Greetings everyone! We hope you have all had a cozy winter and holiday season, staying warm with family and loved ones! It's been a while since we've all been in touch, and even longer since we've written a full-length newsletter! So I will waste no more time.
We here at the Echollective have been hunkering down, keeping warm, and taking advantage of this time of year to rest along with the land. We have been grateful for so much snow (and rain? In Jan./Feb.? We'll take what we can get, I guess). Nowhere near enough to break the drought, but it's something. Our mulch-covered garlic fields lay blanketed in snow, and we're sure that our thirsty aquifers are appreciating so much moisture. We'll need it to make up for the parching Summers we've had, and the ones that may come.
We've been far from completely inactive, however! It's
getting to be that time-- 2013 seed orders are in and we are
starting to plan the farming season, dreaming of lettuce beds, cilantro
bunches, asparagus harvesting and other spring vegetables soon to come! 2013 Summer CSA season Sign-Up is now also officially open! Our Summer CSA
season is tentatively scheduled to run from the last week of May, to early October, 2013. Not to happen for some time, but we've decided to open up our doors for sign-up. The early bird gets the worm!
Want a peek at what we'll be growing, and what we have grown in past years?
Click on "CSA Info" above to get a basic idea of what will be available during Summertime, or other seasons. Watch out-- we may expand this list with more crops!
Sign-Up is super-easy for our Summer season. By clicking our "CSA Signup" tab above and following our links and prompts, it
takes less than five minutes to ensure your membership with our CSA and
20 weeks of delicious, healthful, naturally-grown and local food!
"What about our Spring CSA 2013?"
We are still organizing what we plan to grow for Spring and what the
CSA's duration will be, so our Sign-Up has yet to be configured and
opened for business! It's that much closer than Summer, so we want to
get the details just right. If you are super-interested in getting
sooner than May, please email us and we'll put you on a tentative list.
In the meantime, you can always sign-up for Summer!
With little to no farming to do, it's hard not to get fidgety, so we've been immersed in many projects and activities. With so much snow, cross-country skiing has been a real treat on the 14 acres of open field where last year's produce once grew, and where our garlic sleeps under the drifts. Rabbit-hunting has also been a boon! We must have eaten three rabbit stews and roasts already. We've all done an incredible job this winter eating the most ethical, local meat we've been able to hunt or raise. Oh, and I should mention-- we also have chicken eggs! Yep, Echollective has ushered in it's first official egg-laying flock of little bossy, colorful hens. It seems not too unlikely that more Echo chickens could arrive, so our chicken tractor/coop combo building projects (there are two in the making) have been restarted with renewed efforts.
One of us recently finished pickling several of the wild-caught rainbow and brook trout we spent time catching all summer, pickling them with herbs like garlic, cayenne pepper and juniper. It may sound like a strange food, but it's actually incredible! Much like canned tuna, but it's straight from Iowa's rivers, not the Atlantic; and even more delicious!
We've also been nibbling here and there at local venison, or lamb and goat chops from other farmer friends who raise their own animals for meat. We've enjoyed cuts of pork from the hogs raised and butchered right here at Echollective, Dr. Caporkian and Merlock (we can't thank those pigs enough!). Our hog-specialist, Will Lorentzen, is hard at work bacon-curing, sausage-making, and pork-smoking. Yesterday he just finished building a rudimentary meat smoker that procured us a super-tasty smoked loin roast!
What more can I say? We've been eating right! Now all we need to do is wait to grow veggies in the Spring.
Come to think of it, it won't be long until we have some new pigs. This year, Will has in mind to set-up a Pork-Trade Program. The basics? Help with our hog care, and you get some pork! No money involved. Want more details? Email us! At email@example.com.
Also, Echollective Farm is kicking off the very beginnings of its Shiitake Mushroom program! In cooperation with Oak Savannah Mushrooms, we've all been inoculating a high number of shiitake logs in our little greenhouse. The goal is to get to 500! It still won't be at least 6 months to a year until we start seeing shiitake mushrooms, but it's certainly a beginning. Who knows, maybe you'll be seeing the likes of a mushroom CSA next year?
Thank you for listening, and we hope to be your farmers this year!