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A Heartfelt Thank You

The weather has turned cold, the greens are turning translucent in the field, and the leaves are falling. Our fire is lit most nights already, and we’re indulging in the post season lull, which gives me lots of time to reflect on this season and dream about the next.

Like many farmers, at the end of a great season I start scheming. How can we make things work smoother, increase production, use our time more wisely, AND take better care of our land. While walking up the hill with my favorite goat herd, I’m looking down at the pasture and imagining hogs breaking new ground. While reading a novel, I get distracted searching for alternate tomato trellis systems. It’s vicious, this thirst for knowledge and improvement.

This year, we were lucky to have amazing weather that led to gorgeous vegetables and busy markets. We opened up a new market for our greens with labeled bags in grocery stores. We doubled our wholesale production and we found a market system that allows us to visit friends, enjoy the crowds, and get a break. We managed to stumble on the greatest summer worker we could ever hope to find. This year we celebrate three years in one place, on one piece of land. It has been so rewarding to see our rotation in action, to see the asparagus we planted grow to almost production, and to become a genuine part of this community. I feel blessed to be here.

More than good weather and a great situation, what makes our lifestyle viable is you. Without friends, family, and community members who are passionate about good local food, we wouldn’t have jobs. Thank you for supporting small farmers like us. It makes a big difference. Not only for your body, but for your community and for your economy. Putting money into local business bolsters everyone around us.  It gives our friends and families jobs. It makes us stronger by linking us together in a web of social and economic bonds. By buying local, I know the people behind the products I use, and it gives me a solid connection the people in my community. I know them by name. It fosters collaboration and camaraderie between us all, and it allows me to do what I love. Thank you. So much.

In closing, a few photos from the last market and Heidi and Kitty weeding the spinach bed for overwitnering.

Harvest Party 2013

Many of you know that Margaret and I got married in August, and we just couldn’t bring ourselves to host another full blown party at the farm in September. Instead, we invited anyone and everyone, but held off on excessive planning (no band, primarily). Despite our lagging, we had a fine turnout and an excellent time: campfire, lots of edamame picking, and lemon cucumber baseball! The photos below come from Noah Jackson of Forest Voices and Merrill Bradshaw of Merrill Bradshaw Carpentry, thank you both for taking photos when neither of us remembered to do so!

How is it September already?!

Oh my. It’s been a while. Like three months. Needless to say, it’s been a busy… and awesome summer.

Aside from being stellar in general, Heidi is an animal lover. Her pup, Riley is officially the best of all our farm dogs, and she keeps threatening to buy us some rabbits. About a month ago, Heidi brought her horse Shiloh to the farm. He’s a big sweetie and we’re loving having him around. Coda (our pup) thinks the horse is the coolest thing in the world and loves going with Heidi on her rides up the hill.

It has been so fun to see all of your faces this year at market, and what a market it’s been! Barely a cloudy day (echm knock on wood, please). Our CSA is one of the highlights of my week, seeing all of our members and their families. Some of our members have been with us for three years and I feel so lucky to have watched those kids grow and for the friendships that have formed over those years. Thank you all for supporting your local farmer.

We’ve also been really happy with the restaurant and grocery support this year through the Western MT Growers Coop. Our greens are now at the Good Food Store, Orange Street Food Farm, as well as a variety of other stores (including ones in Bozeman, Butte and Kalispell). Pretty cool!

The irrigation ditch has been turned off for a few days now and we’re reliant on just well water to keep the greens green for the next month. In fact, we’re so pleased with this little cool spell that we’re taking the afternoon off today while the rain soaks in. Oh it feels so good – fall, almost.

Earlier this week, Tony, Heidi, Margaret, and I picked most of the pumpkins and did a little photoshoot with the haul…

Quick Cut Greens Harvester: A Review

In 2012, County Rail Farm harvested over 2,000 lbs of baby greens – salad, arugula, mizuna, etc – by hand. That’s many many hours kneeling in the field with a knife and a plastic bin, cutting one handful at a time. While it gave us lots of riveting and often hilarious early morning conversation with Robin and Dylan, our harvest helpers, it took forever and neither our knees, back, nor hands appreciated the conversation.

This year we’ve already harvested somewhere between 700 and 800 lbs of greens, and expect to double our production from last year. With that much more yield, Margaret and I (plus Heidi who started June 1) absolutely could not have kept up without the Quick Cut Greens Harvester. In fact, it gave us the confidence to seed more.

