As you may have noticed, the Maitri Farm crew skews younger than the average American farmer. Most of us are first generation farmers (we don't come from farming families). And we're part of a bigger trend of young people choosing farming careers. In rural places it can be hard to tell, but there are whole bunch of us.
The National Young Farmers Coalition put out a report on what the biggest needs of young farmers are and it is worth checking out. They surveyed 3,517 young farmers all over the country in Building A Future With Farmers II. A lot of the trends in this report, also describe the Maitri crew. If you're curious about what the future of agriculture looks like, this is a great place to start.
We're really lucky that the National Young Farmers is based out of Hudson, NY. The Hudson Valley is definitely a hot spot for young farmers. Our local chapter is the Hudson Valley Young Farmers Coalition. It's heartening to know we're not the only ones.
We're going full steam ahead with our on-farm veggie CSA for 2018. And we're making a few tweaks to make it an even better experience.
First big change is that you pick what you take home market-style. This is similar to our winter CSA now. We want to give you more choice and flexibility.
Because of this new set up, the CSA distribution will be on-farm with a staffer there to help you. We're exciting to see your faces every week.
Also new, drop-ins are encouraged. We let The Wassaic Project artists-in-residence buy shares one week at a time because they aren't around for the whole CSA season and it worked out really well. Now we're opening it up to everyone! Please tell your friends and get on the email list. We'll let you know what is available every week.
We also have Low Cost Shares - snap them up quick! This is 50% off of our regular half share - This is $187.50 for the whole season. This can be paid in full or in installments. (We want to grow this program! Who should we be partnering with?)
Early Bird pricing before March 15th gets you $15 off of either the full or half Veggie CSA Share.
We will be having a CSA fair at the Millerton Library - April 7th 1pm-3pm if you want to talk to us in person. Or you're welcome to call us at 845 789 1522 or email email@example.com.
First, we want to thank our CSA members. It is really special for us to have a direct connection with folks that eat the food we grow! Finishing up year three of the Maitri Farm CSA we feel like we’ve learned few things. Members want more choice and more flexibility.
We know the competition is fierce – it’s easier to choose Amazon - Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s or Blue Apron.
But we know we’re different. We grow your food with love. We have fair labor practices, we minimize your food miles, we’re putting money back into the local community, we’re building our soils, we’re combatting climate change. You can call us up and talk to a real person who grew your food with care.
We want to serve you better.
We’re teaming up with the Good Food Farmers Network. This is a group of 6+ farms in the Hudson Valley that work together to make deliveries into NYC and Westchester (and now Fairfield County Connecticut). Imagine Maitri Farm joining a farmer superhero squad or the cast of Oceans 8.
This is a group of farmers putting together an updated CSA-type program. They have a default bag of food for $45 per week – you have the option to customize, but you don’t have to. This includes veggies, fruits, nuts, eggs and cheese. It’s more food than our standard CSA boxes. It’ll save you a trip to the grocery store.
If you would like meat to be included, it’s $60 per week. This will rotate between beef, pork and chicken. Some of the products are from us and some are from other farmers in the network.
GFFN holds itself to high standards and we’re excited to work with them.
You pay for each delivery, instead of up front like a traditional CSA. And you get to choose what you receive in each delivery. It’s a way for us to give our customers more choices and more flexibility.
We’re doing deliveries this February 27th and March 27th to test the market – hopefully we’ll get to do weekly deliveries in the Spring if enough people sign on. So be sure to tell your friends.
At Maitri Farm, we're lucky to have excellent winter infrastructure. We have a mildly heated greenhouse (we keep it at a balmy 34 degrees), an unheated hoophouse and an unheated mini-hoophouse. Our critters have a fabric covered barn that is unheated, but protects them from the wind and keeps them cozy. But still, this weather has been crazy pants.
Here are our winter survival tips for humans:
Post-thanksgiving usually means LEFTOVERS. Here are some strategies that might make your leftovers more exciting than the meal itself.
Did you know that farmers in Upstate New York can grow vegetables all winter long?! It's pretty amazing. We're going to be telling you all about it in the coming months here are some lingo you might hear us use.
Hoophouse - When we say hoophouse, we mean an unheated structure made of metal pipes and covered in transparent plastic. This traps heat from the sun to help us grow vegetables even when it is freezing cold outside.
