Farm Newsletter: Week 1

Welcome to the 2007 Hearty Roots CSA season. We are excited to be welcoming back returning members and are looking forward to getting to know our many new members. Hearty Roots is growing and there is change all around us. The most significant change is an additional piece of land that we are leasing. Last year we cultivated 3 1/2 acres of land. With this we sold 110 shares serving 125 households in two sites. This year we are cultivating 8 acres of vegetables and managing 16 acres in cover crops (below is information about cover crops). This year we hope to sell 215 shares to close to 300 households and we have added two additional sites. In addition to Tivoli and Williamsburg, we now have distribution sites in Woodstock and in Prospect Park/Sunset Park, Brooklyn. What hasn’t changed is our commitment to growing a wide variety of delicious and nutritious vegetables that come straight from our farm to you!

Cover crops are grown to protect and improve the soil, not to harvest. Cover crops have the potential to improve soil tilth, control erosion and weeds, and maintain soil organic matter. They can reduce compaction and increase water infiltration which decreases leaching of nutrients. Cover crops retain and recycle plant nutrients (especially nitrogen) between crops, provide habitat for beneficial microorganisms, and increase plant diversity. Examples of cover crops that we use are different varieties of clover, buckwheat, tritacle (a cross between wheat and rye) and oats. With our additional land we are able to rotate the crops and let the soil rest some years. We will have some land in cover crops for a year and then grow vegetables on that land the following year while last year’s cultivated area will get a year off and be in a cover crop.

About this newsletter:
This newsletter will help you stay connected to what is going on at Hearty Roots Farm. We will have monthly reports from the farmers, Miriam Latzer and Benjamin Shute, and they will give you a farmer’s eye view of how the season is progressing. We will have monthly reports from Owen O’Connor, a Hearty Roots employee, and he will keep you up to date on local zoning changes, land regulations, and pertinent topics that affect farming and the environment in Northern Dutchess County. We will bring you a monthly member’s report, with a member from each of our four sites reporting on their experiences with Hearty Roots, CSA, and eating locally. Your newsletter editor, KayCee Wimbish, will be keeping you up to date on the politics of food, important legislation, local food movements, and whatever else I find of interest and relevant. If you would like to share a recipe, add your two cents, or offer feedback, please email me at danceordie@gmail.com. If you know any vegetable related jokes, send them my way and I will include them in the newsletter. We all look forward to a great season.

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