This little machine was invented by Jonathan Dysinger and is sold through Johnny’s Selected Seeds, whom I have no connection to other than “customer #124983”. It runs on a battery powered drill (we’ve been using the DEWALT Compact Lithium 18v) and is simple in design. With two serrated blades running under a large brush, the greens are gently forced into the blades and then into a canvas basket behind them. It needs frequent dumping (into a box or tote) and can strain the back when used for more than an hour, but OMG we love this thing. One of us can harvest 150lbs of greens in a little over an hour while the others harvest everything else and start washing. The greens get cut faster, are cooled faster, and last longer. Our man power is used much more efficiently, and we’re able to grow greater quantities without choosing between hiring more help or spending 10 hours harvesting greens every week.

Using the cutter has required only small changes in our greens production. We weed all of the greens thoroughly before they’re cut, more so than we did before as now there’s no human effort to avoid weedy patches. I’ve also been seeding the arugula and salad in narrower strips to accommodate the smaller width of the cutter (15″) so that the shoes don’t get caught in dense greens. It leaves the bed with even stubble so we can still cut our salad, mizuna, baby kale, and even arugula twice. It’s a dream for the kale and mizuna and it’s easily adjusted for a higher cut for that second round of salad and arugula. While the machine certainly doesn’t clean the bed like you can when harvesting by hand, that small loss is well worth the time and energy we save by using it.

Margaret and I first heard about the Cutter from Jean-Martin Fortier’s review in Growing for Market this winter. At first, we weren’t convinced: it’s the very first of it’s kind which means it’ll have flaws… maybe we should wait for the next version… But when we heard a first hand account from our friend Victoria of Deluge Farm, we decided to buy one anyway. After using it for almost two months now, I agree with much of Jean-Marten’s review and his critiques. The basket could be stronger, the shoes could be designed so they don’t get caught on densely seeded greens, the brush could reach all the way to the edge of the machine instead of leaving 1″ gaps in the corners, it could collapse for easier transportation and storage, and it could be easier on the operator. All of these issues, I imagine, will be hashed out over at Johnny’s in the next couple years and by 2015 we’ll have an even better small-farm greens Cutter. Even with all those critiques, this is a fantastic investment for small growers. The next greens cutter on the market is enormous and sells for over $10,000. The Quick Cut Greens Harvester is a deal at $500 plus the cost of an extra cordless drill.

We shot the following little video of the very first time we cut our greens with the Cutter. You can see that it’s early spring and the greens are little. I hadn’t started seeding the arugula in smaller strips yet (I’ve been seeding 3 strips of 3 rows of seed per bed, though 2 strips of 4 or 5 worked as well if not better). Also since this video, I took the shoes off of the machine (see below), I’ve learned better how to hold the cutter better balanced vertically, instead of pushing it through the greens, and how to dump it more easily and quickly.

If you’re thinking about buying this Greens Cutter but you’re not convinced, come see this thing in action. We harvest Monday and Thursday mornings. Just drop a line and let us know when you’d like to come by.

… And here’s a huge thank you and shout out to Jonathan Dysinger. Can’t wait to see what you do next, buddy.

*** A NOTE FROM THE MAN HIMSELF, JONATHAN DYSINGER (who wrote to us after seeing the review above):

“I agree with you that the standoff feet tend to drag… You could try just removing them and free handing it. You may find that after a few times you get used to it. It causes less drag which allows you to cut faster.

Also a note of warning… Be sure that your drill clutch setting is set no more than half torque. We are having some failures in the cam mechanism and this will hopefully save you trouble down the road… You probably will not notice extended battery life but the reason for running at half torque is to protect the system. For instance, if you were cutting along and a little rock or something jams the blade mechanism, if the drill is at full torque, it is likely to break the crank, bearing, or bend something. With the drill at full torque something WILL give!  At half toque, in the incident that something jams, the drill clutch will slip rather than break something.  This is VERY important!”

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Click here for a post on yearly Harvester maintenance

June showers bring…

It’s been a crazy few weeks and we’re finally getting caught up on all the planting, weeding, seeding, and harvesting that’s been on our list for ages. Our new intern, Heidi (you may know Heidi from the produce dept of The Good Food Store or as HipHop dance prof at The Missoula Dance Collective, among other things), has arrived and is a stellar worker. We are SO happy she’s here.

