Spring Update, Member Drive, Turtle Scouts and Farm Dinner

Hello everyone! We hope the fine weather of late has been turning your mind to the outdoors, to the return of plants and insects, and to all the great produce that’s coming your way. We are getting pretty busy on the farm lately-we have a gorgeous new pack shed to furnish and move into, our organic certification paperwork has been turned in, and the greenhouse is filling up.

photo 1 Tomatoes as far as the eye can see!
 
photo 2 Little cucumbers
 
photo 3 Lettuce of all shapes and sizes

If you haven’t yet signed up for a Sleepy Root CSA share, we encourage you to do so soon! We are still accepting members, and we need to increase our membership by about 50 (to a total of 150) this year to continue to grow the business towards sustainability for us.  Thank you to those that have already signed up, and we’d be grateful if you’d spread the word about us to friends and family that might be interested. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns about the upcoming season, we love talking to members!

Farmer Brandon got up early Wednesday morning to start fertilizing and rotovating (tilling up) the future onion patch before the rain rolled in. There’s over 13,000 baby onions to plant this year, and they’re one of the first plants to go into the field each season. We’ve had a lot of fun with varieties this year-there will be over half a dozen types, including shallots and red and yellow cippolini, the little flying spaceship shaped guys. We also got lucky enough to have time to plant the first crop of peas this afternoon!

2Our gang of seeders! Three rows at one time.

About a month ago we had a bunch of friends come out to help us pull the plastic on our greenhouse, and we’ve got some great photos to share with you. We’ve got a fun video on our facebook page, too. It felt like a modern-day barn-raising, complete with a big farm table lunch. The whole experience helped reinforce and remind us of what blessings we have in our local farming community, and we are so grateful for the unusual circumstance we have of being near so many good farms and good people.

photo 1 (1) Prepping the plastic
 
photo 2 (1) Dress code: plaid 
 
photo 5
Brandon putting in the giant ventilation fan

A big thanks to Bob and Brandon Johnson, our hero neighbors, Ben at Red Wheelbarrow, Peter and Kari of Wagon Landing, James and Ayla of Black Brook Farm, Nancy Graden of Red Clover Herbal, Mark Adams our local honey-man (member!), and excavator, and Derek Maxwell, the illustrious coordinator of the Hungry Turtle Farmers Co-op. You are all the best!

Frank the dog is happy to have lots of grass and greenery to sniff and chew on, and plenty of wildlife to watch while he daydreams outside. He’s been having a grand old time giving gentle chase to the pair of geese that have made the old corn patch their new hang-out space. Frank packed on an extra 10 pounds this winter (anyone else?!) and is happy to start becoming more active, as are we.

photo (4)

In other news, our first employee joins us the second week of May, and once Megan is here we will start a marathon of planting cauliflower, broccoli, kale, lettuce, cabbage and pac choi, to name a few. We’ve got another great young man, Ben, coming from West Virginia to work with us over his summer college break, and we know you’re going to love both of these young farmers as much as we do.

We’re excited to tell you about several projects we’re involved with in our community and would like to invite our members to participate. Two local visionaries, the owners of the land we rent, and not to name-drop, but members of Sleepy Root, are creating a Local Food Hub in downtown Amery. The Food Hub will contain an all-local foods restaurant, an organic farmer’s cooperative (Brandon’s president of the board) a community kitchen, and a learning center. As part of the Hungry Turtle Learning Center, Heather has been helping director and long-time CSA member and friend Bobby Maher pilot an alternative scouting program, Turtle Scouts. Based in ecology, the outdoors, and sustainability in food and life, Turtle Scouts is open to all ages and promises to be a ton of fun. Brandon and I are teaching several classes, and we’ve got some fantastic guest instructors coming to help. Please visit the Turtle Scout portion of the Learning Center’s website to learn more and sign up for classes!

Another feature of the Hungry Turtle Learning Center is near and dear to our hearts: Farm dinners and cooking classes! Our dear friend, Sleepy Root member and talented Chef Tony Tushar is cooking the first Farm Dinner of the season, and it’s at Sleepy Root on Saturday, July 12th! Tony is the General Manager of Brasa Rotisserie in St. Paul and has worked at such fine restaurants as Bachelor Farmer, Alma, and Saffron. Tickets are on sale now, and the attendance is limited to 40 people, so if you’d like to come to our farm, eat an amazing meal cooked by one of our own, and know that the food came from less than 100 yards away, please visit this link to reserve your space.

We are overjoyed with excitement at all the activity and progress being made on our farm and in the community around us, and are so blessed to be able to share it with all of you! We look forward to another great season and to seeing you all out here!

Best,

Brandon, Heather, and Frank the dog

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