Season Finale

This is it! The final week of the 2022 CSA season. Can you believe it is already here? I certainly can’t. The season went by in a blur, but has had it’s share of highlights. I’m feeling a lot of gratitude, so wanted to reflect on all that went well.

While not all of our experiments were successful, some produced great results. We learned quite a bit and have been making notes about what to repeat in the future. We have a list of successful interplantings (scallions and lettuces were perhaps #1, with trellised cucumbers and parsley a close second) and our mixed cover crops provided great coverage and lots of mulch each time we cut them back. We’re looking forward to seeing what the soil feels like in the spring when the full effects of this boost in organic matter should begin to be felt. I’m grateful for all the insects and microbes that work so hard to build the soil in this way!

Despite the incident with the sheep and the chard, the chard made a comeback! It grew back more beautifully than before. We were thrilled to be able to include it in the final two CSA distributions and it’s looking like there will be plenty to continue to stock the farmstand for the next few weeks.

Our little student-built farmstand at Sweetland School turned out to be a great way to introduce the neighborhood to Hope’s Edge produce. We saw many long-time customers, but also met some new ones who hadn’t previously known about us. We are grateful for the student builders as well as our many loyal customers! It took a lot of labor to keep this little stand running each week, but the community response made it feel worth the effort. (Admittedly, we are relieved to relax into the on-the-farm farmstand location for the remaining weeks.) We’ll be open daily from 7am-7pm in the CSA shed. We hope you’ll visit!

Speaking of the students, we have been continually grateful for the energy, enthusiasm, and tremendous help the Sweetland students provide at the farm. Each week they arrive, ready to tackle whatever projects we’ve planned and often additional ones that we hadn’t dreamed of getting to! Mondays are always fun, productive days and we are so glad to get to spend them with this amazing group.

Finally, a huge hug of gratitude to all of our wonderful CSA members. You were all willing to take a chance on us this season. Your support, encouragement, and presence at the farm truly made this all worthwhile. I’ve loved getting to know each of you in the little moments of passing. You’ve shared stories, ups and downs, excitement and exhaustion. Thank you for being an integral part of the Hope’s Edge Community. We couldn’t do it without you!


Slowing Down and Feeling Grateful

Autumn has fully arrived: the cool temperatures, colorful leaves, and even the first frost. The plants are slowing in their production of food and I feel myself slowing as well. At the farm, the first frost means a forced final harvest for many of the “summer” crops: squash, beans, peppers, eggplant, tomatoes and cherry tomatoes, tomatillos, and husk cherries. All of these fruiting plants die when their leaves first freeze, so their fruits must all be harvested one final time. 

Then, the work shifts to the tubers. The potato and sweet potato foliage is also frost-tender, so our next task is pulling these sweet gems from the earth and letting them dry and cure in the sun for a while so that they can be stored for winter enjoyment. This year we had the gift of help from the hardworking students at Sweetland School, who arrived for their weekly hour and a half of farm education the day after the first frost. In that short amount of time, the cheerful group took care of all of the above harvesting including this week’s portion of the potatoes!

Once this scramble has passed, the number of remaining crops left to care for has decreased by about half. I’m grateful for the feeling of abundance that having crates full of vegetables on the stand brings. There is still plenty of work to be done, from continuing harvests to cleanup tasks, but the sense of urgency and the pace of it all has notably slowed. I find myself taking more time to reflect back over the season and all its ups and downs. A cup of hot tea made from our own milky oat tops and other herbs from my garden give a sense of the fullness that comes from a season of hard work and good food. I hope that you, too, can welcome the slowing of autumn after a full and beautiful summer. We are grateful for each of you and your presence in our community this season!