IMG_1079Our neighbor and legendary farmer friend Eva, of Eva’s Garden, tells me that any night now may be the night for the “salamander prom.” On the first warm and rainy night of spring a great migration of amphibians including spotted salamanders and wood frogs emerge from their forest retreats and begin their “promenade” into vernal pools where they mate and deposit their eggs.  As Eva phrased it, one of their favorite “party spots” in our neighborhood happens to be in the swampy land across the street from the entrance to Round the Bend Farm. Eva and her neighbors keep a vigil watch and when the promenade occurs they come out armed with buckets to help salamanders cross Jordan Road and ensure that cars drive carefully during the amphibians crossing. I have heard the spring peepers during the day while seeding flats and hope to attend the salamander prom some evening very soon!  Yes, signs seem to be pointing to an early spring. On the farm, I’ve been able to turn under a cover crop of oats, peas and vetch in preparation for early April plantings of greens, peas, and root crops. The greenhouse is quickly filling up with flats of alliums (onions, leeks, shallots, and scallions) as well as beets and lots of leafy greens. The first peppers and tomato seedling are also starting to pop from the soil under lights in the warmer environment of the farmhouse cellar.
And so the spring frenzy has begun!

There are some small changes in how shares will be distributed this year. Based on CSA member feedback I will be moving toward a farmer’s market style or free choice distribution system. Pick up days and hours will remain the same but each week members will be given the choice of 6-8 units of vegetables for partial shares, and 10-12 units for full shares. Each unit is valued between $3 to $4. For those of you who liked the old system, there will always be a
suggested share. An example of share options in mid August might look something like this:
1 unit of Tomatoes= 1 lb
1 unit of Green Beans = 1lb
1 unit of Potatoes = 2 lbs
1 unit of Onions = 2 lbs
1 unit of scallions= 2 bunches
1 unit of Fennel = 1 lb
1 unit of Kale = 2 bunches
1 unit of Zucchini = 2 lbs
1 unit of Bok choi = 2 heads
1 unit Lettuce heads = 2 heads
1 unit of Cucumbers = 4 pieces
1 unit of Eggplant = 2 lbs
1 unit of Cabbage = 1 head
1 unit of Melon = 1 piece
1 unit of Herbs= 2 bunches your choice, parsley, basil or cilantro

As you can see there are more than 12 items listed above giving you more diversity of choice on a weekly basis.There will be some limitations to the number of units you can take of certain crops at certain times of the season. However, you could in theory, during the height of tomato season, take all your units in tomatoes to process sauce or load up on the kale if you were into juicing. In addition, I will do my best to have a table of seconds for those of you who like would like to take full advantage of the abundance of the summer season to process for the winter.

Add-on options this year include eggs from our friends Sarah, Kate, and Massimo at nearby Cluck & Trowel Farm. You can find the signup form in the email sent out to you notifying you of this blog post and more information about Cluck & Trowel Farm at BUY NOW ! — Cluck &Trowel.  If you sign up with them online, make sure to let them know your pickup location will be at Round the Bend Farm, and the day of your share pickup.  That way your eggs will be waiting for you when you get here!  Also to complement your share, I will update you throughout the season when there is an availability of Kinder Meats or local fruit that can be ordered the week prior to your regular pickup share.  Hana’s Honey and maple syrup harvested in western MA from Apponagansett Farm will also be available on a regular basis.

Happy Spring,

Ashley’s Produce is currently accepting 2016 CSA Memberships.  Shares are filling up fast; reserve your space today!

Click on the brochure for more information.

Download Ashley’s CSA Pledge Form here.Ash_brochure_cv