put together a tasty bag of local food for you to enjoy.
Over the course of the winter you can expect to encounter a wide variety of local products; we’ll be using some creativity to get through the late winter and early spring months. That time period when the winter storage crops have run their course and the spring greens have not reached harvestable size can be very difficult for the food system.
We are hoping to install our first caterpillar tunnels this winter, increasing our seed-starting ability in spring and allowing us to move towards a future of more winter production. We have long made use of small, simple PVC hoophouses, and though they can be effective on a small scale, they are not very well-suited to larger winter harvests. In this special agricultural climate, a simple layer of plastic can create archetypal winter vegetable harvests because there is no water stress, fewer pests and the crops are sheltered from the ravages of weather.
We are excited to continue the journey of re-imagining food production in this bountiful region. Working with the FoodHub to identify, aggregate and distribute food from many local farms, we will be able to continue the CSA through the spring and on into the growing season in 2019. We are always interested in feedback and we welcome constructive criticism, which can be sent via Slack, phone or email.
The share this week includes concentrated liquid sunshine in the form of apple juice from Redtail Ranch; this is a special one-time treat that we know you will love as much as we do. Hearty potatoes from Covelo Organics match well with carrots, beets, onions and winter squash from Irene’s Garden Produce. Cabbages are also from Irene and make excellent winter stirfrys or saurkraut. See the recipe page for a simple cabbage and beet kraut.
We take time for practicing gratitude as the days shorten towards the winter Solstice. It is a joy to share the journey, and we look forward to the lessons that 2019 will bring. Much love and appreciation!