Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Chris Long and Neth Hass came out today to begin putting up the front and back walls of the high tunnel greenhouse. Bougs, Chris's dog, came back to make sure everything was done correctly! Our buddy Phil lead the way on Saturday by helping to finish up the structure so the rest of our angels could work on the walls today.
The next step for us is putting up the plastic! That will be a great photo op. We will finish the high tunnel with digging the trenches for the drainage. This requires a back hoe, gravel and drainage pipe. Once that is complete our second high tunnel greenhouse will be ready for us to plant.
Steve has experience growing winter crops in our first greenhouse but we have only grown enough for us to eat over the lean winter months. So, even for a veteran like Steve, growing a larger amount and variety of winter veggies will be a new challenge as well as fun and we are excited and ready for it.
The thank yous today go out, once again, to Neth Hass and his expert carpentry skills and to Chris Long, who has ignored his heeling injured foot to come out and do a lot of physical work for us. Without them we would be lost.
We are looking forward to supplying Southern Illinois with very local, fresh organically grown cold season veggies. Stay tuned for more.
Our game plan for our Winter/Spring shares is: Our Summer/Fall distribution runs from June to November (thanksgiving) so we thought we'd give Steve a break in December and begin distribution of the Winter/Spring shares in January 2012. It will allow for 6 to 8 more weeks of great local organically grown veggies and herbs and will take us into March and perhaps April. Folks who are interested can join for the Winter/Spring shares as a stand alone section of Hollow Pumpkin C.S.A. or they can opt to combine it with the 24 week Summer/Fall section and receive 30 to 32 weeks of local, organically grown vegetables, herbs and fruit. Please see the detail page for more information.
Thursday, February 3, 2011
It's time for everyone to get out into their greenhouses and start planting for the spring! Steve and Ryan Campbell are doing just that today. Weeding, hoeing, turning over the soil...whatever it is your doing it is working the land and there is no better cure for the winter blues! Spring is almost here indeed.
Though, we have not gotten the new greenhouse totally constructed yet, we still have our first greenhouse to tend to. It is time to plant spring carrots, beets and parsley. As you can see by the smiling face, Steve is having fun. So get out there and plant or start some seeds inside....get you hands in some dirt - you never know what you will find!
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
The most frequently asked question for this coming season has been: How long do I have before I have to make my payment?
The premise of any Community Supported Agricultural project is that the community (members) pre-pay in advance of the growing season in order for the farm and farmer to purchase the necessary materials and equipment to have a successful harvest. The list is usually long and since most of the farmers income, in Southern Illinois, comes in the late spring, summer and fall, finances can be sparse over the winter and in January and February when seed, repairs and materials and equipment are needed to begin. For instance, the seed order is placed in January and seeding begins in February. Fertilizer, mulch, manure, fencing and fencing repairs, tractor repairs and let's not forget farm hands are needed at this time when the cash flow is very low. Also, in the case of a growing C.S.A., the farmer may want to improve his/her infrastructure to assist in getting the best quality and quantity out of the land. this may include items such as irrigation, refrigeration perhaps adding added value items for his/her members such as chickens and a chicken coop to provide eggs etc. The C.S.A. members reap the benefit of all of this. The earlier a member's payment arrives the better the C.S.A and farm will be.
Having said all of that, we realize the economy has been tough on us all! who else should know that than a farmer. So, Hollow Pumpkin C.S.A. has not set a specific time parameter (other than those who choose the installment plan.) Since the distribution period begins around the 1st of June we would want those folks who are going to make a full payment to have their payment in by the middle of May. For folks who decide to choose the installment plan, we would want the down payment by the 1st of April since the first installment would be the 1st of May. The bottom line is - If there is no cash flow when the work season begins in February than the farmer cannot do everything that is necessary to make the season the best he/she can, so the earlier the better.
The other issue to remember is our membership quota. This year we are looking to have a maximum of 30 members. Once we take on 30 members we will stop taking membership for the season. We still have a few spots to fill. However they are filling up fast.
I hope this answers the question for everyone. Spring is coming fast and the excitement of the 2011 season is growing. Here's to a great season for all small Southern Illinois farms and farmers!