2017 CSA, Workshops and Internships Oh My!

by Lili Tova


Happy New Year! I can't believe that another year has flown by bringing us into our 5th season at Flying Coyote Farm. Our little farm has grown so much in the past year; we expanded our CSA to serve 60 households and added four weeks to our CSA program. We grew our farmers market customer base, extended our season at the market by six weeks, and we grew our restaurant business, getting the opportunity to work with over ten wonderful restaurants in the Portland metro area. What a year it’s been! None of this would be possible without the continued support of our wonderful customers. We are always pushing ourselves to grow better together, and we've received so much great feedback this season!

 

Our 2017 CSA is Now Open!

Our CSA pickup schedule will be similar to last season's schedule with pickups on Tuesdays at the Lloyd Farmers Market, Wednesdays at the Moreland Farmers Market and Fridays at Flying Coyote Farm. The only change this season will be to the farm pickup. Based on customer feedback we will be moving the CSA pickup to a bit earlier in the afternoon on Fridays to help folks avoid traffic, and we will continue to offer weekend pickup if you are unable to make it to the farm on Fridays.

 

How to Join:

  • Read all about the who why what and where’s of our CSA program. (TAKE OUT THE ‘S ON WHERE’S AND PUT COMMAS BACK IN)
  • Fill out the Sign up Form.
  • Pay with a check or online.  (checks can be mailed to Flying Coyote Farm, 19779 SE Langensand Rd, Sandy OR, 97055)

What’s Happening in 2017?

2017 Workshops

We are so thrilled to be partnering with WildCraft Studio again for a season of amazing classes in 2017. Want to learn more about herbal medicine making, animal butchering, or traditional homestead crafts? Then check out our lineup of classes being offered through WildCraft this season.

3rd Annual Internship Program

We are looking for two hard working, land-loving folks to join our team for the 2017 growing season. Our full immersion internship program is a great mix of hands-on and classroom based learning. This year we will be offering our internship through Rogue Farm Corp. Rogue Farm Corp allows interns to gain college credits for their internship, provides access to an amazing array of teachers, farms and classes and gives interns an opportunity to be part of a larger intern cohort. Apply today!

 


Tools of the Trade

by Lili Tova in


The whole tool thing has been quite an adventure for us. We moved to our land with about three small truckloads of possessions and then started a small farm. This means that we essentially started from scratch. There's a lot of freedom in this as there are many good tools around for small farmers. But finding the right tool has proven to be quite daunting at times as tools are a huge investment, and we want to make choices that will serve us for a long time to come. We don't own a full size tractor (yet) or even a lawn mower, but we did recently invest in a BCS walk-behind tractor and a number of hand tools. I thought it wold be nice to spend some time talking about and showcasing the tools we love and then highlighting some areas where we still have a lot to learn.

Hoes, hoes, hoes...

So far my favorite hoe is the hula hoe, also known as the oscillating or stirrup hoe. A couple of companies manufacture this style of hoe. We recently purchased three from our local garden store, one with a 3.25 blade, one with a 5" blade and one with the 7" blade.  These hoes have been great even in our heavier soil and form the backbone of our weeding program. They work the best when you can get the weeds at 'thread' stage. This is the stage where the weeds have their first set of true leaves and one skinny thread like tap root, making them easy to kill. The hula hue works with a push pull action and one issue I've found is that it can have a tendency to want to go deep which effectively works like a break making for a very jerky weeding experience if your not diligent about the keeping the blade shallow. But this action can also be helpful when weeding around young plants as you can dig down as you near the tender stem to put the breaks on. I don't love the hula hoe for weeding in row with closely spaced plantings (thinks onions, root crops, salad mix etc.). For these plantings I still use the hula hoe to weed between my rows, on the edge of the beds and in the path but to weed between the plants I use my salad harvesting knife (also purchased from Johnny's). With a repetitive slicing action right below the soil surface getting those little in-row weeds are a breeze. Admittedly this method involves way more stooping and crouching but is very effective. Another hoe that we love on our farm is a general heavy duty hoes such as these ones from Rogue Hoes. I first had the joy of working with this style of hoe in Tunuyan, Mendoza, Argentina at Huerta de Vida. This hoe can move a lot of soil and is great for hilling potatoes, corn, peas, and beans.

A hoe that I'm interested in trying out is the Heron Hoe. This hoe looks like it would be great for weeding once T-tape is laid down as it is open on one side. This design not only seems nice for sliding under drip but also for getting close to the stem of more mature plants. We recently bought two Collinear hoes from Johnny's and they have a similar advantage to the Heron Hoe of being open sided to slide under drip tape. Because most every farm I've worked on has used mainly hula hoes it's take me awhile to get used to these and I still have 'accidents' with them sometimes which usually involves getting caught in the drip tape or slicing out a tender transplant!

The last hoe that I think is worth mentioning is the wheel hoe. This tool has revolutionized our weeding program by making it incredibly efficient to weed our paths. I love this thing, it is a beautifully designed tool and incredibly rewarding to use.

Seeding in the field...

