Welcome To Our Blog

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Winter CSA – Last Day

I want to start off by thanking everyone for being a part of our first ever winter CSA here at Fifth Crow and the continued support you’ve given to Fifth Crow. We are so glad you joined us this season as we experimented with offering a winter CSA. Of course we chose the wettest winter in California’s’ recorded history to kick off our winter CSA seasons. It has to be easier from here on out right?! The season was both wonderful and at times very...

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Winter CSA – Week 13

The coast is a-buzz with the sounds of tractors and Fifth Crow is no exception. Sam, our new tractor assistant, started this week. The soil has dried out enough to get out there and do some much needed tractor work (until these new rains appeared). He, Darin, Mike, and John have all been seen on the tractors lately. Beds have been busily getting formed for new plantings and sowings, and acres of cover crop are getting tilled in. The cover crop gets one pass over...

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Winter CSA – Week 12

CUESA is a nonprofit organization that manages the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market in San Francisco (where we have been seen since last fall selling our produce) and the Jack London Square Farmers Market in Oakland. Founded in 1994, their goal was to educate urban consumers about sustainable agriculture and to create links between urban dwellers and local farmers. They often host talks, classes, and tours. We are happy to announce that we will be featured on the next farm tour along with our neighbor Dede...

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Winter CSA – Week 11

Our soil finally dried out enough to get out there and work the fields this last week. Mike was able to mow and disc in cover crop in one section of our fields (background of pic with cover crop in foreground) while Darin formed new beds for planting. The crew planted lettuces, kohlrabi, broccoli, and they sowed baby greens, turnips & carrots that were all watered in by the rains. But then… we got 5 inches of rain last Tues/Wed. and are experienced heavy rains...

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Winter CSA – Week 10

Our new Poultry Production Manager started last week. Henry (not to be confused with our livestock guardian dog, Henri) drove out all the way from Missouri to work and live at Fifth Crow this season. He has started right in on irrigation repairs, fence mending, and chicken tractor maintenance that has long been over due. He’ll spend ~25 hours/week on chicken duties and the rest of his time will be with the crew and assisting with loading all the market trucks on Fridays and Saturdays...

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Winter CSA – Week 9

We have dried out enough (or almost enough) to finally get the tractor out in the fields again. Darin has been mowing, discing, and spading to prep the land to make new beds for our early springs rounds of plantings and sowings. Brassicas will be first priority for planting and then when more ground is ready we’ll get beets, scallions, herbs, romaine hearts, carrots, fennel, and more in the ground. Yay!! The crew has been hard at work continuing the process of rebuilding the high...

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Winter CSA – Week 8

I’m sure you are all as happy as we’ve been here at the farm to have had some beautifully sunny, dry days lately. The crew has been out working on repairing the high tunnels as well as doing our winter pruning of the pear and apple trees. Our fields are drying up nicely too so we’ve been able to get out to do some much needed weeding and planting. Mike & Darin are our resident grease monkeys right now focusing much of their time this...

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CSA & Farm Updates

CSA News Winter 2017 season: We are now halfway through our first ever winter CSA* season which runs for a total of 14 weeks and it has been both wonderful and challenging. The extreme weather this winter has had a huge impact on our crops and ability to be out in the fields for planting and harvesting. Despite all the torrential downpours, hail, and flooding our members have been enjoying a variety of winter crops such as Brussels sprouts, parsnips, potatoes, beets, turnips, bunching greens,...

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Baby Crow #3 Has Arrived!

Her name is Eleanor Joyce, born Thursday Feb. 23rd. 7 lbs. 15oz. & 20 in. tall. Both mom and baby are doing great and they were back home by 4:00pm on Friday!! Mike and Teresa went zooming outta the farm around 1:30pm on Thursday afternoon and she was born by 4:30pm! Mike hurriedly flew into the office to let us know Teresa was in labor but we knew what was up when we heard the car zooming down the road from the yurt. I had...

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Winter CSA – Week 6

So, what’s new here? Well, we are just waiting and hoping for some drier spans of weather. The flowers are struggling with disease due to the high levels of moisture. The crops are at a stand still in their growth and we haven’t had much of a window to get out and sow spring crops. It’s looking like we will most likely have to cancel going to some markets once we hit the gap between our winter crops and the spring plantings. I will be...