The goats are loving the luscious grass selection and the kiddos (Enrique, Loretta, and Little Bit) are growing fast and getting super playful. We’re making goat cheese and yogurt often, eating each at least once a day.

Our Farm Share (CSA) begins this week, and we’re super excited to see old and new members at pick up. Just like last year, we’ll be on the green outside the Missoula Food Coop/Burns Street Bistro every Tuesday evening until mid-October. We’re even scheming to partner with the Coop for recipes and other delicious treats – yum! This week includes rhubarb, mint, and asparagus (the last, the very last of the season). This year we’ll have monthly newsletters. June’s is below, with a few choice photos for the springtime.

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Sprung.

A little photo update of farm life this second day of May.

First, a brief tribute to Steve Dagger, our landlord/caretaker. He just never stops. The intern/guest cabin looks amazing. When we first started talking about this project, I envisioned a hap-hazard shack. But this thing is a beauty. Steve has done a lot of work these past few weeks finishing the siding and putting up screens for the porch. We can’t wait to have people in it. With a fantastic wood stove (thanks Lindsay and Bob!!), it’s open for winter visitors too… just fyi.


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Our current visitors, Fennec and Orion, started the base for our new outhouse a few days ago and Steve topped it off today – perfectly level. He says he’d like to build a stone house one day, so if you want a stone house, give him a call.

This will eventually be a two-seater outhouse. Blocking off one side at a time to let the other compost (not to be used on our produce).

That’s the old outhouse in the background. Functional, but in desperate need of rebuilding. I take it back; the roof is definitely not functional.

 

 

May first (yesterday) morning, there was a fine covering of two inches of snow. It was possibly the most beautiful morning I’ve ever seen at the farm. As the snow melted, blue skies came out, and everything stood tall under the sun.

 

Then today. It was 65 degrees. Sunny. Gorgeous. The perfect spring day. You’ll see some of these friendly greens at market on Saturday, and more next week.

 

Our greenhouse has desperately needed some extra ventilation (it was over 120 deg in there in July last year… in fact I don’t know exactly how hot it was, because my thermometer doesn’t go any higher. But it melted our seedling trays). And now it has some. This attic exhaust fan (HomeDepot, $89) comes complete with thermostat. It doesn’t have a fancy louvre system to go with it, but for a low cost vent solution, this is it. I was able to use a jigsaw to cut through the polycarbonate and put a quick frame around it, which will be sealed later. I’ll need to build a little door or louvre to keep warm air in when we want it, but it’s already keeping things cooler.

Today’s second project was to rebuild the goat feeder. Tinkerbell enjoyed sleeping and eating INSIDE the old one, and finally busted it apart the other day. This is an altered version of what we started with. It no longer has bars for the goats to stick their head through (except for minerals), but the trough under the feed still saves a lot of fallen hay.

Also, Lucinda is due in 5 days. LOOK AT THAT BELLY.

And, finally, a honeybee on a grape hyacinth. My favorite.

bee on hyacinth 1

 

SNAP Shares – How and Why?

Periodically, we get an email or a phone call from a farm or organization around the country asking about our SNAP shares: how they work, is the program successful, etc. I thought I’d post my most recent email answering some of those questions. More general information and how you can join (*We have 4 more spots in our 2013 CSA for SNAP members – spread the word!*) can be found on our SNAP Share page.

A brief overview of our SNAP Share program: We offer a small number of shares every year that can be paid for with SNAP benefits (i.e. Food Stamps). Members pay for their share weekly, as legally we can’t accept SNAP benefits as pre-payment. While this isn’t a traditional CSA practice (the purpose of a CSA is to provide the farmer with funds early in the season), it’s ideal for our members. Because of this weekly incremental payment system, we ask for a cash deposit at the beginning of the season as insurance for us – if SNAP members miss a week or two, we take those payments out of their deposit. We’ve offered SNAP Shares successfully since 2011, and look forward to continuing to provide local produce for low income families in our community.

What need did you notice in your community when you decided to offer the SNAP shares (what motivated you to offer them in the first place)?
Margaret and I have both been on SNAP benefits ourselves before, and we have a number of friends that have been or are currently on them. We know from experience that they don’t go very far and that it’s difficult to buy local produce as it’s more expensive and often less accessible. We wanted to offer shares to low income families to make local food easy to find, and we discount them because our shares (CSA shares in general) are just too expensive for families on SNAP benefits.

