The year in review
In 2018 we aimed for 200 shares. By mid march we had reached 160 reservations. It’s intimidating when you stop to consider that each person with a reservation will arrive with expectations and several empty grocery bags to fill each week, all season long. At 160 members, we had reached the outer limit of our comfort zone. We chickened out and capped our membership. Whew! In 2017 we had 100 shareholders.
Mother nature never plays the same tune twice. Its up to us as growers learn the new step and keep up. These were the players on our stage this season;
Drought | The 2018 season began with a two month drought. At the feed store there was muttering about dust and ashes, the season’s prophesy. We are fortunate to have a robust irrigation system at Indian Creek. Yet many of our long season crops were not equipped. The corn and garlic patches in particular. The garlic with its six inches of organic straw mulch did just fine. Better than fine, a bumper crop! The corn … well, not so much. In August our corn patch had yet to reach waist height, the cobs formed were miniscule. We assumed it needed more time to size up. The weeds were the only plants that sized up. On the upside, our irrigated crops did very well and the drought delayed some of the problem associated with wet weather until much later in the season. Silver lining …
Plague of locusts| Sorry, I can’t resist a catchy subhead! There were no locusts this year. Although insects are yet another track on the album Mother nature plays for us each year. Two years ago it was cucumber beetles, last year it was flea beetles, this year it was slugs and earwigs. We lost more than one planting of nappa cabbage to these insects in 2018. They left their mark on several others Asian greens as well. That little missing bite or hole on your arugula, bok choy or cabbage? We call it Mother Natures Organic Certification Program, and our dues are all paid up!
I would like to re-iterate that, at Indian Creek, we do not wage war on insects. We rely entirely upon crop rotations, partitions and physical barriers to protect crops. When insects get really enthusiastic we may introduce natural biological controls to restore balance, such as lady bugs, parasitic wasps and beneficial bacterias. Despite being a nuisance at times, and the result of some crop loss, even the “pests” are an integral and necessary part of the ecosystem we attempt to protect, foster and sustain at Indian Creek.
Summary | There you have it, despite drought, heatwave, our dance with the “locusts” and because of enthusiastic volunteers we managed to provide 14 or 18 weeks of continuous, safe, nutrient dense, naturally grown local produce for 160 families. Most weeks we included more items per share than what was promised in our marketing. Never less. We over delivered! And for the many who choose to collect your shares at our farm stand, you met your farmers each week and closed the loop in your food supply chain. You also enjoyed a grounding country farm experience each week, your children participated in their own food selection and you got to know our dogs.
Oh yes! Our romaine was safe to eat all season long!
For 2019; we are adding new varieties to almost every category, expanding selections, refining our menu of heirloom tomato varieties, and releasing three exciting new porcelain garlic varieties we propagated this year. We are also optimistic that the orchard will begin to produce in earnest, filling the farm stand with fresh organic fruit as well as vegetables. As the fruit trees grow they occupy an ever increasing portion of our growing area and will become a larger part of what goes on at Indian Creek. In consequence, we are reducing the number of vegetable shares on offer for next season from 160 to 125. This, to ensure that our shareholders continue to receive value and to allow us more time in the orchard. Our goal is to provide you with greater selection and lower prices than you could find at a farmers market, yet earn more than we would if we sold wholesale. Its a win win for everyone.
Thank you again for all your support and confidence in us. Marisa and I will look for you when the barn swallows return.