Previous month:
September 2004
Next month:
November 2004

Election Day: You Have a Choice!

Dear shareholders, for many of you this Tuesday, November 2, is a share pick-up day. Perhaps (only perhaps) some of you are aware that the elections are also going to be held this Tuesday. Well, you have a real choice! You can either pick up your share as you usually do on Tuesdays or you can pick it up on Saturday. There is an added wrinkle for the Dupont Circle shareholders. If you choose to pick up on Saturday, you'll have to go to the farm itself between 1 and 4 PM.

If you are a Tuesday shareholder, please inform us in advance if you are <strong>not</strong> picking up on Tuesday because of time conflicts with the elections. This will help us in estimating how much to harvest on Tuesday and how much to save for Saturday. Our Dupont Circle stand closes promptly at 7 PM on Tuesday.


<a href=""><img alt="Saturday_pickup" title="Saturday_pickup" src="" width="350" height="250" border="0" /></a>

Shareholders picking up their shares at the farm a few Saturdays ago.

Fall Festival at Clagett Farm

It was a glorious autumn day last Saturday--perfect for a farm fall festival. It was great to see so many shareholders, worksharers and friends enjoying themselves. It was very nice to see several shareholders (from Anacostia and Dupont) who had never been to the farm before. We all had a good time.

Steel drum band in action (Jeff Crespi's photo):

<a href=""><img alt="Steel_drums_at_the_farm_2" title="Steel_drums_at_the_farm_2" src="" width="350" height="243" border="0" /></a>

Michael Heller pulling out with hayriders:

<a href=""><img alt="Michael_and_hayriders_1" title="Michael_and_hayriders_1" src="" width="350" height="229" border="0" /></a>

Shareholder Lorig Charkoudian and daughter (thanks for the photo, Jeff):

<a href=""><img alt="Lorig_and_daughter" title="Lorig_and_daughter" src="" width="350" height="296" border="0" /></a>

Harvesting the potluck (once again, Jeff's photo):

<a href=""><img alt="Potluck" title="Potluck" src="" width="350" height="249" border="0" /></a>

Carrie and her grandma (the farmer on the right side of the picture is Rob Vaughn):

<a href=""><img alt="Carrie_and_her_grandma" title="Carrie_and_her_grandma" src="" width="350" height="262" border="0" /></a>

It's survey time again

Yesterday we emailed a copy of our survey to everyone on our email list. During the next pick ups there will be paper copies of the survey as well. They're quick and easy, so please fill one out and send it back either by email, snail mail or hand delivery--your pick. Please be candid and specific. Your feedback will help us.

If you did not receive our email, let us know and send us your correct email address. Here is another way you can complete the survey: click below and download the survey in plain text format. You can copy it and paste it to the body of your email message. Then complete the survey and send it to

<a href="">Download 2004_fgu_csa_survey.txt</a>

And thank you to all those who already sent back completed surveys. We already received several of them.

Fall greens

Our greens are doing well. Here is a picture of some of them in the wash station right after harvest:

<a href=""><img alt="Fall_greens2" title="Fall_greens2" src="" width="350" height="232" border="0" /></a>

Last share dates: November 9, 10 and 13

<p>Several people have been asking about our last share distribution. Including this week's share, we have four more weeks of shares. The last Tuesday share will be on November 9, the last Anacostia share will be on November 10, and the last Saturday share will be on November 13. </p> <p>On November 19 and 20 (a Friday and Saturday) we will hold our gleaning days. That is, all shareholders and worksharers are welcome to the farm and glean from the tired fields whatever they want. We will let you know a few days in advance what you can expect to glean on those days.</p> <p />

First Frost

Last night Clagett Farm was hit by its first significant frost of the season. It was not uniform throughout the farm. Some fields obviously didn't get any frost, while others did. The sweet potatoes, winter squash and pumpkins were hit hard. The share of sweet potatoes will not be affected, but this means that we should speed up the harvesting of the rest of our sweet potatoes. And we did some of it today.

<a href=""><img alt="Size_12_sweet_potatoes" title="Size_12_sweet_potatoes" src="" width="160" height="136" border="0" style="float: right; margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;" /></a>

We dug out some White Haymans, an heirloom variety of white sweet potatoes, as well as some Beauregards, a common variety with the more familiar red-orange color. That is a size 12 work boot to your right, next to to some Beauregards that were just dug out.

Because of the frost, today we harvested all the winter squash and pumpkins that we could salvage. It is a pity, but over half of our pumpkins and butternut squash did not ripen in time. They had ample time to mature, but for some reason they were taking their sweet time doing it, and now they've been zapped by a killer frost. Shareholders will be getting pumpkins, just not as many nor as large and we would have liked.

A quick note on winter squash

<a href=""><img alt="Carnival_squash_1" title="Carnival_squash_1" src="" width="155" height="136" border="0" style="float: left; margin: 0px 5px 5px 0px;" /></a>
Shareholders already got their first winter squash, primarily acorn and carnival squash (a cross between acorn and sweet dumpling). As you probably know, we have several different varieties of winter squash and pumpkins. They have different rates of maturation and some of them are doing better than others. In any event, do not expect huge pumpkins.

This coming week shareholders will probably be getting spaghetti squash, as well as some more acorn and carnival. Our acorn squash should be eaten within two months, but they will taste better if you let them sit at room temperature for about ten days or so. If you have a choice, it is better to pick an acorn squash with a deep yellow (or almost orangy) spot.


Cover Crops

<a href=""><img alt="Coaver_crop_and_brassicas" title="Coaver_crop_and_brassicas" src="" width="350" height="262" border="0" /></a>

Above is a recent picture from one of our collard fields. Do you see what's growing between the collards? Those aren't weeds! The little plants between the collards (and we do this with other crops as well) are the beginning of our mighty winter cover crop. It's a mix of rye, hairy vetch and crimson clover and it will continue to grow throughout the fall providing a lush cover, protecting the soil from harsh winds and eroding/compacting rains. In addition to this protection, the roots of these plants will loosen compacted soil, mine for deep nutrients, clear new paths for earthworms and help boost soil microorganism activity. Then in the spring the legumes (hairy vetch and crimson clover) will take nitrogen from the air and transform it into a plant-available form. Meanwhile, the rye starts growing quickly providing organic matter, and the clover makes a great flower that beneficial insects love. When we're ready to plant vegetables, let's say tomatoes, we incorporate this great cover crop into the soil. The new nitrogen is released for the tomato plants, the soil organisms feed on the organic matter, and the rye releases chemicals which inhibit the germination of weed seeds. Amazing!