Just wanted to mention that we are coming to a close for the Strawberries in your weekly boxes….we are actually putting an extra pint in the share this week! We will still have Strawberries coming out of the fields though, and you are welcome to order flats if you like…..we can offer full flats at $32/12 pint flat, or a half flats at $20 /6 pints. Just call/email the farm office if you would like to reserve one.
A few of the members had some questions as to why, if we’re saying things like “bumper crop” of tomatoes, are they only receiving a few in their boxes? I would like to address that for you. Our CSA membership is about 500 this year, and we do promise to supply you with certain amounts of each vegetable. We try to plant and grow as close to what we promise as possible….occasionally crops do very well, and we have an abundance, which we share with you all.
When we offer “bulk Items” to you, such as tomatoes, strawberries or other items, we are offering those to you through our Farmers Market enterprise. Since the Market enterprise doesn’t promise anyone an amount of what they will be growing, they grow and harvest what they need to fill their market stands, and quite often, there is an abundance, which they sell wholesale to restaurants and groceries. It is from that abundance that we can then offer “bulk items” to our CSA members. We are happy to be able to offer this service to you with certain crops, and we don’t want you to think that we’re “giving away” veggies that are supposed to be in your share! We also don’t send you “market seconds”…the CSA and the Farmers Markets each have their own crops, grown and marked as such in the fields. I hope this answers any questions some of you might have in this arena. If you still have questions, please don’t hesitate to call/email me at the farm.
FARM VISIT OPPORTUNITY:
This weekend the Washington State University will be conducting a study on the bird life here on Winter Green Farm….continue reading for the particulars. Please RSVP if you would like to attend.
WHAT’S IN YOUR SHARE THIS WEEK:
- Green Beans
Some Sites Only
- Cherry Tomatoes
It’s the middle of August already….how has this happened!! Oh right, stars shining, planets turning, seasons changing, meteors buzzing by…but does it seem like it’s going faster than normal, or is it just me?? I find myself in continual states of denial….the leaves aren’t falling because it’s getting closer to Fall, it’s only because it’s been so hot. It’s becoming increasingly more difficult to ignore all of the ads for school supplies though, and it won’t be long before the summer vacations come to a close…all the more reason to just get out there….hike, swim, have those BBQ’s, go camping, canoeing, sailing, kayaking…..whatever means summer to you, just do it!
Earlier this Spring we were invited to participate in a study that Washington State University is conducting, and we’re so excited about it. WSU researchers received nearly $2 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Organic Research and Extension Initiative to conduct a study assessing the risks and benefits of wild birds on organic farms.
“For fresh produce growers, food safety concerns about E. coli and salmonella have become a big issue that’s causing somewhat of a generalized freak out,” said Bill Snyder, the WSU professor of entomology leading the study. “We’re trying to figure out where these pathogens are really coming from and how to manage them.”
Many organic growers create habitat on their farms to feed and shelter birds because they are important predators of insects that can damage crops. At the same time, wild birds have been implicated in the spread of harmful pathogens like E. coli and salmonella.
Snyder said there’s not a lot of rigorous research that looks at these connections across diverse farming systems and different bird species.
The first wave of researches visited the farm in May. They set up catching nets in the evening and the next morning at dawn, they began collecting specimens. They detected 48 species total, which makes our farm the most diverse so far by 1 species.
The Merlin was a first, and they were also excited to find a beautiful male Northern Harrier
in the cow pasture. A Spotted Sandpiper was seen on the oak pond, which was also a first on the farms visited and quite an exciting find.
DROPPINGS TELL ALL
Over the next four years, this team will collect and analyze bird droppings from more than 70 organic vegetable farms in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and California.
“I don’t think anyone has had the resources to do a study that’s as comprehensive and on such a large, regional scale before,” he said. “We’re really excited about it.”
Molecular analysis of bird droppings will identify what types of insects the birds are eating as well as the types of pathogens and parasites they carry that are important to human and livestock health. The scientists will use this information to quantify the risk of birds spreading diseases that endanger food safety.
SCIENCE-BASED FOOD STUDY GUIDELINES
The goal of the research is to inform the development of food safety guidelines, known as good agricultural practices or GAPs, using evidence-based information.
Meeting existing GAP guidelines can be costly for organic farmers who feel pressure to remove hedgerows and other types of habitat that support wildlife in order to reduce food safety risks. But removing habitat can harm the ecology of areas that support beneficial wildlife, and there is little evidence that the practice improves food safety.
“You need scientifically based evidence on why you’re doing something to avoid moving forward in a panic,” Snyder said.
He said GAPS are rarely based on rigorous, on-farm research demonstrating that they benefit food safety.
THE MOST EXCITING PART…..
This weekend the research team will be back on Winter Green Farm to continue with their study….they offered to allow CSA members to come participate in the research work, and to give an informal talk on their work! If that interests any of you, you are welcome to visit the farm on Sunday morning, August 21st. The team will be setting up the netting on Saturday evening, and opening them up on Sunday morning around dawn. If you are an early riser, feel free to come then…if you’re not an early riser, the team will gather and share their work with you about 9am. Feel free to bring a picnic lunch and sit under the oak grove….who knows what type of bird life may pass your way! Please do RSVP if you plan on attending….we ask that no dogs attend, and if you bring children, plan on being totally responsible for them, as there is equipment around that they could hurt themselves on…thanks!
Hope you all have a wonderful week ahead, and may the sun shine on you and yours, and of course, your veggies!
Linda and all of your Winter Green Farmers