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Winter CSA – Week 5

WOW, WHAT A STORM!!! I hope everyone was able to stay safe and somewhat dry! It’s been really treacherous out there on the roads and here at the farm too. Our Westland property (where many of our winter crops are located) flooded when the creek broke over the banks. It rose 10 feet in 24 hours and receded just as quickly after the damage was done. What’s amazing is that plantings that were still very small in size didn’t get washed away! In the lowest...

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Winter CSA – Week 4

We lost another section of yet another high tunnel last week ūüôĀ John was out there building support stakes and almost had them all up before the winds took it down. He says if he had had only one more hour he would’ve been able to save the tunnel from destruction. It’s been pretty brutal around here between the high winds, rain, and frosts. Our crops are feeling it too. We experienced some flooding during this most recent storm and I’ll update you in the...

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Winter CSA – Week 3

Well, we survived the storm minus some sections of a couple of our high tunnels. Repairs have begun but it means that our winter crops are getting trampled in areas by boots in order to disassemble the structure and rebuild. It also means the sections of the crops that will avoid the boot crushing are now exposed to the elements. We plant in the high tunnels for season extension. We have some of the same crops (for example baby greens) that were sown outside at...

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Winter CSA – Week 1

It’s so good to be back!! Have ya missed us?! Well, we survived the rains thank goodness and we hope you did too! We find ourselves at the beginning of another storm here and I hope the CSA totes stay dry! We did unfortunately have to cancel going to markets the weekend before last due to the hazards of trying to harvest when the soils are so slippery and the danger of having the market tents flying around hitting folks on the head. We are...

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In The Field, Week 27

It’s been such a pleasure being your CSA Coordinator this season! I’ve enjoyed planning your shares, creating beautiful boxes with a diversity of flavors, and writing this weekly newsletter. It’s been fun for me to learn quirky facts about veggies, taking photos of the farm for you, and looking up delicious recipes to explore new ways of cooking food & hopefully inspiring you. It really makes me wish I had a kitchen to cook in! One of these years I’ll be able to cook the...

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In The Field, Week 26

Well folks, our season is wrapping up so what can I say… It’s time to start prepping for next year. Darin and John are working to get strawberry beds made and ready for planting. Our strawberry starts are in the cooler waiting for plant out. They’ve had to wait until the soil moisture was just right after the rains we had so the tractors could go back to work. You can’t do tractor work when the soil has high moisture content or you’ll compact the...

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In The Field, Week 24

Registration for our current CSA season is now officially closed so I can focus on setting up the website for our May-November 2017 registration. I’m hoping to have that up and running by mid-November for everyone. I know a few of you have bought shares as holiday gifts in the past and we want to make sure registration is open in time again for that opportunity. I will of course keep you abreast of when I’ll have it ready. As a reminder, we open our...

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In The Field, Week 23

We’ve reached 200+ CSA members for the first time in Fifth Crow history!! So I’m taking my break and all of a sudden this large brooder comes “floating” by me. If only I could’ve captured the smiles on the crews face as they were carrying it over for the new chicks. This was the brooder that was being used all season as a drying shed for our flowers. The flower ladies have now moved into drying the last few rounds of fresh flowers in one...

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In The Field, Week 22

We’ve reached 200 CSA members for the first time in Fifth Crow history!! Rains. Here we are again racing against time to get all the necessary crops in or covered before the rains came last week. We call this rain pressure.. The crew has been working hard trying to bring in all the dry beans & covering the winter squash that are curing in the fields with tarps. Those particular crops take first priority because we will lose them to the rain. The next priority...

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In The Field, Week 21

Our baby chicks arrived! We raise two separate flocks of about 350 hens at a time. All our hens are heritage breeds: Rhode Island Reds, Americaunas, Black Australorps, Welsummers, and California White Leghorns. Our hens are more than free-range, they are pasture raised, meaning they graze on a nutritious pasture of clover, alfalfa, chickory, plantain and grass.  Each week they are moved to new forage. We supplement our pasture with locally milled organic feed from Modesto Milling, crushed oyster shells (for calcium), and all our...

