<< Back to main

March CSA news

Posted 3/2/2010 11:41am by Gregg Keckler.
Dear Folks,
   Welcome to everyone who has signed up for 2010.  We are looking forward to growing for you this year.  Just three weeks til Spring!  The snow is slowly melting which is good because it will e absorbed better with a slow melt.  The leeks look good.  Mrch is the month for planting seeds.  By the thir week in March we will be planting tomato seeds.  We will start lettuce, chard, peppers, eggplant plus others before that.  If the ground is bare and not very soggy, we will plant peas directly into the soil by March 20.  Potatoes will also be planted by then.
   Gregg, Oliver and I were not able to prune raspberries in February because of the snow.  So as soon as they are cleared of snow, we will get right on them.  In the meantime Oliver has been doing his school work - finishing Algebra II, reading Twain and Kipling, and fighting his way through the Chemistry book.  When we do get out there to prune Oliver is doing the pruning this year and I will pick up the branches.  We prune the black raspberries, yellow, pink, and purple raspberries.  Gregg always prunes the red raspberries.  (They are his babies.)  He also prunes a little on the backberries.  Then don't require too much pruning.  We rarely prune blueberries, currants, gooseberries, and elderberries.
   We have a vining hardy kiwi, but it has not produced any fruit.  We have had it for 7 years.  It flowers, but never produces fruit.  If anyone has any ideas let us know.  We transplanted it from another property and it always produced until we transplanted it.
   Our February subscriptions were higher this year than in 2009.  Thanks to those of you who have signed up in February.  Your checks have allowed us to purchase a used water wheel transplanter which can be pulled behind the tractor.  This transplanter can be used on black plastic and bare ground, if it is dry.  This will be a great time saver and back saver.  Until now we were crawling along the rows: 1 person to dig holes, 1 person to plant the plugs, 1 person to water, 1 person to cover.  So thanks to you only 1 person the drive the tractor and 1 person the feed the planter.

     The Westminster, East Columbia and DOT markets will continue this year as in past years.  We are having a little change is Bethesda.  We will work out a market stand location in the Bethesda area.  We are in contact with 3 possible locations and we are sure one of them will work out.  If you planned to pick up in Bethesda, please bear with us as we work out these details.
   The National Geographic Society Wednesday drop off will remain unchanged.  We will be visiting you folks on March 18 outside the cafeteria.  Stop by and sign up or just visiit us and enjoy a great apple!
   We will be making a drop off on Saturday mornings to 128 Goucher Terrace, Gaithersburg.  So if you wish to pick up here, just indicate it on your subscription form.
  We are looking forward to coordinating a Wednesday delivery to businesses in the Bethesda area.  If your place of business would like to sign up at least 8 CSA shares you can get a delivery on Wednesdays.  Deliveries would be possible at any business or office along I-270 Clarkburg, Germantown, Gaithersburg, Rockville, or Bethesda and also any place in Washington DC NW.  Let us know if you would like to be a part of this delivery route.

    One last word regarding markets:  Several of you informed us that Bethesda Farmer's Market was being farmed out to Farm Fresh (a market advertizer).  We know how popular Farm Fresh markets are with customers.  They are big.  They have entertainment.  They encourage lots of competition.  (Check out DuPont Circle and Silver Springs)  They are great for customers and BIG farmers.  A small time farmer friend of ours went to Silver Springs for several years.  This year he finally bailed out.  The market fee was $1800 per season plus 6% of all sales.  As a small time farmer, this is a major chunk of cash. 
   You will notice that most farmers who go to Farm Fresh markets are big.  They can afford to sell for a lower price in order to get high volume sales.  We cannot sell high volume because we don't have acre after acre of produce.  A farmer who attends a Farm Fresh Market must consider the market sales as first priority in order to recoup the fees.  We consider our CSA shareholders first.  Then when they are satisfied  we sell the excess at market.  We could never have enough to sell at a Farm Fresh market that would give us enough revenue.  I am sure that most of you never notice thses things, but if we bring 6 1/2 bushel of peaches to market every week and they sell out - why don't we bring more?  Because we kinow how many peaches we need to supply our CSA abd we cannot afford to sell more or we wouldn't  have enough. 
   All this said - Farm Fresh Markets are great if you are a customer, but not if you are the small time farmer. 

Flashback:  July 27 CSA delivery: blueberries, peaches, cabbage, cucumber, peppers, honey, onion, potatoes, Swiss chard

We look forward to seeing everyone again soon.   If you have any questions or need any information, let us know.  Gregg and Louise Keckler - Orchard Country Produce