This past week I’ve been involved with a lot of different aspects of the farm, including coordinating the weekly CSA and going to the Telluride market.
We deliver CSA packages every week to 40-50 households. While we try to put as much of our produce in, we like to diversify by including items from other local and organic farms. After talking to the vegetable manager, Chris, about what we could harvest here, I talked to our resident merchant, Jack, about what was available in the valley. I also went about processing payments and contacting members to get an accurate count of who was getting a box and where (we have 3 main regions that we deliver to with multiple drop off locations!). Anyway, it was a little confusing the first time round but I definitely feel like I’m getting a handle on it and hope to do even better this week. There are a lot of trial boxes going out so I hope to show those prospective long-term members what we can deliver!
Other than that, I went to Telluride with Wayne and Adam where we brought tons of cherries. They sold like crazy and with Wayne’s experience with that market we had just enough to last us until the last 10 minutes. It was fun to interact with our customers and along with CSA I’ve been getting a lot of pleasure learning about them. It’s so nice to hear about how much people enjoy the organic goodies we’re putting together.
Got back to the farm this week and we’ve been really busy. We’ve been putting over thousands of tomatoes into the ground, setting out their irrigation and building thefoundations of the third hoop house. We have a new vegetable manager called Alex who has been showing us how it’s done.
We prepared the two hoop houses for the tomatoes, making raised beds and covering them with weed fabric to keep their temp up. If you look at the before & after pictures you’ll see the transformation from when we grew salads in there.
Other than that, I wanted to a discuss Biodynamics which I hadn’t heard of before coming here and that Alex has been telling me about. It’s based on 11 lectures by Rudolf Steiner in the 1920’s, right after Germany started using some intense chemical and pesticides after WWI. It’s developed into a system of agriculture that emphasizes growing food in harmony with nature. Instead of using disruptive chemicals and pesticides, a more controlled problem specific and non-invasive way of intervening is encouraged by using fermental herbal and mineral concoctions for example. Intelligent composting is also a focus as well as using moon cycles & other astronomical considerations to determine “flower, seed, and leaf periods”. For example, we just transplanted our tomatoes during a seeding phase; one reason this is to our advantage is that water is being pulled up to higher soil thanks to how close the moon is
Rudolf Steiner’s general philosophies are pretty interesting… He was born of a Goethe school of thought. One quote from Goethe was mentioned on Steiner’s wikipedia entry: “Thinking is no more and no less an organ of perception than the eye or ear. Just as the eye perceives colours and the ear sounds, so thinking perceives ideas.” Steiner is known as the founder of Anthrosophy, a sort of spiritual science. It emphasizes the development of creativity, imagination, and intuition in the isolation from sensory experiences. Anyway, I liked the wiki articles - check ‘em out.
Maybe I’ll talk about it more sometime but that’s all I know for now. We’ve got tons more planting to do so we’ll see how the crops respond to the biodynamic suggestions.
My mom and my sister Julie visited this Monday. Julie started biking cross country from Brooklyn more than 40 days ago. Mom flew into Colorado Springs a few days ago in order to assist her since she’s been biking this stretch alone. After giving them a tour around the farm, we sat down for an organic feast of turkey, mashed potatoes, and greens. I even talked Kat into making a rhubarb pie which was a delicious midnight snack for me and a nice energy boost for Julie’s breakfast.
Tuesday morning, we hit the road to bring Julie back to where she had left off on the Western Express; if you want to read up on her travels, check out www.spokenwordsfromtheroad.tumblr.com. Once Julie got on her way, Mom and I went out to Telluride, a touristic mountain town where White Buffalo actually attends farmers markets; they only started last week though and I haven’t gone yet. We ran a few errands and had lunch before hitting the road again to meet up with Julie who had already passed town. Cell reception was spotty but we saw some bikers with paniers on the side of the road and asked them if they’d seen Julie; they informed us that they had just met the brave lady and that she had left just minutes ago. Once we got to her, she took a 30 minute break with us to eat some food and chat with us before getting back on her bike. We spent the rest of the afternoon shadowing her until she met her checkpoint for the night. After finding a nice motel on the river in Dolores, CO, we went out for beer & pizza at the local brewery before calling it a night.
Wednesday morning, Julie took off bright and early. I had talked Mom into going to Moab, UT for the day, so we didn’t assist Julie as closely as we could have but we did see some awesome rock formations (see pictures) and backtracked to Blanding, UT to meet up with Julie at the end of her riding day. After setting her up for the night and getting some dinner, Mom and I hit the road for Salt Lake City where we have flights for Chicago tomorrow morning to spend the weekend celebrating Margaux’s graduation! I’ll be back on the farm Monday after this week long hiatus.