Just days from the official start of spring, Simington Gardens has been out of winter mode for quite some time. Producing food year-round means the farm does not really take a break. There is always something to harvest no matter how bad the weather might be, or if there is nothing to harvest there is something to seed or something to build. We have been busy with all of the above and with all the dry, warm weather we have also been busy planting inside and out. Planning and planting for farmer’s markets, grocery stores and farm share members mean we start a diverse array of plants as early as the weather allows. The past months we have been seeding and potting up tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers and basil. We have been transplanting many rows of hearty vegetables like kale, collards, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and chard. Early season beets are in the ground, along with scallions, chicories and several kinds if salad mixes. Potatoes in all colors made it in just in time for the storm. Each week, thousands of new plants are seeded in the propagation house, where most will spend three to five weeks before being planted outdoors. Our goal for the early season is to get as much variety in as we can and make sure our warm weather crops are ready for transplant when the weather allows. This ensures that our customers will have many choices and our Farm Share members will always have a good variety of produce each week.
Tomato Starts in the propagation house
Speaking of the Farm Share, we are taking members for the 2015 season. This year, pick-ups will begin the second week of June and continue through Thanksgiving. Each week, shares will include staples like lettuce and kale and will also include more seasonal selections like broccoli, green garlic, tomatoes, peppers, corn and much more. The shares will generally have about eight to ten items of the best and freshest items available that week. For a more detailed description and pick-up locations and times, please see the Farm Share page. Early Spring is a great time to support local farms. A lot of long hours are being logged in order for our customers to enjoy delicious food later in the season but harvest volume is not the highest. This means that money is going out without the sales to bring it back in. Many farms traditionally relied on “seed money” from local banks to bridge this gap and paid back the small loans when the crops were harvested. The idea of community supported agriculture, or CSA’s grew from this practice. Instead of money for seeds from banks, individuals, families and businesses purchase a share of the farm and in return get fresh produce every week during the growing season. We call ours a Farm Share, because agriculture that is supported by local communities really means that we are sharing our farm with our customers. It is more than just purchasing delicious, healthy, Certified Organic Produce. We are creating real relationships with surrounding communities, supporting a better food system and actually improving the land we are fortunate enough to have access to. Providing Farm Share members with our best produce is a main goal of the farm this year.
Though we farm year-round, each spring is a new beginning for the farm. Life on the farm is dictated by growing cycles and now is the time of year that everything starts over. Trees already have leaves, daffodils are already replaced by tulips and we have seen some of the warmest weather on record. We are looking forward to a season of providing the best food we can and fostering new relationships. Stay tuned for more farm updates, events and look for our produce at Food Front Cooperative Grocery and New Seasons locations near you.
This week’s winter Farm Share