Cerro Vista Farm News, 4/11/20

Farm Shares are SOLD OUT for all locations for 2020. Sorry!

Just a few weeks ago, life was good and my intuition told me that this year would be the best farm year ever. Repairing equipment. cleaning ditches, buying supplies, and caring for veggie seedlings was keeping this Farmer calm and carefree.

But the coronavirus pandemic has caused changes to my 2020 farm plans in ways I couldn’t have imagined.

Farm Shares have been selling faster than ever before (As of 4/26, Farm Shares are SOLD OUT for all locations for 2020. Sorry!), and at the same time the Taos Farmers Market has become homeless. This week in Cerro we are clearing sagebrush and fencing more irrigated farmland here in order to meet the increasing demand for locally-grown food. The carefully-crafted Farm plan that I created this winter is being changed as I anticipate selling a record number of Farm Shares, but selling less product to restaurants and at the Farmers Markets.

I feel even more strongly now that this year will be the best farm year ever. Farm Interns are arriving to live and work at the farm in just a few days. Many of my neighbors will be coming to work at the Farm soon in trade for the veggies and flowers that we grow here. Farm Shares are selling quickly, and will probably “sell out” in the next week or two. I’m sure these are exciting times for small farms everywhere.

–Farmer Daniel

Food Safety Rules and Virus, Farm Shares and Marketing

During the past three years farms of all sizes across the country have implemented Food Safety protocols as required by the UDSA’s Food Safety Modernization Act.

It turns out that the primary food rules are identical to some primary virus rules we have been hearing about: Wash your hands frequently, sanitize all surfaces, and don’t go to work if you are sick. Food safety training is an important part of the work that we do at the Farm in April, and again in July each year.

Fortunately, coronavirus transmission is not spread through food or water, and cooking foods kills viral or bacterial contami-nants. We are confident, after 40 years of selling fresh produce in Taos, that our high-energy products are safe to eat, raw or cooked. For the past 18 years, about half of Cerro Vista’s fresh produce has been selling as CSA Farm Shares, and about half has been selling at Farmers Markets.

With coronavirus radically affecting our lives suddenly, Farm Share sales have sharply increased during March and early April. Many types of essen-tial businesses have altered their marketing to accommodate pre-paid phone-in or web orders with pre-packaged deliveries. Since this is exactly how CSA Farm Share market-ing works, Cerro Vista is in a good position to continue providing best-quality fresh produce to our local customers.

Cerro Vista Farm Calendar

  • April 20th—Five Farm Interns begin work, growing seedlings, planting in High Tunnels, plowing the fields and creating and fertilizing 450 raised beds
  • May 16th—Taos Farmers Market ..Cerro Vista Seedlings and Produce For Sale
  • Location of the Taos Farmers Market To Be Announced
  • May 20th—Seedlings are for sale at the Farm, Wednesdays,3-6 pm, 5/20 –6/17
  • June 22nd—Summer Share Distributions begin at all 6 Pickup Locations
  • June 22nd – Work Trade season begins…sign up for work trade positions by May 1st
  • October 17th …Last day of Farm Share Distribution

Cerro Vista Produce Available at Many Locations near Taos

As of April 11th, the Taos Farmers Market is still looking for a new location for a Saturday morning market since the Town of Taos has declared that it cannot be held in Taos Plaza. Cerro Vista Farm will have a truck in Taos on Saturday mornings to distribute Farm Shares even if there is no Farmers Market in Taos.

Questa Farmers Market will be operating on Sunday mornings in Questa beginning May 24th. Cerro Vista Farm will have vegetable seedlings and produce for sale there; it is only a 30-minute scenic drive to get there from Taos Plaza.

The Cerro Vista Farmers Market will be held on Wednesday afternoons from 3 pm to 6pm. Beginning May 20th, we will have vegetable seedlings including Basil, Tomatoes, Peppers, Zucchini, Cucumbers, Flowers, and other vegetable seedlings for sale; Fresh Produce will be for sale on Wednesday after-noons at the Farm from June 24th through September 30th.

Two local businesses that distribute Cerro Vista Farm Shares also sell our produce. Sol Food Market in Arroyo Seco stocks our Lettuce Mix, Spinach, Cucumbers, Carrots, and Cherry Tomatoes in their produce section and Midtown Market in Arroyo Hondo has our Lettuce Mix and bagged Carrots in their cooler just below the Margarita Mix.

As of 4/26, Farm Shares are SOLD OUT for all locations for 2020. Sorry!

Work-Trade Spots Open

Cerro Vista Farm employs 5 Work-Trade people each day, Monday through Friday. during the harvest season. Work-Traders work one day per week from 7:00 am to 11:00 and leave the farm each week with a Full Share of vegetables that they just har-vested. Work-Traders must commit to work the entire 17-week harvest season. Positions are open now…call 575-770-1426 if you are interested in Working-For-Food.

Gailon is a Broccoli-Kale cross that grows better than regular Broccoli during the cold nights we have in the spring. Gallon aficianados will tell you that the flower stalks taste like Asparagus, the florets taste like Broccoli, and the leaves taste like sweet Kale.

Desiree Potatoes have shiny pink skin when first harvested. This year we are growing 8 varieties of Potatoes on half an acre. When we pack up the Fall Share boxes in October we will need about 1,600 lbs. Total marketable Potato harvest this year is expected to be about 10,000 lbs.

Kale became fashionable in 2011 but sales peaked in 2015 and now Brussels Sprouts are the latest in vegetable fashion. Some people think Kale is tough and bitter. The Kale that we put into Farm Shares in Cerro is more on the sweet and tender side. We have tried growing Brussels Sprouts here during the last few years but without success.

Italian Large Leaf Basil growing in a high tunnel on August 10th. This basil has had all the flowers clipped off of it twice a week for 4 weeks to get it to grow to this height. That is a huge amount of work. In 2020 we are growing a new variety called Everleaf which does not produce flowers that need to be clipped off. But how does it taste ? We will find when Sweet Basil goes into Farm Shares in July.

“The Bear” is a rock formation visible on the mountainside east of Cerro Vista Farm. Some visitors to the farm cannot see The Bear, but once you see it, you can never un-see it.

Primary tillage at the Farm is done with a Chisel Plow followed by a tractor mounted Rototiller. We then create raised beds which are individually fertilized to match the crops being planted on them. Lettuce, Radishes, Turnips, Carrots, Asian Greens, and Squash require much less fertilizer than the heavy-feeding Onions, Potatoes, Tomatoes, Broccoli, and Sweet Corn. Two of our main fertilizers are Alfalfa Compost and New Mexico Humates.