Oh yeah. The buckets are filling up with sap once again. The first collection and sap cooking will be happening this Saturday 3/28. Let us know if you want to join us.
After a year of planning, building, licensing, learning, fermenting, and tasting, we are to happy to announce that Sapsucker Farms Yellow Belly Semi-Sweet Hard Apple Cider is now available. This week we are rolling it out in the Twin Cities and East Central Minnesota. Currently you can find it available at these stores.
Cheers to all who helped us get this new product on the market. And cheers to you who will enjoy this new, delicious cider.
Registration for the 2015 CSA season is now open! My green thumbs are itching to get dirty and start growing fresh certified organic vegetables and fruits. This season I am planning on growing about 60 different kinds of vegetables and fruits which are also listed here.
New this year… I’m going to try my hand at growing artichokes (one of my faves), plus ginger and turmeric to add a spicy zip to the boxes. All certified organic of course. But just a reminder… as a CSA member, you share the risk with the farmer, so if there are any crop failures, you won’t find it in your box.
Complete details can be found here about the CSA. You can also see what members received in all of their boxes for both the 2013 season and 2014 season just to give you an idea of what you might expect to see in your box throughout the season. Each year is just a little different, depending on how generous or moody Mother Nature decides to be. So here are the basics for this upcoming season:
Full share $475 - 18 consecutive weeks from June – October
Half share $275 - 9 weeks (every-other week) from June – October
There are two ways to sign up.
1.) Mail-in – Download and print the sign-up form and mail it in along with your check. OR
2.) Online – Purchase your share option via our online store. Please note that there is a $5 handling fee for the online store purchase.
Other payment options.
– You may choose to make a $25 non-refundable deposit to place a hold on your share option with the remaining balance due by May 1, 2015.
– Payment plans can also be accommodated, just contact me to discuss the details.
Add-on items available too
Throughout the CSA season, other items will also be available for purchase including:
– free-range eggs
– maple syrup
– wild rice (while supplies last)
– other local goodies to be announced
In about a week, I’ll be starting seeds in the greenhouse, so the 2015 growing season is about to begin!
Something Sweet for your Valentine
If you still need a gift for your sweetie, you might be interested in a Sapsucker Farms Organics Minnesota Gift Box which includes: maple syrup, honey, hand-harvested wild rice, all nicely packed into a hand-crafted wooden crate made by a local artisan. Also available on our online store.
Wishing you all a very happy Valentine’s Day!
Our little baby, the 2000 Chevrolet (Geo) Metro turned 300,000 miles this weekend. We’re so proud of her. She’s a dependable little thing, has survived a few mishaps, and is so efficient that she runs on only three of her four cylinders. Now we’ll see if she can make it to 400,000 miles.
We are happy to announce that we now offer Minnesota wild rice! Members of Jim’s family have been harvesting wild rice for years. So this past summer, Jim and I joined them and learned all about how to harvest wild rice. It was hard work, but also a lot of fun. It was amazing to watch these experienced wild rice harvesters traverse through the wetlands as they gently and skillfully hand-harvested the kernels off the stock and filled their canoes with ripe rice.
Since we Jim and I are beginners, our overall contribution to the harvest was very small. But we know we will get better at it with more practice in the years to come.
Our hand-harvested Minnesota wild rice is now available through our website store, plus you’ll find a collection of favorite recipes as well. What better holiday gift than Minnesota wild rice, Minnesota maple syrup, and Minnesota honey?!
Be sure to support your local small businesses on Small Business Saturday November 29th. Not only will the businesses appreciate your support, buy you can benefit by finding some really cool, local, products as gifts for the holiday season.
Minnesota organic maple syrup is always a hit for holiday gifts. So is our Minnesota Wildflower honey. For your shopping convenience you can buy it right now via our online store.
Something else to consider, is giving the gift of fresh, organic vegetables and fruits. Our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) has two options:
Half share CSA which is a 1/2 bushel box every-other-week from June through October, for a total of nine boxes throughout the growing season. Cost for a half share is $275.00
Full share CSA is a 1/2 bushel box every week for 18 weeks from June through October. Cost for a full share is $475.00
Purchase options include: Order the CSA online well (a 4% up charge is added for online sales). Or you can place a $25 deposit via online store and pay the remainder by mailing in a check. Or you can just download the CSA registration and mail it in.
This is an example of the produce in a mid-summer box. You can check out the blog archives for CSA 2013 and CSA 2014 which shows all of the boxes that members received throughout both of these growing seasons.
We appreciate your support for Small Business Saturday, and we wish you a happy, healthy holiday season.
