Thursday, January 26, 2012

2012 Season Member Sign-up Starts Now

We have now opened up a new 2012 Season Member Sign-Up on our "CSA Sign-Up" page.  A few of you have emailed us early in regards to getting a veggie box for this season-- Thank You!  We've referred you over to our new CSA Signup, which was closed before, but is now open.  Simply click on the "CSA Signup" tab above, which will take you to our Small Farm Central link where you can signup.  Then, simply follow the directions, and it should take only a few minutes!  There is an option for returning members, don't forget!  At the top of the page that's opened after you click on the Echollective Small Farm Central page, a green banner asks you: "Returning Member?  Click Here."  This will make things easier for the both of us keeping track of current and past memberships.

If you have any questions or encounter any troubles, please contact us: echocsa@gmail.com!

As for on-the-farm news, Echollective is starting seeds for the new season already.  Soon the house is going to be crowded with veggie-babies and cabbage-patch kids.  Our vegetables in the ground and greenhouses are asleep for now, blanketed in plastic, Reemay and snow, growing and rejuvenating slowly until we uncover them in Spring.  Hopefully they'll be OK 'til then!  Crops like spinach, which are the majority of what we have left, are super-hardy and can hang out until the weather looks up.  On the other hand, our lettuce heads and kale that we still have may or may not be having the good time.

As for the human being inhabitants on the farm, we are also in hibernation mode.  In between doing winter farm work, seed-starting and cleanup, we stuff our cheek-pouches full of acorns, dig out our food stashes, keep warm and sleep.....and maybe watch the X-Files or several Harry Potter movies in a row.

Grantwood Farmer's Market still continues...come visit us there!  We still have some local food fare.  Next market day is Feb. 4th.  See ya then!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Blizzard....

2012 CSA signup is now underway! Email us for a share of the harvest this season!

Look it up online, watch the news, ask a meteorologist or talk to your local shaman....winter's first real blizzard is on it's way, and it's coming tonight! We expect 4-6 inches of snow.

Quite ironic that we spent most of yesterday, all the way up until the dusk's typically beautiful sunset, scrambling to get our cold-frame cats back up and working.

Today we had to take them down again. Our rough-and-tumble little portable greenhouses would collapse under the weight of that much snow. We had to resort to double-covering what was left of our crop with Reemay and plastic. We've chopped a lot of the growth off of some vegetables, such as kale and spinach, to make them go dormant for the winter, scrapping what we can use for more distribution and for our own consumption this winter. We'll see how much we can save and still use after this blizzard comes through...if it actually comes through at all, though the wind is whipping pretty hard outside right now.

Perhaps we're about to say "bye-bye" to this farmin'-in-T-shirts weather? It's been lovely still being able to walk around barefoot in our straw-bale home and extend the season as far as we have, but to be honest, a blizzard is more than welcome, ecologically speaking. There hasn't been much snow not only because it's been unusually mild, but also very unusually dry. The fact that the usual blanket of snow is absent right now is kinda worrisome. A healthy water-table level, important to nourishing both our farm and wild flora, depends on that persisting layer of snow to stick around, and slowly seep water back into the groundwater supply. If there's no snow this winter-- and if it is continuously dry-- that could mean some serious drought conditions this summer.

Our barn cat Macy could be pregnant again, she's a bit chubby-nubby, and kinda irritable. Her daughter Survivor can easily derail a workday, she is so precious and distracting. It is hard not to pick her up and tickle her!

Well, winter may mean the end of vegetable growing and harvesting, but it also means seed-starting is coming soon for our 2012 season. And living at a farm-- there is no end to the list of things that are needed to be done!

Grantwood Farmer's Market is still going. Come visit us next Saturday, Jan. 21st!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Save The Red Avocado!

First of all, we hope you all had a wonderful champagne-filled celebration of the New Year 2012. Happy New Year!

A week or so ago, some big bully of a developer decided to buy up the plot and buildings that currently are the Red Avocado, a local restaurant with vegan options that buys a good deal of our veggies, as well as the Defunct Books bookstore. These developers are announcing that the restaurant has about a month to totally vacate, before they demolish the beautiful early 1900s era buildings that house these businesses. This is hardly enough time for a restaurant to relocate and reestablish its livelihood, and quite an unfair and impossible ultimatum to put anyone in! If this demolition and eviction take place, we're afraid that Red Avocado, an important part of the local food scene here in Iowa City, will have to shut down and go out of business completely.

Please help save the Red Avocado by signing the petition in this link: http://www.change.org/petitions/save-the-red-avocado. 5,000 signatures are needed. Red Avocado has been our steady customer for many of the years that Echollective Farm has been in business. We ourselves are also affected by this blow, as well as several other local, organic farms that are vital to the organic and local foods scene burgeoning here in Iowa City, and who are also supported by Red Avocado's buying of their produce. If you would like to directly support the local food movement-- now's the time! Please sign, it will take up less than two minutes of your time! Many organic farms and the Red Avocado will thank you!

In other farm-related news, it is quite apparent that Mother Nature has unleashed her strongest fury yet this winter. Our cold-frame cats were collapsed by the 65 mph gusts this past week, leaving many of our winter greens to freeze. We've lost a great deal of our winter crop...although we didn't expect to go this far into the winter as we have anyway, what with all this ridiculous warm weather! Looks like we're going to try to fix them in the next few days and see what we can do. Our spinach is tough and probably mostly ok, and our permanent greenhouses are still well-enough intact for us to keep growing some stuff.

This unfortunately means the end of our Winter CSA. However, a reminder to you all that our 2012 season CSA signup for the spring will be coming up soon....look out! It usually happens in January, but we will let you know for sure.

In better news, don't worry...we've still got some produce available. The Grant Wood Farmer's Market still continues for another month or so, and Farmer Derek will be at our stall with some of the last harvest we had before the storm, and some of the stuff that made it! Come see us at market! We've still got spinach, lettuce, garlic, onions, potatoes, and more.

See ya next week, and take care.