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Updates from the farm

Updates from the farm and city.
Posted 3/10/2014 12:50pm by Chris.

Note: We will post weekly updates from Chris in this space until we resolve the issue with Constant Contact's email archiving process. 


The forecast is looking good...

Spring is finally starting to happen and none too soon. With the extremely cold weather this winter, the water lines leading from the farm's main pump to the house and heated germination greenhouse froze weeks ago. So, the farm house has had no water for nearly a month, and probably won't for another month. The four of us who run the show (Paul, Kurt, Brady, and Me) have a friendly bet going as to when the water will run again. Our guesses range from late March to late April. Word through the grapevine suggests that the frost is 6+ feet deep this winter, so the mid-to-late April guess might well win the bet! I, being the optimist (which is kind of a joke as I'm just as much a realist), am hoping that the forecast trend continues, and that the ground is thawed out by early April. And I hope ourgarlic survived under the straw mulch and snow. 

In fact the current 7 day forecast has many days in the 30'S, 40's, and even one day in the 50's, with sunshine, so we're pretty excited. The only problem will be the lakes of water from melting snow which will freeze at night, but that's not a big deal. We'll be able to plant our first spring hoop houses by the end of the week, hopefully, and the spinach that has not grown all winter will make a sudden growth spurt. We'll find out how much of it died and how much we'll have going into the spring. While there's not much room to feel guilt about not including spinach in the boxes so far this winter (we can't control the weather after all), we are excited to have a big fat bag in the last box of the season. Better late than never. I suspect that the last box of the season will be way, way over stated value because we want to finish on a good note -- and we do feel a little bad that you've received no spinach all winter. Thanks for your understanding and patience.

Otherwise, seed starting/germinating for spring is going well with the best crew and best leadership we've ever had at Tomato Mountain. More on that below. The aforementioned water crisis has not totally crippled the farm, as we're able to tap directly into the farm pump, and move that water on the surface via the huge 3" pipe we use for irrigating the field in spring, summer, and fall. Because we obviously can't leave that line full of water (it would freeze), we use it to fill 100+ gallon tubs in the heated greenhouse, and use a sump pump to water plants as needed. We then immediately drain the big line to avoid catastrophic freeze up, in which case we'd be totally out of luck/water.

I'm beside myself with the group I've been lucky enough to assemble. Kurt, who was with us from June of 2011 through February of 2013, is back at the farm after a year of trying his own farming operation (which is stupidly hard). He'll be both in Chicago and at the farm, managing many things in both places. Paul is our best and first totally bona fide information manager ever. What could be more important than information and its expression? He'll likely be an overall farm manager. Brady is the local, blue collar, professional type I've always hoped for but could never find. He'll be our field manager and all-purpose leader. Mark is another local, a regular jack of all trades type that sees so many of the things that make us work, or not, efficiently. I see Mark as an assistant field manager, a handy man with construction/building responsibilities, and a greenhouse manager. With these 4 guys around, we're in the best shape we've ever been in at the farm. 

In Chicago, Sean is working on filling Robin's shoes regarding CSA logistics and planning. As we get bigger, we need better information organization, and Kurt has been helping Sean make sense of all the delivery instructions, egg orders, and much more. Our morning deliveries have been been less painful to implement than we had imagined, and promise to be far more efficient once we work out the week-to-week flow. 

So enjoy the spring as we emerge from the coldest winter in nearly 40 years, and know that the farm is in the best place it's ever been. Thanks as always for your business and patience as we learn, grow, and improve.  


-- Chris



Posted 1/23/2014 6:57pm by Sean.

Notes from Chris, great turnip recipes, and more.

Posted 1/6/2014 9:58am by Sean.

The first deliveries of the Winter season will take place on Tuesday, January 14th and Thursday, January 16th. Take a look at our home delivery zones to see where you land.

Posted 12/4/2013 12:28pm by Chris.

INSIDE: Using our Whole Roasted Tomatoes | | | RECIPES: Thunder Cake, Spice Cake

Posted 11/19/2013 2:11pm by Chris.

RECIPES: Acorn Squash Fondue; A dozen ways to use fennel   |   
INSIDE: We love winter markets!

Posted 10/14/2013 8:07pm by Chris.
  • IN THE BOX: Acorn Squash, Sweet Peppers, Thyme, Lacinato Kale, Broccoli, Spinach, Lettuce, Onions, Shunkyo Radishes 
  • RECIPES: Creamy Baked Acorn Squash 
  • NOTES FROM CHRIS: On fall broccoli, and our plan for squash
Posted 10/14/2013 8:06pm by Chris.

INSIDE: New in our online store -- Organic, Grass-Fed Sharp Cheddar!

Posted 9/13/2013 2:40pm by Chris.

IN THE BOX: Slicing Tomatoes (maybe an heirloom or two), Broccoli, Sweet Peppers, Lettuce, Mesclun Mix, Rainbow Chard, Sun Gold Tomatoes (some sm/med only) | | | |
RECIPES: Roasted Peppers, Preserving Peppers  | | | |
NOTES FROM CHRIS: On organic pesticides

Posted 8/19/2013 6:44pm by Chris.

ECIPES: Rosemary Lemonade 
INSIDE: Our heritage birds are ready!

Posted 8/13/2013 2:48pm by Chris.

INSIDE: An overview of our tomatoes | | |  
RECIPES: Roasted Potatoes with Garlic Sauce

Member logisticsApril 12th, 2014

There are lots of moving parts involved in a home-delivery CSA. Here are some important points that you'll want to know when receiving shares from us. Overnight/early morning deliveries, with new

Logan Square Farmers Market on 5/18/2014April 9th, 2014

The Outdoor Farmers Market will run every Sunday from May 18th through October 26th. The hours are 10:00 am - 3:00 pm.  LINK is accepted. The Market will take place on Logan Boulevard from Milwa

Carol Stream Earth Day on 4/9/2014April 9th, 2014

Earth Day Festival & Farmers\' Market Town Center, 110 W. Lies Road, Carol Stream Presented by the Carol Stream Park District You’ll find lots of earth-friendly ideas, food, projects & p

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