Welcome to A New Leaf Farm’s blog! I’m Nicole, a friend of Cathy and Carlos, and this summer, I’m going to be taking you on a journey through A New Leaf Farm’s vegetable garden. My goal is to provide tips, recipes, and information about the food found inside your weekly basket. Hopefully, if you have anything you want to share, you’ll feel comfortable enough to leave posts that could help others enjoy their baskets too.

After signing up to share in A New Leaf Farm’s garden for the summer, I began to dig a little deeper. I thought I was just joining up for a weekly basket of vegetables. I now realize it is so very much more.

Firstly, CSA (which being the “cidiot” I am, I keep on saying CAS…) stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Think about that for a moment. Before, I knew what CSA stood for, I just thought it was a fancy farming term for vegetables in a basket… What CSA really means is that you become a member… a member of something awesome. I am a contributing member of something I could never achieve on my own. It is a farming partnership. Remember, I am a “cidiot” – that is why this is so awesome to me. As a member, you pay up front to help cover the startup costs (seeds, transplants and everything else needed) to get the garden started. And in return you get a share of the bounty. Each week your basket will have a variety of sustainably grown vegetables from now until the end of September. And each week is different – I like this because it gets me out of the same old vegetable choice rut I tend to be stuck in.

All this farming talk got me excited so, I decided to take it a baby step further and plant a few tomatoes and peppers with the kids in our own backyard. Normally, this is the kind of thing that usually goes on the to-do list but eventually gets forgotten instead of crossed off. This idea actually came to reality when Cathy sent out a note that ANLF had plants for sale. Now, I was motivated, so off to the farm we went. We went for a tour of the farm, got to meet the animals, and pick up our plants. This is when I gained a new appreciation of that basket of vegetables.
At the time of my visit the soil was still in the process of being weeded and prepared for planting. Again, being a “cidiot”, I had envisioned a tractor or rototiller or a something mechanical to make lighter work of preparing a large overgrown patch of earth for planting. As it turns out, the weeding is done by hand. Not the gardening glove and kneeling pad kind of weeding I am used to at home. This was foot to shovel to ground to back breaking bending over digging through the earth to untangle weeds that do not want to be disturbed. WOW! And here I complain about my ongoing losing fight with trying to wrestle dandelions out of my lawn…
All I had to do for my garden at home was throw some organic soil into some planters and add the already established plants (and remember not to Miracle Grow this garden – cidiot). And I thought this was hard work – clearly, no comparison!

This week at the farm it’s time for the first harvest… which means more than I will ever know sitting behind the laptop clicking on the keyboard….it means we are getting our first baskets. What we won’t see in the basket is the team of people that planned, studied, seeded, transplanted, weeded, watered, harvested, and cleaned all the vegetables. It is truly a labour of love that has been worked on for months before it even hits our tables. I think it is cool that this “cidiot” is a part of that – even in my small way.

If you are reading this blog chances are you too are a contributing partner of the farm where all this awesome happens. Carlos, Cathy, and Maris invite you to stop by the farm anytime – they love guests and love to share the true meaning of CSA!
PS/ Thank you to everyone who has contributed their time, efforts, expertise, and support that have helped to get that basket of love to my table!
Oh, by the way, in your basket this week you’ll find salad mix, mustard greens, purple orach (an old variety of spinach), basil, a taste of swiss chard, 3 or 4 different kinds of kale, garlic scapes (immature garlic flowers), peas, basil, and a variety of radishes.