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Spring has sprung... now bring on the sunshine!

Posted 3/23/2017 12:27pm by Melanie & Kevin Cunningham.

Happy Spring Equinox, everybody!

It is finally feeling Springy on the farm, and with sun in the extended forecast, we are hopeful indeed.  We have ground opened up, farmer talk for a start on the fieldwork that makes it possible start planting in the weeks ahead.  We have some gorgeous brassica starts slated for planting out the first week of April; fingers crossed, all things will align to make it so!  You all know how exceptionally wet this winter has been – the wettest on record, in fact.  It started raining in October and hasn't really stopped.  We were lucky to get our strawberries and garlic in last October, in the three days it didn’t rain that month.  Some of our farmer friends did not fare as well.  Cummings Creek is up and raging, and we experienced a little flooding in our garden fields earlier this week. Most of the flood water is being captured by a drainage ditch we built last fall, and we have plans to do more work once the ground is dry enough to get equipment in.  Now we’re just hoping for a stretch of sunny days, so we can get compost spread, beds prepped, and crops in!  

We stay busy over the winter months, caring for the many animals that make up the Shakefork farm-ily.  If you follow us on Facebook or Instagram  – which we definitely recommend that you do! – you’ve seen lots of pictures of lambs, calves, cattle, and oxen.  Perhaps you’ve wondered, what does all that effort have to do with growing good vegetables? The collective accumulation of ox and dairy cow poo in the barn over the winter months, as well as the bedding accumulated in our chick brooders, is piled and composted, providing the annual fertility for our vegetable garden.  Through a combination of cover cropping, crop rotation, and ample compost, we’ve been able to produce more food on less acreage every year we’ve farmed.  We also benefit from the healthy meats, milk, and fats our primarily grass-fed animals provide us, as well as the tremendous value of being in relationship with other living beings. They teach us so much!  

Spring lambs... up to 20 this year!

We attended a Food Safety workshop this month, hosted by the Community Alliance for Family Farmers at Deep Seeded Community Farm in Arcata.  We affirmed many of the good agricultural practices we already have in place and gained new ideas for improving our systems.  Farming is certainly the “Dirty Life”, complete with muck, mud, and manure, but we strive for a very clean operation in all areas and take cleanliness and sanitation very seriously in all aspects of our production.

Fertilizing our spring pastures with our first round of meat chickens.

We’ve added an additional CSA drop site in Old Town, Eureka!  The owners of Humboldt Bay Coffee Roasters have been shareholders since the inception of our CSA and have offered to host a pick up spot at their Old Town Eureka location. Boxes will be available from 3p till close, and then all day Wednesday.  Please help us spread the word!  Our St. Joseph Hospital drop will have extended hours, 11a-7:30p every Friday.  

Keep those CSA member agreement forms rolling in!  Distributions will start in early June and go for 22 weeks.  We offer two share sizes, 6 pick up locations, payment plans, and accept  cash, checks, and credit cards!  We’re close to half full; help us get there by sending in yours today.  Print your form here.  Get CSA info here.

May you stay healthy and soak up the sunshine,

Love from your farmers,

Melanie, Kevin, and Clyde Cunningham

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