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CSA Hot Topic – Follow Up

I can’t believe it has already been nine weeks since I brought up the issue of CSA memberships around the country struggling. (You can refer back to newsletter #11 if you need to remind yourself of the issue and some of the reasons why CSA membership has fallen across the country). Besides the competition that traditional CSA’s find ourselves up against (Blue Apron, box truck delivery, farmers’ markets, etc..) I found through more research that many people feel like the CSA shares get the “left-overs”...

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In The Field, Week 20

Our first rains were expected to arrive this last weekend so it’s been a mad dash to get the dry beans threshed and into covered bins. Rain is not good for dry beans! We also needed to get the shallots inside under cover. They had been pulled from the field weeks ago and have been curing. The winter squash may suffer from being out in the rain too.. We’ll have to wait and see. There are only so many hands that can get everything in...

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In The Field, Week 19

Many of the dry bean varieties have been pulled up in the field. In the past we have planted 2 acres of dry beans and this year we planted 5! Once the plants are pulled they finish drying out on large pieces of landscape cloth. We then thresh, sort and clean mostly by hand. Getting beans from the field into those cute little hand-stamped bags of ours takes a lot of labor and love. We are excited to offer our beans to the CSA each...

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In The Field, Week 17

Our storage onions spent approximately two weeks curing in the fields and then they made their way into a countless number of crates to be brought in from the fields for storage. They were initially brought to pack out mid-week last week and placed on pallets but the problem with storing them in our pack out is that it is really bright in there and onions needs to be stored in the dark so they don’t begin to sprout.They also need good, dry air circulation...

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Exciting News!

We are now at the Grand Lake Farmers Market in Oakland!!! We’ve made it across the Bay folks! We had our first debut there Saturday September 3rd and you can find us there any Saturday you wish now. The market is open from 9am-2pm if you find yourself in Oakland and craving Fifth Crow produce!! Stop by and say hi to Ali who is running the show along with some other wonderful and friendly marketeers that you may have met at our other markets.I was...

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In The Field, Week 16

Eating seasonally is a lost practice by most of us who are so lucky to live in an area where a huge variety of foods/nutrition are at our finger tips year round but it makes us forget that food has seasons and cycles. Isn’t it a great thing though when you find yourself sick of a food because you’ve been eating it so much and you finally see a different item show up on the market shelf? Then after a year when you first smell...

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In The Field, Week 15

It may seem like you’re getting a less “full” box and a lot of the same items in your shares lately but I want to give you as much of ¬†the summer produce as I can while it’s here; it will be gone before we know it! Soon enough we will be back to more greens, bunching greens, roots, and brassicas so enjoy the bounty of summer! This will be the last of the melons ūüôĀ I hope you have been enjoying them and have...

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In The Field, Week 14

It’s been awhile since I’ve updated you on our “Back 40” acreage where we planted our potatoes, winter squash, and dry beans so here’s the skinny… We have cut the water off on the 5 acres of dry beans. If you can spot the yellow area of the fields in the picture to the left those are the dry beans that are ready for pulling. The dry bean crops are looking better than than they ever have according to John. However, a few of the...

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In The Field, Week 13

There’s another baby crow on the way!!! Teresa and Mike are expecting a little crow due on February 12th! Teresa is 13 weeks along and they/we are so excited! Charlie is getting ready to be a big brother and is weaning from mom as well as not wearing a diaper for most of the daytime. How did he grow up so fast?? He will be for sure teaching his younger sibling both English and Spanish as he is already bilingual. Other news that now seems...

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In The Field, Week 12

A couple newsletters ago I mentioned how as farmers we think months in advance and that we are already planting out some of our fall crops into the fields. This is also the typical mindset for our flower team. The girls and Porfirio (our dutiful flower harvesting dude) have been harvesting and drying flowers in our new drying “shed” for months to create beautiful, long lasting wreaths this fall/winter. They converted one of our chick brooders into this mystical room. It’s a hoop house built...

