How auspicious to be beginning our harvest season on the Summer Solstice! A little later than usual because of that mighty winter, wasn't it?
We hope you and your loved ones all stayed safe and relatively dry.
Your farmers had a wonderful winter resting, spending quality time with friends and family, and prepping and plotting this very harvest season.
Three big milestones occurred this winter 1.) Kayta transitioned out of her other full-time job and is now farming here full time! Huge is an understatement. 2.) Because of the amazing support from our community (you!) we're also able to run this year "full CSA", meaning we will not be going to farmers markets or selling wholesale. This was always our intent, we didn't think it would happen so fast. And last but not least... 3) Kayta and I got married in early March on the farm, surrounded by family and friends.
As for the farm and the land itself...
It had an eminently soggy winter. Much needed in the streams and lakes and aquifers and soils and life of this parched land... but also humbling for the farmers of Sonoma County. But that's one reason why we love what we do.
Here at Green Valley Community Farm the incessant saturation offered us a good learning experience in how the land, soil, and the plant communities here handle a dousing Sonoma County winter. There were those that loved the swimming pool! (Check out the Vietnamese coriander!) And there were those who toughed it out, like this year's garlic, who powered through what looked like a rice paddy much of the winter, to bulb up for what looks like a great crop. And there were those that succumbed: We lost a handful of the more dry land loving perennial herbs in the garden (thyme, tarragon, culinary sage) who are now re-established in wine barrels or moved to drier spots. After that cold storm in late May, we had to ditch our first plantings of broccoli and cabbage for lack of dry ground to plant them in, and watch as our first (of many) melon and cucumber crops and our single eggplant crop (almost) died in the field.
For the harvest shares this summer, this will mean slightly later flowers and herbs, broccoli, cabbage, and cucumbers and a leaner eggplant year. Aye, it's the first time in our farm's young history (but surely not the last) that a weather event will leave a handprint on our harvest in the form of NOT having something.
But it is here that we think the true heart and power of this CSA model, for both farmer and member, is revealed.
The word "humble" comes from the same root of the word "humus". To be humbled means to be close to the Earth. For most of us in Sonoma County, living in this time and this way, we rarely, if ever are humbled when it comes to food. The experience of being humbled by a storm is not available to us in the aisles of Whole Foods. But it is an essential human experience. It can teach us so many things. It can make us so grateful for what we have. And perhaps chief among these things: It can bring us together.
The CSA model allows a group of people to be humbled together. To be close to one piece of land, its moods, its storms... together. This also allows us to celebrate together, to celebrate the abundances as a community. While other Sonoma County farmers were toughing out a financially scary spring relatively alone, without the support of the people that eat their food because they had none to sell, we had your support. Your support to wait, to not push the soil, to build ghome homes in the garden, to hold on and wait out the rain.
Thank you for joining us for this harvest season! We're honored to be farming for you!
See you in the fields,
David and Kayta