Notes from the Field
Thank you all once again for a fantastic season. Just like that, we turn around and summer is over. The temperatures have dropped, the rain has set in (over 6 inches already!), the landscape is greening up and the kale is growing like gangbusters. We have been scurrying around moving our storage crops out of the rain into sheds and coolers, discing our ground and sowing our winter cover crops. The urgency and excitement we feel as we prepare for winter in big pushes, watching the weather and timing our actions accordingly, brings an awareness that ties us to generations of farmers.
Thanks to our 3 new second year apprentices, our assistant managers, and the work of our student intern crew we have been able to pull the harvest out of the fields in a timely manner despite the wind and rain. We miss the first year apprentices but it is fun to now rely on the UCSC students to help bring in our weekly harvests. We will continue to do so as we sell roots, greens, and winter squash to the campus dining halls through the winter.
As for me, I am breathing a sigh of relief as my first season managing the fields comes to a close. The first season farming on a new piece of land is akin to navigating a new route up a high mountain peak or starting a business. The learning curve was steep as I studied the nuances of our crops and varieties in each particular field through the seasonal changes, various pest and pathogen pressures and weed seed flushes. I am eager to integrate all the lessons, to use what I’ve learned to plan for next season and to instruct the next crop of apprentices and students. I am again realizing the joy of slowly building a relationship with a landscape. This subtle feeling is part of what draws me to farming, keeping me interested, engaged and fulfilled. I feel very lucky to now have the UCSC Farm as my landscape.
Of course it goes without saying that you, our loyal CSA customers, are central to the design and rhythm of our season, and we hope that you have enjoyed your share. You are not only supporting your local food system but also the training of future farmers, gardeners and food activists. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for that support. Please consider joining us again next season, and make your voices heard in our survey if you haven’t already. It is enormously helpful to get your feedback!
See you in 2017, and bring on the rain!
– Kirstin Yogg Comerchero
Field Production Site Manager