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December 3, 2013

I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank all of our CSA shareholders, farmers’ market customers and supporters, for getting us through another growing year.  Your support and feedback, (both positive and negative) allows us to keep our mission on track.  Our success is knowing we have a market for what we believe is the most sustainably grown and high quality produce available.

Our 2013 season is coming to an end and it’s time to take a look back as well as a look forward. This year was an unusually long and fruitful growing season. Partially due to lack of rainfall but also to the lack of fog, the crops got started earlier and grew faster than usual. Things that sometimes have a hard time near the coast like peppers, tomatoes and eggplant produced well and over a longer period than usual. There were a few crop failures like the chard, which for some reason was problematic, but it appears that not too many people seemed to miss it this year. Overall it was a good year with most crops coming through just fine.

Thanks to some late 2012 rains, our water supply hung in there even though it was the driest year on record. That could always change. If the long range forecasters are to be believed and we are due for another dry year in 2014 then there could be some trouble for those of us that depend on seasonal rainfall. We truly hope they are wrong. Rainfall is the thing that California farmers worry about most. Among other factors, little rainfall could seriously curtail what variety and quantity of items we can grow.

This year we had success turning the farm business around in ways that were needed and will help us get through the natural and economic ups and downs of farming. We have been trying over the last few years to focus our markets more directly and locally and less and less to the far off shipping markets.  We are now keeping a majority of our sales either in Santa Cruz County or into the SF Bay area. … Read the rest

December 3, 2013

Fuyu Persimmons
Red or Green Cabbage
Fennel
Romaine Lettuce
Red Gem Lettuce
Radicchio
Spinach
Winter Squash
Chinese Pears
Cilantro
Italian Parsley
Pac Choi

 … Read the rest

November 26, 2013

Collards
Red Gem Lettuce
Pac Choi
Red Mustard
Désirée Potatoes
Mixed Winter Squash
Fuyu Persimmons
Thyme

 

 … Read the rest

November 19, 2013

All of the sudden the season has changed. Our orchards are turning colors and trees are dropping their leaves. Persimmon season is upon us, the leaves are turning that bright orange hue that gives us a bit of that feeling of fall. Soon there will only be the unpicked fruit remaining on the branches. Winter fruit is such a treat and we try to stretch out the bounty as long as possible.

Thanks to a beautiful and sunny fall, we are very satisfied that the majority of the fields has a very good ground cover on it. Whether it’s winter cover crop or over wintering vegetables, our soil isn’t bare and the green cover will be able to help mitigate erosion when the rains finally do come.  We even sow cover crop in our orchards.

Our warehouse is full of various types of winter squash! We brought it all in just in time for the rains to start.  Boxes are piled high to the rafters. Having had the driest year to date in recorded history, we are looking forward to a little rain this week. The soil is so dry that it’s going to take a good amount of moisture to really soak in, but anything is appreciated. It’s too early to pull the pumps out at Waddell Creek or turn off power to our wells, but we are hoping that we don’t have to spend any more on irrigating crops for the winter. Rain is the best quality irrigation money can’t buy!

Speaking of electrical power, it’s getting very interesting for the potential for energy to and from The People. There is a move afoot in Santa Cruz to get local control of our power supply and to decide how we can have more clean energy from local businesses and rooftops while maintaining traditional rates. VERY INTERESTING!   Learn for yourself, see here for more information.

Our next newsletter won’t come out until December 3rd so we want to wish you, your family and friends and our community a very happy Thanksgiving!… Read the rest

November 19, 2013

Gold Beets
Green Cabbage
Red Mustard
Fennel
Lacinato Kale
Little Gem Lettuce
Red Kabocha
Gold Summer Squash
Hachiya Persimmons
Rosemary… Read the rest

November 12, 2013

Frisée
Red Little Gem Lettuce
Green Little Gem Lettuce
Ruby Streaks Mustard
Winter Squash
Eggplant
Spinach
Cauliflower
ThymeRead the rest

November 5, 2013

Leaves are changing and so are we!  We have begun the seasonal slowdown, both in our planting and in our general work load.  It’s still pretty busy but without the urgency of keeping on schedule and keeping up with the weeds and harvesting.

We are finally looking at winter projects that we never seem to have the time for rest of the year.

We recently did some radical and innovative pruning on the Hass avocados at our Rancho del Oso farm.  The trees were planted about 15 years ago and had become long and leggy since they were planted on 15 foot spacing.

We had originally planned on thinning every other tree so they would be 30 feet apart, but decided on reshaping them and maintaining their size and shape in the high density spacing to facilitate better production.

It was kind of freaky at first right after we pruned the trees using a chainsaw, not knowing if it was really going to work or not.  Nothing happened for over a month and we thought we might have killed them. You can see the difference for yourself in the two pictures on the bottom left side of the newsletter.

All of a sudden the trunks became covered in sprouts and we breathed a sigh of relief as they grew almost before our eyes.  After about 2 months we began selecting which branches to save that would define the new tree shape. It’s going be interesting to see the difference in what we end up with after our radical ‘haircut’.

 

 … Read the rest

November 5, 2013

Red Dandelion
Italian Parsley
Desiree Potatoes
Fennel
Lettuce Mix
Delicata & Red Kabocha
Sage

 

 … Read the rest