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“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” Hunter S. Thompson
You subscribe to our CSA and newsletter, at least in part, to understand how local farming works, or at least how we make it work. Our 2020 season is gearing up. Summer CSA signups are in full swing. Greenhouses are in full production and the transition to summer operations is just beginning. Seedlings are growing in anticipation of suitable outdoor temperature and moisture. We are ramping up our young, strong, and healthy 2020 crew. In short we are on our game!!
And now, the weirdest possible thing has happened to all of us. We are all faced with an unprecedented global pandemic. As engineers and farmers who try to practice applied science in everything we do, we understand and agree that the public health imperative is to “flatten the curve.” What that means is that we want the number of active cases to be at or less than the hospital capacity. Without the “social distancing,” a spike in cases would overwhelm our health care capacity. And it still may, depending on how flat we can get the curve. We don’t (we can’t) have the data to know exactly what is going to happen.
Now, the engineer in us kicks in. It is very likely that when this is all done, the same number of people will have been infected whether the curve was flat or spiked. If we can flatten the curve, more people will be saved within our health care capacity. Unfortunately, this means that there is a trade off between all those people getting sick at once or over a long time. And that’s the bad news. In order to save the most people, the social distancing, and the effect that will have on our economy, needs to be extended for as long as it takes. Nobody can possibly know how long that will be.
Things right now are nothing if not WEIRD. Imagine trying to plan to grow farm products under these circumstance. Seriously, don’t just imagine it, if you can figure it out please let us know, because we don’t know how this is all going to work over this growing season and beyond. We are moving forward so that our summer CSA season will be as normal as possible for when this blows over. We certainly hope, and expect, that the research science people will have this all figured out by next year at this time.
So, What does this mean for you and the farm right now?
As you probably know, about three fourths of our business is sales to restaurants, and most of the restaurants have closed for the foreseeable future, which means we have an ABUNDANCE of fresh-from the greenhouse product available right now. We have spent all the money to grow the food, except for harvesting and washing it.
We were counting on selling that, mostly to restaurants, and that can’t happen at least for the next two weeks, and quite likely much longer. At the end of that time, all those greens will be too far gone to be salable, and our cash flow will not be good.
Right now, we need to sell some perfectly delicious greens, you need to buy more food because none of us can go out to eat, no one really wants to go stand next to each other in lines at the grocery store, and we need the income from the greens if we want to keep our help employed and have our summer CSA available to you.
THEREFORE, we will be offering direct sales to you from the barn!
Starting tomorrow, Thursday, March 19, we will be open Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm and Saturday 8 am to noon for self service pick ups. Everything will be pre-bagged (as recommended by the CDC) in $3 or $6 bags, so you can just grab bags of this or that, remember your three times table, and pay. There will also be eggs, pork, and stew chickens, and possibly more if this unfortunate situation lasts much longer. There will be a hand wash station and disposable plastic gloves for your use. Given the lengthy amount of time each day that we’ll be open, this should make it easy for you to maximize social distancing, but we do ask that you send someone else if you are exhibiting any cold or flu like symptoms.
Anyone can come whether you’re a Winter CSA member or not. Even if we haven’t seen you in a few years, feel free to stop by and grab some farm fresh vegetables. And bring your friends, or send them along later in their own car (social distancing), because we have PLENTY, and we guarantee it will be at lower prices than the health food stores.
If you are currently a CSA member, you can use up your picks anytime you like between now and April 8 (the end of Winter CSA). Once your picks are all used up, it’s $3/bag.
For those of you who always relied on the Portland CSA pickup (again, whether or not you are currently a member) we will be making deliveries to Portland. We’re not feeling good about being inside in a medical building, either for you, us, or the people who need to go to the doctor. And it’s just too darn cold to set up in that mass of cold concrete of a parking garage. Sooo, Monday morning we will send out an availability list, and you respond with your order by 8 am Tuesday morning. We will bring your bag with your choices to Portland on the usual Wednesday afternoon.
Right now we hope to be able to meet you in the parking garage, but the exact location is subject to change based on the best practices as defined by the building tenants and owners. Portland is large, we will find another spot if we need to. And of course, you can always come out to the farm and pick up what you want anytime Monday – Friday 8 am to 6 pm or Saturday 8 am to noon.
For those of you who haven’t been with us this winter, here’s the list of what we expect to have at the farm on Thursday:
Mesclun Baby Kale Baby Chard Parsnips
Claytonia Head lettuce Baby Bok Choi Parsley
Chard Broccolini Radishes Hakurei turnips
Belgian Endive Leeks Shallots Red Cipollini Onions
Kohlrabi Cabbage Savoy Cabbage Daikon Radish
Watermelon Radish Rainbow Carrots Chantenay Carrots Baby Carrots
Purple Top Turnip Rutabaga Golden Globe Turnip Potatoes French Fingerlings Eggs Sauerkraut
Red Sauerkraut Kimchi Arugula Pesto Basil Pesto
So stop by, wave from a distance, and get some good Maine grown vegetables.
And a great big thank you to everyone for being here for our first 23 years. This will NOT stop us!!! Without customers it’s not farming, it’s just a really over sized garden.
Summer CSA Is ON –
You can still sign up for Summer CSA. Prices are:
Large – 11 picks – $675
Medium – 9 picks – $565
Small – 7 picks – $450
Extra Small – 5 picks – $335
If you want to mail a check, the address is:
Lisa & Ralph Turner
Laughing Stock Farm
79 Wardtown Road
Make checks payable to: Laughing Stock Farm
See you soon! (At a distance)
Ralph and Lisa