Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Josh & Bri's Veggies CSA Newsletter; Volume 1 Issue 1

May 13, 2011

Josh & Bri’s Veggies CSA Newsletter
Naturally grown food for those dear
Volume 1 Issue 1

Hello and welcome CSA* members, friends, family and fellow farmers to the first installment of Josh and Bri’s Veggies Newsletter! If you do not wish to receive these newsletters please reply with a blank email and I’ll take you off the list. You can also view somewhat different versions of these newsletters on my blog, www.briboon.blogspot.com .

Spring is in full swing here at Kokovoko Breeding Farm and our garden(s) are alive and well. Since this may be the first real communication you’re getting from us, here’s a brief intro to us. Josh is from Kentucky and I (Bri) am from California. A couple years ago in Japan, where Josh was teaching English, and somewhere in Morocco, where I was serving in the Peace Corps, we each decided that farming was what we wanted to do. Sometime later, with no prior experience, and from very different places, we both found our way to farming in Massachusetts as apprentices. We became good friends, worked together like pork and beans and the rest is history.

After a season in the Northeast we decided that farming, and each other, were to be further pursued. While Josh worked over the winter at Emerald Glen Farm, I found Kokovoko Breeding Farm on ATTRA (http://attra.ncat.org/) and decided to try my farming hands for real in Kentucky. Owner and operator Leslie Bebensee breeds, raises, trains and races Swedish Gotland ponies, and breeds, eats, and generally enjoys a good flock of Lincoln Longwool sheep, chickens and turkeys. I arrived in January, and Josh in March with an agreement to work in exchange for room, board and land to grow. In addition to a CSA garden, we’ve also been hard at work on our new home (a tipi) and facilities (a composting toilet) on one of Leslies many back acres. Life is good, and that is the mini summary of where we are and why. And now onto garden news!

After a lovely visit yesterday with fellow farmer and dear friend Nancy we came home extra inspired and built a lath house (“built” makes it sound like more of an event than the simple pallet, plywood, tobacco stick and baling twine medley that it actually was) next to our new compost pile and got a great deal of sowing and transplanting done. I’ll freely admit I was quite burned out by the tiresome transplanting system we used last year, and walked into this season nearly vowing to never transplant again. The way we garden - Ruth Stout method, Fukuoka style, permaculturist, mulch overdosing, whatever you want to call it, is truly wonderful, but not without its difficulties, or better named, great learning curves (and clumps and clods, etc.) What we have quickly learned is that a garden’s first year (or two or three) under heavy mulch is not really the ideal place for direct seeding. We can gab about why and how and all that some other time, but to get to the point, we are born again transplanters. A garden, like any group of live beings, works best when worked with, not against.

As I was doing all of this newly pleasant work of sowing in plug trays I realized it was high time to get in contact with our dear CSA shareholders, (and other interested parties) as they are to be the recipients of our coming harvests. I would like to thank all of you for your support thus far, for not only are you supporting this garden economically, but us as people and the way we have chosen to be the change we wish to see in the world. By supporting us this growing season you strengthen your local economy, environment and, of course, yourselves and your family with the gift of the earth’s bounty. We are ever grateful for being able to do what we love to do.

We hope to begin distributing baskets the week of May 22nd, weather and growth permitting! The first basket should include lettuces, radishes, arugula and spinach (if this heat doesn’t cause it to bolt!), turnip and other stir fry greens, and sugar snap peas (if they tire of vining and get to flowering!). Future newsletters will include info on your basket contents, recipes, farm updates and more. You can always view pictures of our progress on the blog, or at https://picasaweb.google.com/brianagodfrey/KentuckyLivin# . We aren’t as hip to the facebook scene as most kids these days but do have a page, http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Josh-Bris-Veggies/110044119078104?sk=wall . We much prefer local harvest, and our listing can be viewed at http://www.localharvest.org/csa/M43531 .

Please feel free to contact us with and questions, comments or concerns. We are in our first year of business and want to serve you well!

Happy Spring,
Bri, Josh and the mulch master cat Bu

*CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) is a popular new way for farmers and eaters to work together. The customer purchases a share of the farm’s harvest at the beginning of the season, and the farmer delivers it one week at a time. The customer gets a steady supply of fresh, local produce from a farmer they can trust, and the farmers get to grow nourishing food for families they know, allowing them to spend less time marketing and more time weeding.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Farming is not a lost profession or passion

I just want to take a moment to tell you all about two other kick ass farmers of my generation. Jeff and Carolyn, who were on their way out of the farm as Josh and I were coming in last year, are still farming too! I won't delve into all of their awesomeness here, but check out their site, Potter Hill Farm, and buy their food if you happen to live way out there.

I remember going to a gathering early spring last year of young apprentices just like myself-excited and eager to try out farming. One of the organizers of the group, with many years of farming under his belt, gave us a depressing statistic about how many of us would actually continue on to become farmers. I believe the number was two. Jeff, Carolyn, Josh and I were all there, and I couldn't imagine any of us not doing this forever, but statistically, we wouldn't. Of course statistics are not to be counted on, but nonetheless, here we are proving them wrong! I don't know how many other youngins' in that room are still farming today, but just the four of us doubled how many were "supposed" to. And I'm pretty freakin proud and happy about it!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

After a while

There's this thing that happens after a while, when you find yourself on the last few miles home and a smile spreads across your face. Your shoulders loosen, as does your grip on the wheel and you find yourself at ease and delighted to be so close to home. I have a habit of making a home like this in many places and with many people. I am so grateful for all of them, and remembering this same feeling for each makes me a little sad as there is s much to miss. But here, in the boonies of Kentucky, is something new. All the homes I've built previously had an expiration date from the start, this is the first that doesn't. As I drive home from my town job and that smile spreads across my face I realize all that I have. I'm living in a beautiful land, and growing food alongside someone I love, it's all I could ever ask for and more. It kills me that so few people can find peace in their lives and I think all it takes is giving yourself permission to do what you love to do, and then to go do it. Anyhow, I'm happy as a pig in shit, sorry if I'm flaunting it a tad here. Now onto real farm nitty gritty!

There has been so much to do in so little time, particularly with our bi-polar weather! The heat has not been great for our early brassicas, who are bolting like mad, but wonderful for most everything else. Cowpeas, sunflowers, corn, etc have been germinating in two days! And my only issue with rain is that we can't work in it. Because we have heavily mulched beds and deep paths, when it floods nothing is washed away, and is even kept watered longer due to slow seepage from the paths. It's wonderful.

We also put together our first newsletter, which goes more in depth than I will here on my newfound love of transplants (email me if you want it but didn't get it - jbeveggies(at)gmail(dot)com) We're busy getting more beds prepared for all the summer crops to go in, as well as getting pumped and ready for our first week of CSA distributions coming up.

In other news, we spent our first night in the tipi! And it was lovely. We've hardly been up to work on it all week for the weather has drawn us only to the garden, but a few nights ago it was just too warm and beautiful to resist trying it out. Just a few more stones to move, rain-proofing to do, and homey fixin's to bring up and we'll be in for good. There is so much more to tell, but I really must be going, just wanted to let you all know I haven't forgotten about keeping you updated!

Hope you're all enjoying spring before summer brings an unpleasant heat on.