Generally plants make it out into the field in two ways. They are either planted in flats or cell trays in the greenhouse and then transplanted out to the field once they're about 6 weeks old, or they are direct sown into the beds right in the field. The crops that we typically transplant are flowers, brassicas, lettuce heads, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, chard, onions and leeks to name a few. As you can see we do a lot of transplanting on our farm as this gives us more climate control and a jump on the season and allows for precise spacing, seed saving and for the plants to have a couple inch head start over the weeds.

Despite our heavy reliance on transplanting, seeding is still equally as important as many of our more high value crops (think baby greens and salad mixes) and root crops are sown in this fashion. There seems to be a lot of varying opinions on what seeders actually give you the intended results, that is seed spaced evenly, covered evenly and sown at a consistent depth. Most of my experience comes from the Earthway Precision Seeder, four row pin point seeder and the Planet Jr seeders. Our first seeder purchase when moving to the farm was an Earthway. The Earthway has many advantages and drawbacks that are outlined fully in other blogs, but as you can see below the biggest issue is consistency and over seeding (the row of arugula on the right is very thick and the row on the left is very thin). In my searching for seeder reviews I found this nifty link which outlines some ways to modify the plates on the Earthway to get more precise seed rates. We recently purchased a four row pin point seeder which I was a bit skeptical of but very interested in trying for our salad mix. We produce baby mustards, arugula, and specialty greens (amaranth and orach etc) in raised beds in our propagation house. Until recently I sowed these beds by hand which was incredibly time consuming. I wanted to try something more efficient and after taking a workshop with Jeremy Mueller from Excelsior farm I decided to give the four row a try. It definitely has some issued of it's own but as you can see from the picture below if the conditions are right it can sow a beautiful and dense bed of baby greens.

DSC_5853.JPG

I've recently been reading a lot of reviews of the Jang Precisoin Seeders which are much more expensive ($400-$700), complicated and precise then either the Earthway or the Four Row. After reading some reviews it seems like this seeder more then pays for itself in precision once you figure out how to work the various plates and cogs. Again if anyone knows more about these please let me know what you think. For the time being we'll stick with the Earthway and the Four Row and try out some of the modifications suggested in the link above.

I hope to write a post in the coming weeks about our BCS and all the different attachments we've been accruing. We haven't used our rototiller in the garden at all this year and instead have been relying on a combination of broadforking, and the plow and harrow attachment for the BCS. More on this next time...


CSA Week 10 - Halfway There

by Lili Tova


Hi Friends, we've made it to the official half way mark of our csa season and our farming season and it feels so good! The farm is busy, busy busy right now; we wake up with the sun and work 'til dark with little rest in between. The farm demands so much this time of year and I feel my energy being pushed to the limit, but it also feels good. Good to see the farm thriving and know all the work is directly correlated with how amazing the season has been thus far.

We harvested about 1,500 storage onions last week and they are curing nicely in the field. Hopefully these will be making a debut in next week's share and through the remainder of the season. We also harvested our first round of meat birds and for all of our apprentices it was their first time participating in a meat harvest. Even though our goal on the farm is to be efficient and production oriented we also try to balance that with our morals, which include a deep respect for the animals we raise and eat! The apprentices did a wonderful job of keeping pace with the harvest, and I think it felt good for all of us to know we were providing the meat for next season's farm crew. Processing day started off with some unforeseen mechanical errors. We borrow a homemade chicken plucker from a neighboring farm and it kept having issues, but with the help of the crew and a bit of duct tape and faith we got her working and got through 40 birds with ease. We decided to take another 30 of our broilers to a USDA certified processing plant so that we can sell them at our farmer's markets. I'm really pleased with the way our birds turned out this year, they're around 4 1/2 pounds each which is the perfect size for a family of four. We just got our second round of birds out in the field and it is great to see them exploring the great outdoors and helping to fertilize our pasture.

The weather has finally cooled down and I'm definitely feeling fall in the air, everything seems to be happening so early this season! We got our fall transplants out in the field two weeks ago, and although we've experience a bit of loss due to flea beetle damage most of the babies seem to be taking off. The kale looks especially great and will be in CSA shares next week.

We know we've been giving a lot of summer squash this year (and this week you can take as much as you can carry) so here's some recipes to try to get your squash inspiration on:

Zucchini Bread from Smitten Kitchen

Sauteed Summer Squash from 101 Cookbooks

Grilled Zucchini Boats from the Kitchn

In this week's share:

  • 1 bunch green onions
  • 2 leeks
  • 1 pound green beans
  • 1 pound eggplant
  • 5 tomatoes
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1 bunch dandelion
  • 1 head lettuce
  • As much as you can carry summer squash
  • 1 bunch dill
  • 1 bunch parsley

'Til next week...

 


CSA Week 9

by Lili Tova


This week in pictures (thanks dad!) and thanks tomatoes!!

 Tomatoes in the hoop house

Tomatoes in the hoop house


 Tomato tunnel

Tomato tunnel

 'Sweetie' cherry tomatoes

'Sweetie' cherry tomatoes

 Weighing tomatoes

Weighing tomatoes

 Beet babies

Beet babies

 Making fermented dill pickles

Making fermented dill pickles

This weeks share:

  • 1 tomato
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1 bunch green onions
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 2 pounds summer squash
  • 1 pound carrots
  • 2 pounds eggplant
  • 1 bunch dill
  • 1 bag arugula
  • 3 cucumbers

'Til next week...