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CSA Hot Topic

What is a CSA & why are memberships decreasing? Community Supported Agriculture consists of a community of individuals who pledge support to a farm operation so that the farmland becomes, either legally or spiritually, the community‚Äôs farm, with the growers and consumers providing mutual support and sharing the risks and benefits of food production. -United States Dept. of Agriculture I wanted to talk a little bit about what exactly a CSA is and how it’s defined. Many people have no idea what a CSA is...

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In The Field, Week 10

As a farmer you live in the present but think six months into the future. It’s critical time right now to finalize the winter crop plan for the CSA and also to decide what fields to grow the crops in versus which fields to plant over-wintering cover crops. Our sowings in the greenhouses consist of fall crops now and we are beginning to plant out our first rounds of fall veggies into the fields. But don’t worry, there is still plenty of summer crops yet...

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In The Field, Week 9

You will see you’ve got the first of our apples in your CSA box this week and so what better time than the present to introduce you to our orchard… Before Fifth Crow was even an idea John recruited Mike to help select and plant apple trees that John intended to grow up in Chehalis, WA on his grandpa’s farmland. To select their varieties they went to the apple master, Orin Martin, who both John and Mike had studied under in the CASFS farm apprenticeship...

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Field Day Fun!

Thank you to everyone who came out for our Field Day this last Saturday! It was really awesome to see all the young children so excited to be on a farm, appreciating healthy food, and teaching us about their own back yard veggie gardens! We believe seeing first hand where your food comes from, experiencing the connection to the land, and meeting your farmers is incredibly important in this increasingly disconnected world we find ourselves living in. Those of you who are showing your kids...

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In the Field, Week 8

Our first lilies got harvested!! So many beautifully colored and aromatic flowers are starting to blossom. We’ve had our first few harvests of Dahlias, we’ve now got a lot of Larkspur, Danish Flag Poppies, Snapdragons, Sunflowers, Millet, Yarrow, and all the other wonderful summer blooms appearing in the bouquets. You can find these bouquets at all our markets and quite possibly soon at the Half Moon Bay New Leaf Market. We’ll be sure to let you know if and when we start selling our bouquets...

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Summer Crops On Their Way

So now that it’s our 7th week of CSA deliveries most all of you have had a sampling of our typical spring crops like radishes, spring onions, turnips, etc. as well as our regular round the year crops like the lettuces, kales, cauliflower, broccoli, beets, etc. Well, have I got exciting news for you… our summer crops are peeking their heads out! You’re getting your first cucumbers in this weeks box and Teresa, Ali & I have been lucky to be able to taste the...

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Apples, apples, apples!

Our apple trees got thinned and the fruits are sizing up nicely in the orchard. All across the state last winter fruit trees were struggling to set fruit. This was due to an unusually warm winter and the trees becoming confused on when to come out of dormancy. Our pears are still recovering from that previous winter and any fruit we will get off the tress this fall we will be offering to the CSA first before any pears go to markets. Lucky us!! Other...

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Fifth Crow Farm Field Day July 9th!

Our field day is right around the corner and our lunch tickets are going fast! We’d love to have you join us for a day of fun in the fields! For more info check out fifthcrowfarm.com/events and to get your RSVP in ASAP click here.

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The Trials and Tribulations of Farming

Our water pump that we have been struggling with over in our new fields finally went kerplunck last week. Unfortunately it broke before we got our new pump delivered and installed. We will not be able to plant our 5 acres of Quinoa for the CSA this year. Currently we have all our potatoes, dry beans, and winter squash planted in those fields. All the crops have gotten watered a couple times and have germinated thankfully. We have even begun harvesting our first succession of...

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The Right Thing To Do

I’ve been meaning to write some articles for the newsletter that more deeply explore particular themes. ¬†Recent events have led me to think this week would be a good opportunity to write a bit about the current labor shortages that many farms like ours are experiencing. Over the last week we had one of our core year round employees quit suddenly. In the process of trying to figure out why and how some of our colleagues deal with this sort of thing, I discovered that...

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In the Field

Updates from the field… We mentioned in our last newsletter we have had some irrigation challenges in our newly leased parcel. ¬†This has led to some later plantings than hoped for but at least we were able to get the beans in the ground just in the nick of time! Unfortunately, it also means we might not be able to plant our experimental 5 acres of Quinoa this year. We have ordered a new water pump and we have our fingers crossed that by the...

