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Yellow and green summer squash

Summer squash ready for our CSA subscribers

Summer squash means it must be summer, right? We were warned about “Juneuary” but “Januly” is a whole different story. Luckily today seems to be warming back up – this sun is definitely a sight for sore eyes. This week we welcomed some new and old faces to the farm! Previous years’ interns stopped by to help out around the farm, and two new interns have been added to the mix (welcome Kris and Gracie). Be sure to say hello if you see them!

If you stopped by the Bainbridge Island Farmers market on Saturday (or saw our Facebook page), you already know we set a new Persephone Farm record of sweet pea bunches – 63! Those and all the other flowers bursting into bloom have been keeping us plenty busy, and us interns are getting to learn more about the flowers and how to harvest them. The most exciting part to me, though, is getting to use them in bouquets! Our intern bouquet making school, taught by Rebecca, is always a highlight of our Wednesdays and Fridays, and we hope you all are loving the beautiful flowers! Here are some pictures of our flowers we harvested this morning, and some of the bouquets we’ve made so far

-Intern Taylor
(Persephone’s note – Brian and Brooklyn are our other awesome 2016 Interns.)

CSA subscriber bouquets at Persephone Farm in Indianola , WA

CSA subscriber bouquets waiting for pickup

Freshly harvested flowers ready for bouquet making lesson

Freshly harvested flowers ready for our bouquet making lesson

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Tomato harvest

The interns’ first tomato harvest!

Hope everyone had a great Fourth of July! We had a lovely day of harvesting salad greens and lavender before our community dinner and fireworks over the water. Over the past few weeks our greenhouse and hardening off tables (where young plants live in between the greenhouse and moving to the great outdoors) have been getting emptier and emptier as the last of our summer crops and successions are moving to their permanent homes. The last plants waiting patiently (some more patient than others) that we have been working on transplanting this week are beans, sunflowers, cauliflower, broccoli, and a few others.

We’re sad to see some of our favorites, such as raspberries, on their way out but are so excited to be learning about new vegetables and flowers! This week us interns learned about harvesting tomatoes, string beans, and summer squash, and soon even more summer delights such as peppers will be on the list! Hopefully our subscribers enjoy some new sights in their boxes this week!

– Intern Taylor

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My how time flies! Our CSA orientation is this Wednesday, 5:30–7:30 p.m. at the Farm. We’re counting on a beautiful, rain free evening — as it has been for the past 20 years on orientation night. (Yes, this is the 21st year of the Persephone Farm CSA!)

We are very excited to see the program starting for another glorious season and anxious to share what’s new at Persephone Farm. CSA subscribers are encouraged to bring their family and join us for an evening at the farm. See our summer vegetables growing! Learn about add-on shares, these are delicious ways to support other local producers, and an opportunity to collect an even more abundant basket each week. Meet our awesome, hard-working 2016 interns, enjoy hors d’oeuvres, tour the garden, and of course, pick up your produce. (Subscribers received an email from Rebecca with additional details.) See photos from a past orientation.

If you know of others who might be interested in joining us, please spread the word. There are still shares available, and, if you refer someone who subscribes, we’ll thank you with a free box of veggies, and, of course a huge hug and many thanks. We look forward to meeting all our new subscribers and seeing the familiar faces of friends and neighbors. Contact Rebecca if you have questions.

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Farm flowers in the field.

Joel Salatin speaks at Persephone Farm

Hope everyone got a glimpse of the awesome super blood moon eclipse on Sunday! On that auspicious day, Sept. 27, the Kitsap Community and Agricultural Alliance brought farmer, food system revolutionary and agri-provocateur Joel Salatin to Kitsap to participate in a series of events, including a brunch discussion and the annual KCAA Harvest Dinner, all open to the public.

As part of its outreach mission, KCAA also invited Salatin to our very own Persephone Farm to speak to a group of young and/or beginning farmers and farm interns about issues specifically important to them. Salatin is an engaging speaker and a well-informed and experienced farmer, and had many wise words for the young/ish farmers in the crowd. Among the crowd pleasers: “what makes something a farm?” to be answered, after many guesses from the audience, with the obvious “a farmer!”

Salatin also discussed approaches to overcoming one of the biggest hurdles to starting a farm: the cost of land. His advice included the “three Ms”—make your farm Mobile (to pick up and move if it becomes necessary, just as Persephone once had to do); Modular — build small and add on as you grow; and Management-intensive — that is, rely on human labor over short cuts that are often expensive, petroleum-dependent, and degrading to the environment. Why use a leaf-blower when you can rake? Why use herbicide when you can weed? These are some of the principles Persephone Farm has followed for years. It was a fun and inspiring morning.

— Apprentice Rachel (excerpted from our weekly CSA subscriber email)

Persephone Farm Corn

CORN in everyone’s CSA boxes this week—the variety is known as “bodacious”! Some of you may wonder, why does locally grown corn cost more? You’ve probably seen it—this time of year the market is flooded with cheap corn. Much of it comes from large, far-away farms, raised on cheap land with subsidized water and transportation costs. The production of this corn relies on heavy inputs of artificial nitrogen fertilizer, much of which ends up in streams and rivers. In some cases, these large farms contaminate aquifers with nitrate pollution. Large tractors cause erosion and compaction to produce those 10/$1 ears in the supermarket. There is a loss of biodiversity and wildlife habitat associated with hundred- and thousand-acre commercial corn production. We are just beginning to understand the real cost of industrialized corn.

Of all the crops we grow, corn is by far the heaviest nutrient feeder, really taking a toll on our fragile soil. It requires many loads of compost before and after planting. The sheer square footage required to grow sweet corn, which only produces two ears per plant (with only one of them full-sized and marketable) takes up a sizable portion of our limited irrigation water.

All this said, we love fresh corn as much as you do! We even love to grow it. Walking through the leafy rows, squeezing each ear for fullness, is one of the pleasures of farming. The miracle of pollination is nowhere more evident than in each individual corn silk attached to a single kernel, which, in order to swell and sweeten, must be touched by pollen grains falling from the pointed tassels above. Incredible! And the taste of a just-picked mouthful of golden sweet corn… we all know that joy. CORN. It’s what’s for dinner.

— Apprentice Rachel (excerpted from our weekly CSA subscriber email)

Photo: Leslie Newman

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