The Fresh Picked
Farm Update, March 2016
March has been a very interesting transition month as we have gone from paper to plow. Over the winter most of what we have done is research: whether that be attending farm conferences, surfing the web, pouring through books, questioning farmers or working with extension agencies. We drilled a couple of wells and purchased some equipment including our tractors. Tested our soil, familiarized ourselves with irrigation and composting techniques, the life cycle of bugs, benefits of cover cropping. We also waited for the soil to dry out a bit. March has been a month of action and here is where we are.
Firstly it has been great for Norman’s Farm Market to be mentoring with Denise Sharp of Sharp’s Farm who is growing all our transplants from seed in her greenhouses. Denise is an encyclopedia of horticultural knowledge and field experience and Jeff and I have thoroughly enjoyed our meetings in her sunroom with its panoramic view of the farm watching the waterfowl down at the pond and discussing our seed order. Jeff and I are like sponges, trying to absorb every word on a meandering track with Denise and learning all kinds of details. I write profusely trying to capture every word, “...The shade of the spent melon vines help keep the fall broccoli planting cool and get established it also gives you an extra crop on the same plastic mulch..Planting alyssum in the picker’s lanes at the end of each row is easily stepped over and attracts beneficial insects. It’s like a lounge where they can wait for dinner.” Our core staff of Anne, Torrey, and Yamileth have been apprenticing with Denise, planting seeds, thinning trays, and learning the ropes of the greenhouse. I find it to be a symbiotic relationship.
Meanwhile down the road at our new farm we had the pleasure of taking our plan from an 8 ½ “ by 11” sheet of paper onto a 10 acre plot of land. It is as if the tractor and chisel plow become the pencil drawing out our grid of soon to be vegetable plots. One of my favorite books from this winter was Elliot Coleman’s “New Organic Grower”. His method in laying out a 5 acre farm in 10 individual ½ acre plots on a 10 year rotation of cash and cover crops, inspired us to develop our own method. Our area will be made up of 24 or so ⅓ acre plots, each one with thirteen 200’ rows. Developing a pattern of rotation which takes into account all kinds of factors including timing, nutrient requirements, impact on the soil, etc… is a thought process you can get lost in. It feels like you are solving a puzzle and creating some kind of composition at the same time. It’s like soduko meets songwriting. This year will be a work in progress but we feel good about a solid well thought out plan as a blueprint for us to go off of. I’ve been warned that mother nature doesn’t necessarily think too much of plans though, so ask me in a couple months how closely we are sticking to it.
Coming up over the next few weeks we will be raising our first barn; as well as chisel plowing and discing our fields. We will layout our irrigation and lay plastic mulch. We are aiming for late March for our first direct seeding. We will be planting arugula, spinach, lettuce, kale, tatsoi, mizzuna, radishes and carrots. Our first transplants are scheduled for the week of April 10 and will include broccoli, cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, head lettuce, and scallions. Stay tuned for more updates.
Dear 2016 CSA Members,
Our Sunday CSA pickup has been changed on us by the County, we cannot be at Rock Creek Forest Elementary School this season due to another organization being at Rock Creek on Sundays until 2pm, therefore, we must change back to North Chevy Chase Elementary School on Sundays from 12-3pm.
We are sorry for any inconvenience this may occur.
Please let me know if there is any issue. Thank you so much for understanding and we are excited for the season to begin!
Please note this email is sent to all CSA members, regardless of your pickup.
WE HAVE GREAT NEWS!
As of Wednesday, December 23, 2015,we are proud owners of a 60 acre farm in Woodbine, MD.
Can't wait to have everyone out to see it!
Thank you for all your support through the years and especially this past month, we truly appreciate each and every one of you.
Cheers, The Normans'
WEEK 4 OF 6
SATURDAY - WESTLAND MIDDLE SCHOOL ROADSIDE STAND 11AM-2PM
SUNDAY - JONES MILL ROADSIDE STAND 11AM-2PM
HAVE A WONDERFUL WEEKEND!
Dear Winter Share Member,
We are so excited for this final season to this amazing year! We are loaded with beautiful, delicious, and amazing produce! We are digging high and low for the best and freshest product around. We are so happy you are continuing with us.
Some details about the next 6 weeks:
1. Winter CSA starts THIS WEEKEND!
2. You have paid for 6 weeks (disregard what we may have told people about the 5 week thing...we were wrong:) and can miss 1 week with 1 makeup allowed. Remember this has to be within the 6 weeks winter share.
3. Pickups are ONLY on the weekends:
Saturdays 11am-2pm: Mass Ave at our Westland Middle School roadside stand, Bethesda
Sundays 11am-2pm: Jones Mill Rd. roadside stand, Chevy Chase
Please remember to bring your bags to put your goodies in, we are adding some new specialty products as well.
See you this weekend!
Eris & Torrey
GET READY FOR YOUR HALLOWEEN PARTY
Dear CSA Member,
We hope you are enjoying the bounty each week.
As you can imagine, it is difficult to budget our production with our farmers and to provide as much selection as we try to bring to you each week. We really try to make sure that everyone (no matter if you are coming at the beginning or end) has a great selection to choose from.
This email serves as a courtesy reminder that baskets in step 2 and 3 should not exceed 3 pounds (3.2 lbs with basket weight) for a small and 6 pounds (6.3 lbs for basket weight) for a large AND produce should fit into the basket. We realize that certain items don't fit into the baskets very well, however, these basket weights are based on the heaviest items and it is not a guarantee that everyone should get 3 pounds or 6 pounds.
The baskets are a unit of volume, not weight. Produce varies in weight by the bushel. For example, a bushel of tomatoes may equal 50 pounds whereas a bushel of peppers may equal 24 pounds. By this principal, the baskets may not weigh the same when you fill them. This is why we say, should not exceed 3 pounds for a small basket or 6 pounds for a large basket AND produce should fit into the basket.
Thank you for understanding, we are simply trying to get everyone on the same page as we know it has been confusing. Please feel free to ask for assistance at your pickup regarding weights. We are happy to help and happy to have you at our CSA.
Eris, John and Jeff Norman
This week is the last week of Early Season. Please make sure you sign up for next season online or you can email us if you are having trouble.
Eris, John and Jeff Norman
Hello May CSA member,
If you have not signed up for the next season which is our 8 week early season, please do so. We will be closing registration next Wednesday, June 3rd.
To enter your account please login here.
We hope to see you continue on with us.
John, Eris, and Jeff Norman