Thank you for your Feedback
The vegetable fields are already covered in snow, and I miss being outside in the sunshine all day long, playing in the dirt. While mother nature may think she has given us another good smack-down by sending us an early snowstorm (we got about 10″ here), the reality is that we have a lovely view of our quiet, dormant, farm.
Here on the farm, winter is a time for regeneration and planning for the future. As I begin making plans for the 2015 CSA, I first take into consideration the feedback you provided me from this year’s CSA. So here are the results of the end-of-season survey.
Total 2014 CSA members: 48
Full share members: 22
Half share members 26
Total number of surveys returned: 33
Participated in a CSA in the past – yes: 19 No: 14
Quality of produce – Excellent: 29 Satisfactory: 4
Quantity of produce in each box – Not enough: 1 Just right: 29 Too much: 4
Variety of produce – Not enough: 6 Just right: 26 Too much: 1
Communication: Satisfactory: 33
Overview of comments
- Overwhelmingly everyone agreed that they enjoyed the weekly updates and appreciated the sense of humor and creativity. (thank you!)
- Many comments of praise and encouragement which I genuinely appreciate – in fact I’m smiling right now as I browse through the surveys once again.
- Several comments expressed acknowledgement that the weather was terrible and recognized that this affected the variety of produce in each box, but understood it could not be controlled.
- One survey expressed disappointment due to not enough variety and will not sign up again next year.
- One survey stated they wanted to order two full shares next year.
Common comments about produce:
-too many cucumbers
-want more lettuce/greens
-too much lettuce/greens
-want more kale
-too much kale
-loved the broccoli
-loved the tomatoes
-loved the eggs (those who purchased eggs)
What I learned
The 2014 growing season was extremely difficult. The non-stop rain and cold in the spring turned the soil into jiggly, gelatinous slop, making the fields unplantable until the end of June. In fact it was so bad that many farmers in this area still had standing, unharvested corn from 2013 still in the field as late as 4th of July…a time when their new crop should be knee high. Overall, for Kanabec and Pine Counties, it was a horrible growing season.
So what did I learn from this?
Better communication with my CSA members - Farming is a tough and risky business that is completely dependent on the weather – something no earthly being can control. As a farmer, I accept that risk. But one of the key components of being a member of a CSA is that you share the risk with the farmer. In my weekly newsletters, I work really hard to keep the news up-beat, and not whine about the weather or all of the other dilemmas encountered each week. And the truth is, even through all of the hardships I face, I don’t let it discourage me and I press on through it. But I realized that I do need to do a better job of telling you, my CSA members, the problems I face. If I expect you to share the risks with me, you need to know the risks I deal with to grow, harvest, clean, pack, store, and deliver your produce. This year I had a LOT of crop failure. Of the 65 different kinds of produce I planted, about 20% of them failed, due to the crazy cold, wet spring…and I should have kept you more informed about specifically what was happening out in the fields and how it will affect the harvest. And then there was the day I woke up to find that the thermostat in the walk-in cooler failed and ended up freezing everything I spent the previous day harvesting. Sigh.
Grow more in the hoop house – I love my hoop house. I know you’ve heard me say that over and over. And this year, well over half of all of the crops for the CSA were grown in the hoop house. It doesn’t matter what the weather outside is doing, inside the hoophouse, all is good. So now I’m going to figure out ways to grow even more in there. This will be fun.
Experiment with unusual crops - The hoop house also gives me the opportunity to try growing things that are not normally grown in this region. So this next year I’m going to try growing ginger, turmeric, wine cap mushrooms, and artichokes inside the warm and cozy hoop house. Stay tuned.
Thank you all for your kind words, encouragement and your candor. I am fired up and excited for the 2015 growing season, and ready for the holiday season as well.
Small Business Saturday
This coming Saturday is “Small Business Saturday” where you can “shop small” to show your support to local businesses. You can also support our small business by doing your holiday shopping via our online store. Maple syrup and honey are gifts that makes anyone smile. Or you may even consider giving the gift of a CSA share as well.
I frequently make trips to St. Cloud and the Twin Cities, so if you want to avoid the cost of shipping, just give me a holler and I can connect with you to deliver your order in person. Mora and Cambridge folks – stop by the farm or I can meet you somewhere in town.
Jim and I wish you all a very blessed Thanksgiving and holiday season.
Follow the farm adventures on Facebook and follow us on Twitter at @SapsuckerFarms
It’s still autumn but we got the first big snowstorm on Monday November 10th. Timing was a bit inconvenient as it is firearm deer hunting season, but it did force us to get all of the winterizing on the farm done in just one day. It feels good to be ready for the snow, and it certainly is a beautiful scene.