It’s a bittersweet time of year, these last days of October. Being a Scandanavian in mind, body and soul, I completely love these brooding cloudy days, when the air has a chill nip right into early afternoon. It’s a delight to see all the fruits of our labor roll in- the carrots and the broccoli and cabbage- and “fill the larders” for winter shares. And I love being able to turn in at 9 pm, read a bit (!), exhausted, without feeling that I’m missing anything outside, or with my sons.
But there’s also a distinct sadness to seeing 6 month’s work fade from vital green to parched brown over a few night’s time, and to counting down the days that the entire seasonal farm crew is here. Soon many will scatter like seeds in the autumn wind. This year we’re especially sad to be saying goodbye to Dana Jokela and Katie Sherman, two key links in the CSA chain for the past two years. Dana and Katie worked tirelessly to make this program a success, and their contributions were a major part of what made the program grow and thrive as it has. Thanks to both of you, from all of us at Featherstone Farm!
Take a moment and think of how this season evolved, from the daily downpours (snow in April and May through rain in June!) and chills of spring, through the “flash drought” and late heat waves of August and September. What a roller coaster ride! Again, all of us at Featherstone Farm are grateful for your patience and perseverance through it all. The numbers do add up- we can once again assure you that your CSA investment was a good investment, compared to retail price. But sometimes the season seemed like a stretch indeed.
We have a number of changes and improvements to the CSA program coming up for 2014, including different box configurations and a simpler crop mix (see our website for details). So far the big majority of your feedback on this has been very positive; after all, the changes are driven primarily by years of member surveys. But I will say, I’ve heard from a number of you who will be sad not to see edamame and tomatillos etc. in your boxes. To you I can only say I’m sorry. Please know that you are not alone in your appreciation of the “old school” Featherstone boxes. Also, a secondary but significant part of our motivation to simplify comes from a sense of humility here on the farm. We simply can’t be really good at growing 50+ different crops. And reducing to 30 or so will be much more sustainable for us on the farm on several levels.
Once again I have learned so much this year in farming, and in life. In a micro level, what a lesson to see that second planting of melons “turn around” from disease and stress, to full fruiting… all with a simple calibrated addition of potassium and calcium! And on the other end of the spectrum, what a revelation to see my son Emmet blossom into a full blown crew member, driving tractor and running irrigation with the best of ‘em! Oh, there have been challenges, too; which all comes in a season of farming. Yet I still feel like the luckiest guy in the world!
And lucky we all are here at Featherstone farm, to have such dedicated customers as yourselves. Your notes of appreciation buoy us through the tough times; your constructive criticism helps guide us to improve. It has been a great privilege to grow produce for you this season, and we hope to see you back next year, visiting the farm for tomato plants in May, or picking strawberries (form the huge new patch on the ridge…) at the June Strawberry Social. It’s no exaggeration: we could not do what we do at Featherstone Farm, without your support.
On behalf of all of us at Featherstone Farm, THANK YOU, and see you next year! (or next month, if you’re lucky enough to have a winter share coming… there are still a few available!)