Did you have others coming to you with interest in a share but not being able to afford it?
We began our CSA and SNAP Share program our very first season in Montana, which was also in the middle of our first year in Montana. We wanted to provide SNAP shares from the get go, and quickly found that few CSAs accept SNAP payments. I think many families and individuals on SNAP benefits don’t even think to look at CSAs as a source of produce until it’s presented (at farmers market, in the grocery/natural food store, in the coop, etc).

How does the donation system for supporting those shares work out for you?
Almost no one donates unless solicited, unfortunately. We sold t-shrits to raise funds last year, and with a couple small donations (all friends of ours), were able to make up for the initial discount we automatically give and drop the price farther. We secured a big donation from a local philanthropist this year, which allows us to cut SNAP shares by almost half, but I don’t think donations are a sustainable way to make up for the discount. We’ve thought about sliding scale shares, but without 10-30% of your members willing to pay top dollar, it doesn’t work. In the future, we’d like to work with Wholesome Wave or a different organization to double SNAP dollars when they’re used with our CSA. They do it farmers markets and the like, and they’re interested in doing it for CSAs, but they’re dependent on funding and not taking new applications at this time.

What hoops did you have to jump through to get involved in the SNAP program in the first place?
Getting certified to accept SNAP benefits is simple. At least it was in Montana. We sent in an application though the MT Dept of Public Health (as a “farm stand” – there is no application for CSAs), and about a month later we had our machine to swipe cards. It’s all free, it’s pretty easy, and you just have to go through your state department (as SNAP is allocated on a state by state basis).

How did you determine how much to discount the SNAP shares from the full price?
Our first season, we discounted shares by 20% because we knew that they were too expensive for SNAP members and decided to just eat that loss. We found that even with that discount, almost all our SNAP members paid with cash or check at the end of the month when their benefits ran out. So the following year we sold t-shirts as a fundraiser to discount them farther (and to make back that 20% loss on our part). It was successful and we were able to discount the shares by slightly more than 20%. We had fewer members paying cash at the end of the month and felt like we were able to offer our shares at an affordable price for low income members. As noted above, I’d like to use a double buck program to cut the share cost in half every year, making the shares truly affordable.

We are very proud to offer our SNAP Shares and truly believe in fresh local food for everyone. If you have other questions about how our shares work, check out our SNAP Share page or get in touch with us directly. The more farms and organizations that can offer affordable and accessible produce to low income families and individuals, the stronger and healthier our community is.

East Coast Farm Tours and Friends

After putting up that low tunnel and seeding salad and agrugula, Margaret and I took off for a week. What began as just the annual trek to MA for Passover became so so much more this year. We visited some of our favorite farmers on the eastern seaboard and got to see the amazing things they’re doing. Our friends are doing such cool stuff I thought I’d share:


Superstars Cara and Luke at Quincy Farm (Schaghticoke, NY) are doing 3 markets a week in the WINTER, adding another and CSA in the summer. The farm, which they bought a few years ago is big and beautiful with a stunning view of the Hudson river. Growing on 6ish acres, they’re rocking the local markets with gorgeous produce.

mirtMiriam at Good Flavor Farm (Red Hook, NY) is selling CSAs through the Launch Expeditionary Learning Charter School in NYC this year. It’s a super cool system that provides families with fresh produce for the beginning of the school year (Sept-Dec), which means they get the best of the summer and the finest of storage veggies for the winter. And   Miriam can do markets early in the season without worrying about CSA commitments.


Ashely Loher & co. at Sparrowbush Farm (Claremont, NY) are raising veggies and meat (mmmm that lamb was so gooood!). She’s focusing on greens for winter markets with hoophouses and tunnels. She’s also rotating animals and crops, making use of a fantastic barn and pond that come with the property.


Just down the road, Hearty Roots (Claremont, NY), our old employer, is now feeding 900 families in NY state and Brooklyn and has added chickens to their rotation, collecting roughly 450 eggs/day. This is the same farm that I started with in 2007 when it had around 100 CSA shares. BR and Lindsey are kicking it up on the farm and doing some phenomenal work with the National Young Farmers Coalition at the same time.


Our buddy KayCee is starting her first season at the South Pine Street City Farm (Kingston, NY) and she’s heading up Kingston’s new YMCA Farm Project. I can’t wait to see both of these projects in a couple years. Urban farming is incredibly important and Kingston is about to reap the benefits of having two awesome urban gardens.


