Elysian Fields Farm: Community Supported Agriculture

September 14th, 2005 Week 19








1/4 lb.


1/2 lb.



1-2 lb.


3-4 lb.


Cherry Tomato

1 pint


2 pints



1 head


1 head



1 small


1 larger



1/2 lb.


1 lb.













What's Going On?

            Hey folks, hope you all had a nice week. I apologize for the skimpy newsletters the past two weeks, but this week I think I have got enought time to actually communicate about how the farm is doing. So as I am sure you are all aware of, this past month to two months have been extremely hot. On top of that, this past month has been extremely dry. Looks like we won't get any substantial rain from Ophelia either. Extremely hot coupled with extremely dry in August can lead to a few problems. First off, August and September are the time period with which you need to start and plant your fall crops. Hot and dry can make that hard for a couple of reasons. For some reason a hot and dry late summer always leads to a large influx of grasshoppers and catapillars. These guys are everywhere here, and eating every thing. I have two inch long grasshoppers taking chunks out of my tomatoes while they are still on the vine! I have had catapillars eat my young seedlings out of there trays (before transplanting into the ground) on my first, second and third try at seeding them. I think that they search out the vegetation that is still alive and has been watered. On this farm the grass everywhere is dying, even the leaves are falling off water stressed trees....but the crops are being irrigated (despite a noticable drop in my pond level that I haven't seen since the drought of 2002). So, first problem is hard to control pests at this time of year when it is extremely hot and dry. Second problem is just the general heat and water stress on the crops (and farmer!). Fall crops are cool season crops, although they can usually handle being started in the heat of August and September....but this heat has been really intense. I am watering almost all day long different areas of the farm but the lack of a good nourishing rain has caused some stress to the crops. So that is kind of what the farm is up against right now. Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining or whining. I am simply stating the reality of being at the mercy of the weather. My non-farmer friends may say something like...'hey it just occured to me it hasn't rained in awhile...'....and my first instinct is shock...how could they not have noticed as I spend each morning eagerly searching the weather reports watching my grass die and my perrenial plants that aren't irrigated around the house wilting? I do understand though that when you are not directly dependent on the weather conditions sometimes you can forget to notice them and their affects. So, after explaining all of this to you all, I would like to inform you of two ways in which this is going to affect the CSA program this year. First off, I have decided not to have the winter CSA this year. I was thinking in July that I would try it again, maybe from October to December (a ten week fall/winter program). But, as I kept losing all of the crops I was trying to start for that time period...I got more and more discouraged and finally accepted that the extended CSA is going to be one of those things that I take year to year. I don't know if you all remember but last August and September where pretty cool and wet. I read one of my newsletters recently from last Sept. 8th (posted on the website) and I was hoping for the rain to actually slow down. So, I do have an interest in the winter CSA, but all in all I think it is going to depend on how the summer months play out as to whether it will be a go for that year or not. The second affect this weather is going to have on the program is that I think I am going to need to cut the program a two or maybe even three weeks short this year. I hate to do such a thing, but may simply have no produce at that time period (mid to late October) to give. This is not ideal, but I do feel okay about it for a couple of reasons. One, I feel that this season up until this point has been very bountiful and diverse. I actually feel as though this has been my best season to date as I remember the beatuful and delicious carrots, beets, turnips, spinach and lettuce from the spring as well as the tomatoes and melons specifically from this summer. Secondly, I will need to run the numbers to figure out for sure what I am going to do but I may end up giving folks a credit for next season dependent on the weeks canceled for this fall. Full shares receive an average of $21 a week while half shares receive around and average of $13 a week. I think each week so farm we have above those numbers if not right at them. So, we'll see how it all works out, I just wanted to give folks a heads up for now. Please let me know if you have any feedback to all of this, I would love to hear your thoughts.

            On a totally unrelated subject, I wanted to take a second to remind folks to try to be on time to pickup there shares at their various pick up locations. Durham members specifically please pick up your boxes by 7pm or have someone pick them up for you by that time. Your box may not be there for you after that time. Hillsborough memers are a 7pm deadline as well while Carrboro market members need to pick up by 6:30 at the latest. Thanks!


What to Look Forward to......

            So after all that, lets talk about what you can actually look forward to. More Sungolds and Big Beef tomatoes! These guys are still coming and the plants look pretty good. One good thing about the lack of rain and dry weather is that the late tomatoes do not have any fungal diseases at this point. This is a hard phenomenon to obtain but one that sure makes me happy. Aside from those yummy guys, we are going to have more eggplant, peppers, and basil. I will also try to mix in some greens ona weekly basis at this point and we may have spicy mesclun mix for you all next week! Okay, that is all for now folks. Please let me know if you have any thoughts! Thanks, Elise.