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Planting on New Acreage

Updates from the field… ¬†All the winter squash have been planted and have started sprouting. ¬†We’re planting dry beans, potatoes, winter squash, and quinoa all at our new acreage. ¬†This has led to some unforeseen challenges. ¬†We only acquired the lease this Spring and still don’t have an irrigation system set up. ¬†Although we’re renting the former tenant’s pump (at a hefty $300/month) the pump has had lots of problems and we’re struggling getting things watered. ¬†Hence, dry beans and winter squash, and quinoa are...

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Henri Roams Free

What’s happening this week? ¬†Well, the chickens ¬†and Henri (our livestock guardian dog) who are still on their hilltop winter pasture are prepping for a move down to their Spring-Fall location. ¬†Henri has been loving his top of the farm view. ¬†He can often be seen from a distance perched right at the tippy top surveying the rest of the farm below. He’s also finally free roaming and no longer hemmed in by the electric fence. ¬†This is working okay… though Banks and Nellie (our...

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2016 CSA has Begun

Sooo much is happening right now. ¬†It’s that critical time of year where farmers work dawn to dusk and everything else gets put off till later. Laundry, dishes, groceries, bathing.. all come in second as we scramble trying to finish getting the seasonal crops that we only get one shot at planting into the ground- winter squash, dry beans, tomatoes, peppers, etc. ¬†Mike, Darin and John have all been on the tractors during pretty much most of the daylight hours. ¬†We’re doubling our dry bean...

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CSA delivery begins May 21st!

Our first CSA delivery is fast approaching. Sign up to receive locally grown, delicious, organic veggies, berries, eggs, flowers, and more delivered to your neighborhood! We have a new pick up site in the Richmond District of San Francisco and one in San Mateo at Bay Meadows.

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Fifth Crow Farm Field Days are here!

We are having our annual Fifth Crow Farm Field Day this year on both July 9th & September 17th. We will have food, activities, a farm tour, and lots of fun! More details of the event will be soon to come so mark the dates on your calendar now and we’ll keep you posted!

Fifth Crow Selected for the Eco-Farm 2016 “Successful Farmer Plenary”

Want to see our presentation?  Watch it on You Tube.  We start at 2 min. 40 sec.

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There are still spots open in our CSA

The CSA is currently over half full and we’ve sold out of full season egg shares (though you can still sign up for eggs from June-end of August).¬† That said there’s still time to sign up…¬† You can learn more about our CSA here: http://fifthcrowfarm.com/csa/

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New CSA Coordinator for Fifth Crow

We’ve just hired a new CSA Coordinator, Casey Gooding. Casey began her love for growing plants at an early age in her parents garden. When after graduating high school in 1997 she was offered a job working for a landscape company, she jumped at the chance. She quickly realized she had an instinct for working with plants and at the age of 18 she co-designed an English garden that still continues to be featured on various garden tours. After some years of exploration around the...

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PS We’re back at the Castro Farmers’ Market

Tomorrow, March 25th, will be our first day back at the San Francisco Castro Farmers’ Market. Stop by and say hello. Strawberries are back, we’ll have plenty of baby greens, and we have tons of stunning ranunculas and anemones.

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Fifth Crow Farm Welcomes two new additions

The two Fifth Crow babies have arrived … and on the same day to boot! On March 1st John and Maggi welcomed Naima Hope Vars (left) and also also on March 1st Mike & Teresa welcomed Charles Oakley Irving (right)

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National CSA Sign up day 2/28- get a $25 discount if you sign up this week!

On February 28th, we are joining with CSA farmers from across the country to celebrate National CSA Sign-up Day. This is an important time of year for us to get new members signed up because we are in the process of making the investments that will result in a successful harvest many months from now. Sign up this week and receive an early registration discount of $25 The CSA model is an important model that supports our farm. To learn more about our CSA check...

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Duck Eggs just added as an option at our delivery sites!

