My favourite tulips opened this week … and they are beautiful!
Tulipa tarda is a species tulip dating all the way back to the 16th century. We have them planted around our deck so we can admire them while enjoying our morning coffee outdoors on warm spring days (not many of those yet). They faithfully appear each spring, with the clumps spreading more each year.
Along the barn their taller, brighter & showier relatives are also blooming …
… while the daffodils – just finishing now – put on a brilliant show again this spring.
With this pandemic requiring us to stay at home, we’re especially enjoying our spring flowers this year.
The pandemic has also required us to make some changes to our marketing plan for 2020 – major changes!
We were planning to run our CSA program again (expecting a modest increase in membership) as well as attending the same 2 farmers’ markets – downtown Georgetown & North York at Mel Lastman Square.
However our CSA membership has increased by well over 50%, far more than we anticipated. Our Georgetown market is still scheduled to begin on Saturday June 6. We intend to be there with our masks, face shields, gloves etc – whatever is recommended or required at that time. A number of our Georgetown customers have joined CSA this season and will pick up their weekly boxes at the market. The North York market remains much more uncertain with possibly a late June opening.
After a lot of thinking, discussion & deliberation, we have decided that we will not be returning for our 27th year to North York. It was a difficult decision. We have so many loyal customers who visit every week, and we have made a lot of friends there through the years. It is hard to leave. But it is close to impossible to grow our crops not knowing if/when we’ll be able to market them there. We looked into the possibility of delivering our vegetables to Toronto but couldn’t make it work in a way that would satisfy both our customers and us.
So rather than limiting our CSA numbers, we are continuing to accept applications. It feels right to be growing more food for our local area. There is a lot of anxiety about food now and worries about access, availability, where it comes from & quality. We are grateful for the trust that so many have put in us to provide food for their families. We will honour that trust by doing our best to grow the best!
And things are growing! Despite the weather being on the cool side lately, we can see things coming along on the farm.
The plants in the greenhouse are finally putting on some healthy growth and should be ready for planting out on the farm within a few weeks. We will have vegetable & herb plants for sale at our roadside stand by the May long weekend.
The garlic loves the cooler temperatures.
The snow peas are lush & green.
Yesterday we transplanted green onions, beets, spinach, lettuce, parsley into the field and seeded more radishes. These joined the broccoli, salad turnips, radishes, green onions, kale & spinach that were planted back in April. Later this week we’ll put out the first cabbages, onions & carrots.
The blackberries are growing rapidly now too.
Another change that this season has brought is the amount of time we need to spend in the office. While it is never a farmer’s preference to do office work, it has become increasingly necessary. Much time has been spent on figuring out our new marketing plans, answering emails & inquiries about CSA, keeping up with the rapidly changing rules & requirements pertaining to the COVID-19 situation especially as it applies to having employees on the farm, and how we can sell our vegetables, how CSA pick up will work this year, doing our farm purchasing online as well as banking & other business etc.
But it does make our outdoor work on the farm far more pleasurable!
More of the spring beauty we’re enjoying!
And our enthusiastic helpers!