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April 2004
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August 2004

Yes, the shares are beginning now!

<p>Your first shares are this<br />Tuesday May 18 at Dupont Circle (17th &amp; O Sts, NW) and the farm<br />Wednesday May 19 at Anacostia (5:30-6:30 ONLY for the first two shares; 14th St SE between U &amp; V Sts)<br />or Saturday May 22 at the farm. Please come only to the one we have assigned you.</p> <p>If you haven't heard confirmation from us, come anyway. While our crops have not suffered for lack of attention, our office work certainly has. </p> <p>You can expect your first share to include...<br />*a choice of a variety of <strong>greens</strong>, including lettuce, asian mustards (for salad or stir fry), arugula, swiss chard, spinach, and young kale<br />*a bunch of <strong>garlic scallions</strong>, which have a pungent garlic taste but are a bit tougher so they should be more finely chopped<br />*and a few <strong>radishes</strong> (I'm afraid the matured a little faster than I expected--many have become grotesquely large)</p> <p>We still have shares available! We'll bring a few extra to the pick-up sites in case you want to sign up on the spot. </p> <p>This week's <strong>you-pick </strong>list: herbs (oregano, lavendar, sage, mint, a bit of cilantro(?)), a few wildflowers nestled among the grass, and at long last, strawberries. Please fill only a quart basket, so as many people as possible can have a chance to try them. Come on Thursday if you want a better selection. The field is just past the washing station (where you pick up your vegetables) on the right side. <br />We may add more items later, but this is all I know for now. </p>

Work shares

A "work share" is an option for people who would like to pay for their vegetables with labor instead of money. We've had lots of interest in our work shares this year, which is terrific. More hands for harvesting and weeding! Allow me to clarify some frequent points of confusion.

You can come any day from Monday to Saturday. Weekdays we're now beginning at 7:30am and working until 3:30pm (I say that, but it never ends that early...). Weekends the work shares are in a strict 4-hour window from 9am-1pm. It is most convenient for us to have your help on Tuesday (you can show up as late as 11am) and Saturday mornings when we're harvesting, because we need the help, it's easy to incorporate new-comers into the harvest, and your share will be ready right when it's time for you to leave. If you'd like to come other days, it helps (but is not necessary) to call in advance so you will know where to find us on the farm. There's lots of work all the time, so don't be shy.

<strong>Your Reward</strong>
In return for four hours of your labor, you get one "share" of that week's harvest. It's generally about a grocery-bag full, which tends to feed between 2-4 adults for a week. If two adults work, you get two shares. You also get the priveledge of harvesting whatever you'd like from our you-pick list. In fact, our regular work sharers tend to get better shares because they become familiar with the farm and they know where to retrieve the delicious morsels that tend to be discarded or left behind in the fields (without, of course taking what we are saving for the future harvests). Also, work sharers and volunteers get special preference when it's time to hire our paid staff the following spring. Some of my best co-workers began as work sharers (and vice versa).

<strong>Your Physique</strong>
We appreciate your efforts regardless of your brute strength. If you're not sure if you're up to the job, give it a try--you might be surprised. It's hard work in the hot sun, but a little enthusiasm means a lot. Be clear with us if you have any health issues, and please do not do any work that might harm you. We will ask that you sign a liability release form, and you are NOT covered by workers' compensation as a volunteer, so be sure you are adequately covered by health insurance.

<strong>No Commitment</strong>
We're keeping a list of names with phone numbers and e-mails of interested individuals so we can contact you if there's a change of plans or if we are especially in need of help. But you don't need to sign up in advance or commit to certain days. We'll be happy if we see you, we'll survive if we don't.

<strong>Getting Here </strong>
Call or e-mail us for directions if you plan to get here by car. Also, the farm is accessible by bus from the Addison Road metro (the Blue line) on weekdays. On Saturdays, we are usually happy to pick you up at the Suitland metro station at 8:45am if you make arrangements with us in advance.

<strong>What to Bring</strong>
The most important thing to remember is your water bottle. We have lots of delicious, potable water to refill your bottle, but it's not available while we're in the field. Dress for the weather, and be sure to wear a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen if it might be sunny. Be prepared to get VERY DIRTY and VERY HOT. We work rain or shine, and if it's a harvest day, we work in the rain in the muddy fields. If it's not a harvest, we can work under cover. We have tools and gloves for you to use, but if you have a pocket knife, it can be handy. Also, if you have gloves you prefer, you might want to bring your own (our box of spare gloves does not offer a terrific selection).

Flower bouquets

We still have a few months to wait, but we wanted to give you notice that our friend, Bill Doepkens, has agreed to let us sell his gorgeous flower bouquets at our pick-up sites for about $10-$15 each. Expect them to show up around mid-July. Please note that he is not an organic grower—he does use some petroleum-based fertilizers, but no pesticides on his flowers. Of course if you decide to create your own bouquets, we have seeded lots of wildflowers, flowers bred for florists, and sunflowers--all for you-pick.

Yoga classes at the farm

Our friend and frequent volunteer, Jeff Crespi, has offered to begin a yoga class on the farm if there is interest. We suspect that the best time would be Saturday at 4-5:30pm after the share pick-up. Jeff charges $8 per class, and we would need at least 6 more people to sign up to make it worth his trip. As one of his students for several years, I highly recommend it. How else could I stay flexible enough to pick all your greens? We're not taking payments yet--just drop us a line if you're interested.

Wish list

We have a few small needs we would like to mention, in case any of you can easily fill them.

--Our <strong>rosemary</strong> and <strong>thyme</strong> did not survive the winter, and we would like to grow more <strong>sage</strong>. If any of you have some plants you would like to donate, we would be delighted. Or, if you have some large plants in your garden, we would be happy to take some cuttings. Also, we welcome your suggestions for other plants you would like to see in the small you-pick herb area behind the washing station.

--One of our coworkers has a <strong>job opening </strong>for someone interested in full-time or part-time daycare. It would be great if that person were also interested in the farm, since this baby does not need constant attention.

--In addition to the ever-present need for volunteers to do field work, we have some <strong>other volunteer jobs </strong>that might suit your interests where we also need some help. For example:
*Take an afternoon to fix bicycles! We can pay for parts if you would like to offer labor
*Help chaperone a group of inner-city kids! We are making a special effort this summer to reach out to low-income kids in the city who participate in the Capital Area Food Bank’s Kid’s Café program. We expect about two groups of 30 kids of all ages to come to the farm each week and some of them are short of chaperones. (Did you know that 30.9% of the children in DC live in poverty, giving Washington DC the highest poverty rate in the country? We have lots to do!)