Dana and Abbi of Darlin’ Doe Farm (Germantown, NY)just bought a gorgeous new piece of land for their meat goats. Along with the land, they got multiple out buildings for art studios and guest houses, and a good acre of mature asparagus (!).

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Not only did we get to see our favorite east coast farmers and their farms, we ate the best cakes (thank you Mikee at Tivoli Bakery and cousin Jancie). Also we were so so pleased to see Pocatello – seriously, Sasha, Willis, Liv, and Adam… that was the best gift. If you have a chance to hear them play, you’d be an idiot to hesitate. A few of these cats are part time farmers, all of them are full time awesome.

We loved being with friends and family last week, but as always, it feels good to be home. Back to our own space and our little farm, where spring is in full force (63deg today!?), and we’re diving into the 2013 season with planting, seeding, and plowing.

DIY Low Tunnel Bender

This season Margaret and I are going to try and increase our production a little. We’re interested in growing more on the small amount of space we cultivate. While many farms in our region are taking advantage of the NRCS cost-share high tunnel program, we’re taking a different approach. I want to extend our season a little, but I don’t want to tie up a portion of our land in permanent plastic. So I’m building low tunnels instead. A 6’x100′ tunnel will span two beds and can be put up and taken down in a couple hours. Moreover, to cover the same ground as a high tunnel, low tunnels would cost about a 15th of the price.

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These low tunnels are built with standard 1/2″ or 3/4″ EMT electrical conduit, available at most hardware stores for as low as 1.90 per 10′ piece. This stuff is soft enough to work without heavy equipment, but strong enough for a small tunnel. The key is bending the conduit. Johnny’s Selected Seeds sells two different “Quick Hoops” pipe benders: one for a 6′ wide by 3′ tall tunnel, the other for a smaller arc, 4′ wide by 4′ tall tunnels. While they work well, they’re costly. $59 before shipping. So after calling around to some buddies to borrow one, I realized I could build one. Thanks to this awesome post by the folks at IttyBittyImpact, I built a perfectly functional bender in about 10 minutes from wood scraps on the farm.

The basics are simple. Cut out a portion of your circle then sandwich that piece between two boards. Lastly, screw in a brace on one end of the bender to hold your conduit in place while bending.

Detailed steps to building a Low Tunnel EMT conduit Bender:
1. Determine the radius of the tunnel you’re building. For the 6′ wide by 3′ high, the radius is 3′. For the taller and narrower tunnels, the radius is 2′.
2. Build a giant compass. Either cut a piece of scrap wood or piece of string to the length of your radius.
3. Attach one end of your compass to something stationary (or have someone stand on it). With the other end, trace a portion of your circle on piece of 3/4″ plywood.
4. Cut out your circle. This is what the conduit is going to be bent around.
5. Sandwich this bit of circle between two boards (at least 2′ long and 1′ wide), ensuring that the boards exceed the rounded edge of the plywood so that when you’re bending the conduit you have an easy track to follow. Screw it all in place.
6. Place a block of that 3/4″ plywood between those boards on one end of your new bender. Leave enough room to fit an end of conduit between the brace and the rounded edge of the plywood. Screw this securely in place. This brace holds the conduit in place while you’re bending it around the circle.

1 radius measure
Raduis measure – I just held one of end of the radius measure in place while I traced the circle onto a piece of plywood. Then cut it.

1.5 bottom board

2 putting together

5 hole for pipe endHere’s that hole between the block and the plywood arc that holds the EMT in place while it’s being bent. You can see that I used two pieces of 1/2″ plywood to make my arc instead of one 3/4″ piece.

You’re done! Clamp this baby in place and put one end of your pipe in your bender and bend away. Place one end of the 10′ conduit into the bender. For a 6′ hoop, you’ll need to bend the entire piece so start with the end of it even with your brace. Bend it around and then feed about a foot through the brace end of the bender and bend again. Repeat until you’re half way through and then pull the conduit out of the bender and switch sides. This helps keep the circle even on each side. (For 4′ hoops, you’ll feed about 4′ of the conduit through the bender before bending and you’ll only need to bend it once or twice).

6 bending 2

7 bending 1

8 bending 4

9 imperfect hoopsYou can see that the hoops aren’t perfect, but they’re close enough.

