A Joyful Season
The seasonal shift has already begun, and so too at the farm our priorities will begin to change.
Last Friday marked the final Port Susan Farmers Market of the 2014 season, with the Camano Island Farmers Market ending a couple weeks ago. We said hello and goodbye to many new familiar faces of customers and vendors whom we’ve gotten to know this year. The connections made were great strides taken towards the community building model we seek and require as a community farm.
Fall Garden Prep Workshop
We will be offering a hands on workshop on Saturday October 25th 1-4pm, for fall bed prep here at the farm, teaching interested folks how to prepare no-till garden beds for the winter. Naturally, an increasing role for the farm(ers) will be the education and sharing of the permaculture / hand-cultivated model of production, which will continue to refine itself in correlation with our own understanding. What are the benefits in this model, and how do we share them that we and others may grow in our collective understanding of the role of agriculture in the extraordinary dawn of the 21st century. Sorry, that was a thesis for something else… hehe.
This Wednesday marks the final week of CSA, which by most accounts has been successful and mostly fun too. We hada small but mighty group that helped almost every week to help the boxes get harvested and distributed. Thank you, team, for your dedication and friendships. Thank you also to all the CSA members who supported and consumed our growing efforts! Finally we wish to express our gratitude to Gil of Skipley Farm, Spencer & Karen of Hazel Blue Acres, and Robin & Craig of Silvana Produce; it was a joy to work in cooperation with you to fill our weekly boxes with quality local fruit and veggies.
For Hailey and myself, we will be in the back of our minds at least, starting to prepare for a 3 week break. Our return will be in time for holiday events starting up on the Island (Camano Center Holiday Bazaar, November 22nd), as well as Sundays at our own Ananda Temple in Bothell. Our vacation will be a visit to my parents in St Louis for 5 days, and then a ride with two old friends to the the Baja Sur for about 10 days of sunny beach time a midst the desert. In our absence, Sharon from Laurelwood will be staying at the farm house, taking care of the animals, etc.
Meanwhile, at the farm, we will spend the next two weeks winterizing various aspects, spreading mulch, burlap, and sowing seeds. So too at the community, we will begin to work with Omprakash for fall bed preparations. In addition, the fall is an excellent time for planting fruit trees, of which we have many from our grafted trees in the spring, and so staking sites and planting will be a continuous operation through the winter.
The abundance of the orchard (which we lease outside of Stanwood) has been wonderful, and a true God-send for the second year farm.
Each week seemed to grow a little greater with the handsome and delicious heritage varieties of apples and pears offered. The experience of working with almost 90 mature fruit trees for both Hailey and myself (pruning, thinning, and harvesting) has been invaluable to our growth as aspiring sustainable farmers… And quite amazingly, the realization also that although quite abundant, we could use a lot more fruit going forward. The demand for local, freshly harvested and organic fruit feels quite limitless to the creative mind. We have begun selling fresh spiced cider through the Camano Marketplace for the holiday season (thank you to Gil from Skipley farm for always sharing your press with us!). Going forward, cider presents an exceptional growth opportunity both for market and our own health reserves throughout the winter.
The herbal medicinals continue to be a big part of the farm operations, and grow in their out-reach. The amount and quality of feedback we have received from folks having used the comfrey oil for example, is quite extraordinary. One day we will start collecting testimonials! In the meantime, a slow but steady growth of small batch production seems the best model for sharing the farm remedies and maintaining the best quality control. We don’t wish to compete with dove and irish spring – but we do hope to provide our community with better and more effective alternatives to the basic health and body needs we often share.
Meanwhile, Glenda has lead the food preservation charge: tomatoes, salsa, fruit preserves, apple butter will all be offered during the holiday season.
At the farm, the winter hopefully holds slower periods for reflection and planning, in addition to some time spent improving the farm’s infrastructure. Last winter we put up and built beds in greenhouses, a chicken coop, and created a tree nursery. This year we will look to erect a harvest/processing station near the farm house, and work towards creating seasonal outdoor living accommodations for farm interns and ourselves, continue the expansion of vegetable beds in the lower field, and plant more fruit and supporting trees here on the farm.As one may guess, I could go on, and on. A final and important note of gratitude, to all of you, who have helped the farm come into fruition, and provided the field for which Ananda Farm(ing) can blossom. Praise be to God and Guru for providing the knot of community which ties us together and makes all things possible.In grateful service
zach and hailey