Wednesday, March 21, 2012

CSA Signup: Deadline This Weekend

If you still want to be a part of our 2012 Summer CSA Season, better do it now!  Our signup deadline is this weekend, ending midnight on Sunday.  After that, we will apply a $30 late fee to your share cost.

Our mini Spring CSA will begin this April!  We are beginning to offer transitional CSA's for reduced costs.  For more info, visit our CSA Info page.  A box of veggies, including spring greens, green garlic and potatoes, will be delivered to you each week for $20 a week for couples, and only $10 more per week for families.  Please contact Derek Roller directly to sign up!

It sure does seem like spring has hit us with a bang, although the temperatures are suspiciously summer-like.  The weather has been weird.  The jet stream is looping down to create a very intense, stormy cold front thru Kansas, Texas and Oklahoma, which is following directly after this previous heat wave heading for the east coast...however, Iowa so far has been spared, nestled right between the two systems, experiencing a little bit of the storms and the heat separately, but never directly.  How nice!  Warm weather to encourage the plant babies, and a little bit of rain to water them.

We can now boast to have plenty of our sprouts in the ground!  Pac choi, lettuce, and cilantro have been transplanted, more on the way.  Radishes, arugula, peas, and more spinach have been direct seeded and growing quick.  Still awaiting a new life in their flats are beets, kale and sorrel, a hardy perennial herb that tastes kinda like rhubarb, with some good medicinal properties...it makes a great tonic and diuretic, but it also just tastes really good.  Rosemary and even tomatoes have sprung up in their flats, along with a wide array of Alliums: leeks, shallots and onions, enough flats to fill up half of one of our greenhouses!  Today I just planted some peppers and parsley.  Yep, we're getting everything going!  On top of that, garlic is beginning to peek up out of its mulch bed, and we're beginning to harvest some of it for shares as green garlic.  A few of us recently burnt down all the bushy asparagus plants out in the field, so we will be expecting our first tasty asparagus shoots!

There is so much going on.  Spring is an exciting time!  Not only are our vegetables coming to life, but many new farm projects are budding.  Soon we're not only going to be caring for plants...we will be introducing some animals into our farm practices!  A few of us here are working on a handful of chicken tractors: two small ones to house a few chickens, perhaps Bantam chickens, and a big one to house at least sixteen hens and a couple roosters, get some serious egg production, field fertilization, and pest reduction going!  Not sure when those will be finished.  I will have to tell you how this works soon.  We will also be getting....pigs!  We will be buying piglets, penning them over our beds to remove stubborn weeds (especially thistle!) and using their poop as compost to the highest advantage.

Along with plants and animals, we will also be introducing fungus!  Mushroom growing has already begun, and the construction of a mushroom structure is to be finished by the end of next month.  This will probably mean a separate mushroom CSA will be available!  Oysters, shiitakes, and lion's mane are among a few of the varieties we have discussed.

Today we just finished our first delivery to the Iowa Valley Food Co-op!  A lot of folks bought our greens and potatoes.  Quite successful!  We were a little bit late for our delivery, but we'll make sure not to be next time.  We will be selling again next month, with a whole lot more stuff available too!  If you live in the Cedar Rapids area and crave some local organic food, go check out their website, www.iowavalleyfood.com.  It's on our page!

My land, there is so much going on that it takes a squeezing aside of time and chores and things to even write what is happening out here.  It sure is exciting to see it all condensed into a few paragraphs.

The farmers at Echollective hope you are doing well, eating healthy, and enjoying the wonderful weather.  Happy Spring!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Spring is Almost Here!

....and Mother Nature has made her timely decision to wait 'til this part of the year to give us the biggest dumping of snow we've had yet? Hmmmm. Mama Nature, are you doing ok? I'm a little concerned.

Many of our seedlings we started a week or so ago are big enough to transplant! We've got lettuces, beets, spinach, cilantro, pak choi, sorrel and kale all ready to go. Our alliums (onions, leeks, shallots etc.) are all being seeded, and I'm sure the garlic will be sproutin' up soon. Perhaps that's what makes this newly-laid blanket of snow so inconvenient! However, with the way this winter has gone, we'll just have to wait a few days for that upcoming, bizarre, rainy 60 degree day, and everything will melt. Seriously, Mama Nature....you ok? I've sometimes wondered whether the people running the weather websites are just going nuts and banging on their keyboards randomly instead of trying to make serious predictions anymore.

Good news, Echollective Farm has just joined the new Iowa Valley Food Co-op (IVFC)! If you're not close to Iowa City, or more specifically, if you live in Cedar Rapids, it's a good way to get your hands on our produce. Click on this link, Iowa Valley Food Co-op, to check it out and order some of our stuff, or even products from other local farmers. We'll put a permanent link in somewhere on our website. It looks like they have a lot of stuff available you can order monthly! Especially ethical, local meat cuts, which is more than awesome to have that available.

We've had a lot of WWOOFer and Internship inquiries recently, which is very exciting! We'll be more than happy to be hosting at least one intern this year, and perhaps a few WWOOFers here and there.

GrantWood Farmers Market is still open! So if you're in the area, and fiendin' for some local greens, potatoes, garlic or onions, we've got all that available. We've had a considerable inundation of spinach and braising mix from our winter plants, and we've begun selling our stuff to Iowa City restaurants, as well as New Pioneer Co-ops. If you wanna taste of our delicious chef-cooked greens on a special dinner night, by all means, head out to the Motley Cow or Devotay to try some! Or you can get some for home on your usual grocery run to the Co-op!
Link
We are more than willing to be flexible if for some reason you can't access these outlets, so if you have a problem, please contact us!

As always for this time of year, CSA Signup 2012 continues! We've got 15 members so far, and we've got room for lots more. So y'all know, the CSA Flyer Sign-Up is temporarily unavailable. It seems that the sign-up part of the flyer is missing! Don't worry, we are trying to look for it. If you want to sign up, please do so electronically, or contact us.

Well, that's all the news we got. See ya next week!