We are pleased to announce one more delicious, nutritious, and sustainable option for pick up at our CSA Sites.  Our neighbor Mary Dusell is offering 1/2 dozen and full dozen shares of her certified organic duck eggs.  Learn more here: marysfreshduckeggs.com  You can now sign up on our CSA registration page

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CSA Registration is now open for 2015

We just opened up CSA registration for 2015 beyond members from last season.¬† Sign up quick if you want eggs!¬† We have about 10 full- season egg shares left, and the CSA is already 50% full.¬† Early registrants receive a $25 discount… This year the CSA will start the last week of May and go through the last delivery day before Thanksgiving (27 weeks).¬† Flower shares will be for 20 weeks starting in June and stopping end of October. Go Here¬†to register.

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First crop of beet seed!

Last week we harvested our first crop of ‘Forono’ beet seed with the help and tutelage of our self-described “Seed Head in residence”, Steve Peters.¬† You may remember me mentioning Steve last year. ¬† Formerly from the seed company Seeds of Change, Steve now has his own initiative called Seed Revolution Now!. Go see his site if you want to hear more about his breeding and test plots at Fifth Crow and other local farms…¬† This year he continued a breeding project for open-pollinated broccoli...

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Real Farm Dogs Eat their Broccoli

Yes, it’s true… So you should eat yours too ; )

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CSA final registration deadline approaching!

Our CSA is filling up fast. There are about 20 spots left folks! Though we will continue to accept registrations till we’re full, after May 15th we will add a late registration fee of $25. EGG SHARES ARE SOLD OUT. To sign up go to our Registration page.

Fifth Crow Farm shows up in White Mic & Zman Music Video

You might not associate organic farms and hip hop music videos… But check this out. Fifth Crow recently appeared in White Mic & Zman’s¬† music video titled “Preachin & Plantin”. ¬†Mike had a great time showing these guys around ūüôā

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New grant funded chicken feeders installed!

Thanks to an organization called FACT that gives out small grants to farms to help them improve the welfare of their animals, Fifth Crow Farm now has brand new, treadle chicken feeders! … and they’re working!!! Over the last 5 seasons we have struggled to keep wild starlings from eating our chicken feed and harassing the hens.¬†¬† Aside from eating an estimated 20lbs of feed a day (quite costly), the birds are a constant stressor to our two flocks.¬† Rather than migrate away as they...

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Teresa heads to Yale tomorrow

I’m headed off tomorrow to present at the Agrarian Studies Colloquium at Yale. Wish me luck!¬† I’ll be discussing my work as a farmer and my graduate work on West African foodways– you can view a couple of my short films about food issues in West Africa (where I was born and spend the first part of my life) here: Campe Cuisine Vacance: http://vimeo.com/4828842 Bene Wende: http://vimeo.com/4889344 I’m a bit nervous, of course, as I haven’t been exercising my academic side very much lately.¬† But...

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CSA registration for 2014 is open!

Though CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) registration has been open for returning members for some time now,  we have now opened up registration to the general public.  Go here to register online or learn more. Last year we had 116 members and this year we have enough space for 150.   Members receive a box of $25-$30 worth of produce each week.  The season starts the last week of May and runs throught the last delivery day before Thanksgiving.  Fifth Crow Farm eggs & flowers are optional...

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Now Hiring

Seasonal Field Production Crew: 3 positions available in 2014. The letter of the law makes farm apprenticeships (as they currently are) illegal.  In light of this, we are attempting to straddle the need to stay within the letter of the law, but still help aspiring farmers to gain valuable skills.  We believe that the apprenticeship/internship is a critical component of growing new farmers, one which all three of us benefited from, and we are committed to providing such experiences for others. Each season we hire...

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Seed Saving Workshop

We had an extremely successful seed saving workshop put on by our good friend Steve Peters (formerly of Seeds of Change and now with his own project called “Seed Revolution Now”).¬† About 20 local farmers, farm interns/employees attended.¬† After seeing some of Steve’s projects at Fifth Crow in the field, everyone bundled up to get some more standard schooling on the challenges and advantages of farm seed production. Steve has been doing a couple seed projects here at Fifth Crow this season- a breeding project...

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Baby Chicks Arrive

A box of Black Austrolorps has arrived, just as fragile and furry as can be.  John and Christopher unload them into our new movable chick house, which will provide them with enough growing room for week one. Emily, one of the interns on the farm, helps to keep them warm.