10 hoops

Next get yourself some plastic (Johnny’s has 10’x100′ pieces for about $80, or cut Nolt’s 24’x100′ for $90 in half) and set ‘er up. If you experience high winds, you’ll want to dig in one long edge of the tunnel.

I’ll till the soil, seed it, and set drip before putting up our tunnel. I’m experimenting with some micro sprinklers for early greens, but the rest will be watered via drip tape or tubing. The plan is to grow our early crops under tunnels and then take them down, till, and re-seed (salad, arugula, or other fast greens) for a second harvest. With the warm February and March we’re having, we should be able to get a jump on the season and make better use of our land in early spring.

Back in the Saddle, Again.

So here we are in another year. The sun didn’t explode, the snows came, and firewood still burns hot. Margaret and I took November and December off to relax, travel, and not think about the farm. The first two we did totally successfully, the last task we did only marginally well.

Thanks to our buddy Bob, we were able to take off for 2 weeks and drive down to Texas to see family, to ride our bicycles (!!!) around Santa Fe and Austin, see some fantastic live music, and eat incredible tacos. No joke, the best tacos we had were found at The Velvet Taco in Dallas. I think I was the only one giggling. Either everyone else shoving tacos in their mouth was already over the joke or didn’t get it. In December, we spent the holidays and New Years with my family in Idaho and toasted to 2012 on the ski slopes.

The goats have been bred, both to freshen in May. Lucy is fat and bossy as ever, the kids are growing nicely, and Ke$ha is still the farm sweetheart. I butchered our whether, Bruno, in early December along with a number of older laying hens from which I made gallons of stock.

Percy the cat had a little trouble with his usual acrobatics and ripped a hole in his belly that we had to get sewn up. He didn’t seem to mind either way, but now he has a gigantic scar to show off to the ladies in town. Since his stitches have been out, I’ve seen him jump from the car port roof to the greenhouse and back again multiple times. I’ve also seen him slide off the roof of the greenhouse on a slippery layer of new snow, landing on his feet. After boring weeks of recovery, he started leaving serious carnage around the house and barn: mice bodies, frozen to the ground, heads staring blankly from a few inches away. He has become an excellent barn kitty, and increasingly skilled at sneaking into the house to snooze by the stove.

Our indoor plants are thriving with all the attention we’re giving them now that they’re our only greenery. I broke the lemon tree pot and built a new, larger, container for it filled with aged compost and plenty of water. It looks healthier than ever and is growing lots of new foliage.

I’ve been reading books galore and catching up on some of the better tv shows out there (and my fair share of really bad shows). We’ve been making all kinds of delicious winter-y dishes with our stored, canned, and frozen produce and have been enjoying experimenting with making cheese from Pattie’s extra milk (thanks, Pattie!).

When she’s not filling in at the Good Food Store, Margaret has been whirring away on her new sewing machine, making me a couple incredible vests and fixing up all kinds of stuff in the house. She also carved a super cute holiday card linoleum print of Coda running with a zucchini.

Now that 2013 has hit in full force, we’ve been pouring over seed catalogs, editing the website, and recording all our 2012 info. We harvested almost 13,000lbs of produce this year, not including plums, apples, or pears! 850lbs of arugula, 1,300lbs of salad greens, and 2,500lbs of english cucumbers.

We’ve lined up a full time intern for 2013, in the hopes that we’ll get more time to enjoy the farm and more help to make harvest and production more efficient. You’ll meet her this summer, she’s super.

Next season will see a few new things from County Rail. We’ll be trying some specialty greens on for size (in addition to our arugula and mizuna, of course) and we’ve decided to cut our losses and quit doing things that don’t work for us. Melons, for example, are falling by the way-side to make room for other stuff we grow well. Support our neighbors at Dixon Melons, instead.

We’re keeping our CSA small at 25, and thanks to a hugely generous donation from a local philanthropist, our SNAP members will get an incredible deal on their shares this season. Check out the SNAP page for details.

Margaret and I are psyched to be heading into our third season. Pommes de Terre has brought us nothing if not the feeling of home, fulfillment, and community. Farmers always say that next year will be better, and dog gamit, so it will. We’re always learning new tricks, tackling new challenges, and tweaking our system to make it more productive and sustainable.

So here’s to 2012, and here’s to 2013 in all it’s day-dreaming winter glory, for “January is just the tail end of a dog called Spring.”