News from the Farm | January 9, 2023

It seems like just yesterday we were wrapping up the 2022 season. Yet almost a month has passed and here we are, back from our winter break. Everyone took some time off, an opportunity to shake up our normal routines and get off the farm. Hopefully we’re all well-rested and ready to dive into another year of farming and all the other tasks required to make the “magic” happen.

Like everyone in Northern California, we’ve gotten quite a bit of rain in the last month, especially in the past two weeks. During some particularly cold days our first week of break and around New Years, there was snow in the hills to the west once the rain clouds cleared and some snowflakes fell in Rumsey! It’s great to see and hear water rushing in Cache Creek and the hills around us are starting to turn green. It would be nice if the rain was spaced out a bit more, but one advantage of so much rain falling at once is that some of that water will end up in Clear Lake and Indian Valley Reservoirs, which feed Cache Creek. Maybe this year there will be water in the Creek to use for irrigation during the spring and summer. We’ll see.

We know several farms that suffered damage from the rain and winds from the multiple atmospheric rivers, in addition to the many CSA members, customers, friends and family that have experienced flooding, power outages, and more. We realize how fortunate we are to have been spared so far.

All of this rain in the forecast means it’ll be an interesting first week back. Harvesting in the rain isn’t ideal – it’s slow, cold, wet, muddy, and isn’t great for the soil either. But the crops don’t harvest themselves, so it’s what must be done.

Another thing that feels like it must be done – sharing a few general CSA reminders that will make a better experience for you, other CSA members, our hosts and us/me:

  • ALWAYS check the sign-out sheet before taking anything. If your name is not listed, don’t take a box, or if it doesn’t say flowers (or other special items), don’t take those items!
  • Once you have taken everything, initial next to your name. We try to keep a pen at each site but things happen, so it’s a great idea to keep a pen on you (or in your car, bag, etc.). If you and a friend/spouse switch off picking up, communicate when someone has already gotten the box.
  • Please leave the plastic box at the site! And please be respectful of our amazing hosts and their space. Neatly stack empty boxes (but not too tall, and not leaning!) and be mindful of leaving a mess.
  • Some sites already have swap boxes and many more will have them soon! This is a box for you to leave items you know you won’t be using. Chances are there’s always someone who’d love a little extra of exactly the item you don’t want to take home … and vice versa. That being said – we encourage you to try new things, and retry old things, but the box is there if you need it. We request you limit swaps to one per week and ideally a swap should be a one for one exchange, or that over time it evens out to that ratio. A swap box is not a spot for you to leave the greens from root vegetables for your site host to handle; we encourage you to try eating them and if not, many CSA members give them to chickens (or friends with chickens) or compost them.

And if you’re the kind of person who makes New Year’s resolutions, maybe consider a CSA resolution for 2023 – try a new way of preparing a vegetable you’ve always been lukewarm on, get out of a cooking rut, get your kids more involved in cooking and meal planning, or something else. When you find something you enjoy, a preparation or storage “hack”, or if you have feedback or questions, let us know! I love hearing from folks and learning what you do with your CSA produce, what being in the CSA means to you, questions that you have, and more.

If you’ve got friends who have talked about eating more produce, eating more seasonally, or supporting the local farming economy, let them know about the CSA. We’ve got space to expand our community.

-Elaine Swiedler, CSA Manager