Farm Blog

Thank you again for braving the blizzard to celebrate, connect with great food, and 'planting an orchard'! Just imagine all those future cherry trees (don't forget to squat:-).
I am so uplifted from all the good vibes, intentions, laughter and seeds shared and planted.

We were able to raise $850.00 in funds! This will go a long way, thank you! Additionally, with all the seeds donated today and from what I've gleaned from others, The women growers in the Sine-Saloum region will be able to plant out a couple hundred row feet/farm. In the past we've planted shared 'demonstration beds' ie since many of the farmers share space/land to grow on we've constructed seeds beds to trial different varieties, plant insectory herbs and flowers and share techniques. From there seeds are harvested and shared forward amongst the individual farmers. So in essence your generosity helped plant teaching/learning/eating/

sharing beds of veggie, herb, and flower goodness!

I will honor my commitment and extend the immense gratitude, generosity that was shared during the workshop with the women farmers in the following ways:

Work with NCBA CLUSA Farmer to Farmer Program to transfer funds and mail seeds.
I'll also email and share highlights, photos forward later this week in celebration of our workshop success.

I am tentatively set to travel there Nov/Dec. or January in 2016.

I also finally remembered the name of third grower group, JUBO (means widespread). If you're interested in learning more about how they got started, here's a link to an interview I did as part of my last Farmer to Farmer adventure in Senegal.

I Will keep you in the loop as the project evolves and thanks again for sharing your generous spirit!

For the chocolate lovers:
Becky Otte, who made the amazing truffles, has more of her chocolate goodness to share and is selling some of her creations just in time for Valentines. if you're interested send her an email:

Also Here is a link to Roots Chocolate website.

For the Fruit Lovers:

I've enclosed a handout of some of the different fruits we grow at our farm as well as a flyer highlighting this season's events at the farm! We'd love to have you venture out and tour the orchard, come visit us (though not nearly as cool as the orchard poses we did during the workshop).

Thank you again for helping me transition from being a butterfly weed seed (ie wind pollinated, not knowing where or how my intentions, projects might stick) to more of an oak or cashew seeds - wherein I can deepen my awareness, provide support in the same place(s) in Senegal for the growers and in my backyard in Wisconsin:-). Here's to planting the seeds of the as yet to be imagined on and off the yoga mat! Wishing you all much abundance.

Happy Mid-winter!

Yours in hardy kiwi,

PS If you are into exploring the planting side as well as enjoying more local fruit creations, we'll be hosting a Local Fruit Tasting May 16, details on our website.


Of Tides, Foxtail Lilies, and Vase Life Tips

I woke up from the mystery of the night thinking of flowers and the resurrection of the morning, of tides and foxtail lilies.

Rainwater dreams, muffled by the excitement of distant thunder (maybe Tuesday into Wednesday we will see rain?). This past week was tidal. Washed ashore from Ghana and teaching—beached at the foothills of my flower beds—I traded sand for silt loam between my toes, ripening mangoes for a hearty saskatoon set, and bright pink red hibiscus petals for equally showy peonies. No time to linger, the blossom tides are peaking.

Start of the flower csa harvest. Photo by Erin Schneider

Start of the flower csa harvest. Photo by Erin Schneider

On my morning walk through the farm fields, I am ruffled to wakening, by Wild mustard, that rough blaze in the field borders. I paused, honing in on curling leaves on currants—leaf hoppers? Leaf rollers? Insect friend of foe, you are here to soon! Sigh I contemplated the cool wet month of May, in stark contrast to the start of June. Hot, dry, windswept, only the colors of our woodlots revealed the start of summer not the haze and laze of the end. What a week! The result has been a most challenging start to the season. Planting, weeding, watering, harvesting, mulching, bouquet making, mowing in between. Usually there is a bit of grace period post planting. Never before in early June have I had to do such a myriad of tasks simultaneously.

For me, I am learning much about sequencing and tuning into the rhythms of June. This is a 'transition month' on our farm, wherein early spring perennials come and go and annuals have yet to to take off and bloom.

As farmers, sometimes we have to run hard, digging into the reserves that give meaning to our lives. Planning as we are able and giving way to Climate Change, trusting Mother Nature, and returning, blossoming into gratitude for the people and peonies that give me grounding. Will there be enough in your bouquets? Have I considered right action enough? Have I come to any conclusion? Have I experienced happiness with sufficient gratitude? I probably think too much. Then I step into the garden. In between these transition weeks as June peaks, a few floral opportunists have carved their niche as June turns. Most notably delphiniums, baptisia, ryes, wigella, yarrow, and a few lingering allium bulbs proclaim, 'pick me!' This theme of trust, gratitude, transitions and beginnings, played into your bouquets.

got peonies

Peonies, remnants of garden's past, cooler days of May and spring beginnings. Baptisia, blue and cream colored, nothing false about the indigo glow gesturing fluidly –the bridge-building bloom between perennial and annual. Wigella, a prolific flowering pink shrub. Annual rye grass—a common winter cover crop on our vegetable beds—towering blue green spikes refused to be tilled under, or make way for melons. Delphinium, what a surprise, it overwintered, and I was grateful for it's purple blue florets stacked on a raceme, a buffet for your bouquets. I know what a spikey, bulbous, marshmallowy, gesticulating bouquet of May meets June chaos.

Foxtail lily blossom spires. Photo by Erin Schneider

Foxtail lily blossom spires. Photo by Erin Schneider

I wrap up my morning rounds in surprise—sometimes there are no rules to botany's claims. Tucked in the fence-row's corner, north by northwest, foxtail lily's raceme runs aflame – luring the hummingbirds and swallowtails and paving the way for lily's, a likely focal flower to grace your next CSA bouquet deliveries.

Somewhere the tide goes out.

And at the risk of stacking too many functions in this blog posting, a shout out of gratitude to our Flower CSA members, for doing your part and making for a fluid first CSA delivery! By now you all have all tucked in your bouquets in your favorite vessel and gave your flowers a fresh drink for breakfast (i.e. you changed out the water:-). I had a chance to meet a few of you during pick-up and look forward to connecting with you all in person as the season unfolds. In these conversations, I also picked up a few additional tips for Extending your Vase Life and wanted to pass them along:

  • When you get home with your bouquets, take the rubber band off, give your flowers some breathing room and room to roam.

  • Add an aspirin to your water

  • Squeeze a bit of lemon in your water or add some lemon lime soda to your water mix.

(in both examples a bit of acidity in the water seems to help with turgor pressure in the flower stems)

  • “It’s a good idea to trim a bit from the stems each day or every other day to help the flowers receive a steady flow of nutrients and water,” from Christine.

  • There’s an old wives tale about putting a penny in the bottom of a vase of tulips to keep them standing up straight. Why not try this out with other flowers too?

First Flower CSA Bouquet delivery of the 2017 season. As the season unfolds, I look forward to experimenting with tips for extending your vase life. Photo by Erin Schneider

First Flower CSA Bouquet delivery of the 2017 season. As the season unfolds, I look forward to experimenting with tips for extending your vase life. Photo by Erin Schneider

I also am open to experimenting with bouquet transport. Was it easeful for you to transport your bouquets as they were rubber banded and ribboned? I started out by using bouquet sleeves (like you find in the grocery store bouquets), but the sleeves crushed the baptisia and I couldn't bear to take away their freedom—hence they were tucked in the buckets. If it's easier to distinguish/grab bouquets from the buckets, if flowers were in a sleeve (whether plastic, burlap or newspaper), let me know and I am happy to try it out for your next delivery.

Please let me know if you have any questions, tips, feedback to share—I am always happy to talk flowers!