Greenhouse - We have a greenhouse that is pretty similar to our hoophouse except that it has a gravel floor instead of a dirt floor and it does have a heater. We use the heater sparingly - the greenhouse is still uninsulated, but it makes a big difference. This is where we start all of our seedlings and grow things like pea shoots and microgreens. We put in some new raised beds for more winter growing space - this is a fun experiment for us.
Winter Greens - Some vegetables are better at growing in the winter than others. These vegetables are winter greens. They include kale, spinach, Swiss chard and the like. As long as there aren't crazy swings in temperature, they can handle freezing a little bit. It even makes them sweeter. The plants produce more sugar when it's cold outside to act as a natural antifreeze.
Storage Crops - These are vegetables that are grown in the summer during the regular growing season, but do well when stored in the proper conditions for many months. Think onions, garlic, winter squash and sweet potatoes. While not technically grown in the winter - they sure are tasty to eat in the winter.
There are still spots available for our winter CSA at the farm it starts the first week in November and pick-ups are on Fridays from 4:30 pm to 7 pm. We hope to see you there.
Cooking pasture-raised meat, eating from whole animals and buying meat from local farms are all a different experience from buying meat in the grocery store.
Our animals are raised with love and care and we want to make sure you're getting the most out of your meat shares!
Here are some resources to help you out!
On the farm we practice rotational grazing. This means we move our animals throughout the property so that they never stay in one place for a long time.
The animals are healthier – moving to fresh grass means they’re not standing in their own manure. Being outside in the fresh air also is better for their respiratory health than being cooped up in a barn like feedlot animals. We had the vet out for a visit and he said our animals looked great!
Rotational grazing also means ruminants, like our sheep, are getting the most calories out of the grass. They eat as much as they can in a small area for two or three days and then move on to the next slice of grass. I move them every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. They get so excited about new grass – check out this video.
Eating the grass from the top makes the grass shed roots below the surface of the soil. The sloughed off roots decay and become organic matter. Manure also adds organic matter to the surface of the soil. The sheep leave the pasture better than they found it. This is the real magic. This is how we sequester carbon. Another farmer made a great slideshow explaining the link between rotational grazing and carbon sequestration – in this case sheep function a lot like little cows. Your lamb chops are fighting climate change!
By Leanna Mulvihill, Livestock Manager
Making our food more accessible is something we’re thinking about on the farm. We’re thinking about figuring out ways to give shares to folks at prices they can afford, distributing them at the right time and place and making sure people feel confident that they can use everything in their share.
Part of food access, for me, has been volunteering at the Food of Life/Comida de Vida Pantry at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Amenia, NY. This is one important piece of taking care of our community. Maitri Farm donates product to the pantry and we are really happy to do so.
There is still a gap. Our food is still too expensive for a lot of people who don’t go to the food pantry.
We understand that a lot of folks in our community struggle with food access and are trying to figure out how to address this. It’s important to us to feed full-time Dutchess County residents, not just weekenders.
We are inspired by what some of our peers are doing – Rock Steady, Poughkeepsie Farm Project, Healthy Food For All and have been dreaming up ways to implement similar programs.
This year we are piloting our Low Cost CSA Share program. This is half off of our every-other-week vegetable and every-other-week egg shares. We're excited to see how it goes!
Do you know of a community group that might be interested in receiving low cost CSA shares? Let’s talk! We are happy to help with fundraising and talk through what might be the most effective way to go about it. We’re looking for groups to partner with.
What are your needs? What’s the most effective way to get food to you? What are your favorite vegetables? What’s your favorite thing to cook?
We want to listen. Please email me firstname.lastname@example.org
Name: Leanna Mulvihill
Hometown: New Paltz, NY
Job Title: Livestock Manager
Describe your job in five words: Keep animals moving. Feed People.
Favorite book: A Long Way From Chicago by Richard Peck – This is an excellent read-aloud book for kids and adults.
Currently listening to: The Hamilton soundtrack!
What you do when you’re not farming: volunteering at the Comida de Vida/Food of Life Food Pantry or hanging out at the Lantern
Favorite joke: What did the fish say when it swam into a concrete wall? DAM!
Favorite Place on the Farm: The next paddock where the critters get a fresh slice of pasture to enjoy.
Thing you can’t get through a day on the farm without: Long pants. You gotta cover up out in the pasture! There’s ticks, prickers and all kinds of things to protect yourself against.
Top Five Goals for 2017