Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A New Home for our CSA

One of the first questions people ask about our CSA is where we'll grow the crops, because it's evident that we don't have enough room in our property on Route 250. Our answer has been that we farm on a lot of rented acreage in Penfield. We were always hoping to have the opportunity to acquire land that would be the long-term home to our CSA.

We're thrilled to announce that we've purchased 100 acres of farmland on Sweets Corners Road in Penfield, walking distance from our farm on Route 250. If you know the area, our purchase includes all of the vineyard north of Sweets Corners Road as well as the vineyard south of Sweets Corners Road and west of Dublin Road. Casa Larga, from whom we purchased the vineyard. has retained ownership of the vineyard south of Sweets Corners and east of Dublin.

Now the big work -- turning vineyard into traditional row crop production -- begins. The first step in the process is removing the wires that support the vines. We have to clip all the vines that have grown around the wire. Here's Bill and Debbie working on the task.

Once they are free, the wires are spun onto a reel that's mounted on our tractor. (That's Don Wickham, Bill's father, on the tractor. Don had a 1500-acre vegetable farm for decades, so he's a great help to us at the farm.)

This coil, next to Abby, our golden retriever, is from one row of vines. It's going to be a long process, but we're excited about having plenty of room to serve our CSA.

As you can see, Abby, our Golden Retriever, is thrilled with having a new place to roam.

Why should our CSA members be as happy as Abby?
- Our purchase of 100 acres of farmland shows our long-term commitment to our CSA. Keeping our members satisfied and returning in the coming years is a priority for making that happen.
- We will leave some rows of grape vines, so that Concord grapes will be part of our CSA offering. Concord grapes are tart, and aren't usually eaten out of hand. They are usually used in jams and jellies, but can also be used in baking (such as pies.) Because not everyone will be interested in Concord grapes, they will be offered as a U-pick bonus.
- We promised volunteer opportunities to our CSA members and the vineyard is the first. We would be grateful for any help we can get clipping the grapevines. It's a great arm workout and a chance to enjoy the nice weather we're having. This task is suitable for adults only. If you are interested in helping out, please contact us at: office@wickhamfarms.com. We'll be working every day while the weather is nice, so just let us know what time is good for you.

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