Harvest Potluck: Best Wishes to Roni & Sam

I started working at Crown Point last year as the Assistant Farm Manager and served for the last year as the Farm Manager.  Since the transition, I have received so much support from CSA members, staff, and volunteers – reminding me that this is a community to cherish.

Over the course of two seasons, I have learned many lessons, including my favorite: “Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”

At this time, I have decided to continue my journey elsewhere next year.  Although a difficult decision, at age 25 I feel an itching desire to explore new land. While I begin my new job search in the conservation agriculture field, I am starting to reflect on what Crown Point has given to me over the past two seasons (aside from an endless supply of tomatoes, hot peppers, and garlic).

I have worked with numerous mentors, staff, and volunteers who have shared their years of knowledge and outlook on life with me.  I have developed patience, time-management, and a thicker skin.

Roni Pasi, Farm Manager

For you, I hope that a new farmer will bring new ideas and a fresh start to become more involved with our farming community.  In our search for a new farmer, we have seen some outstanding candidates who are well poised to lead a successful farming season next year.  I will make sure we have a smooth transition, working here until December.

The importance of local food for our economy, our environment, and our health is more important than ever.  Your support is invaluable in making Crown Point what it is.

Below is an invitation to our potluck dinner on October 24, 2017.  We will celebrate this year’s season by enjoying our harvest, thanking our volunteers, and saying our goodbyes.

Take care,

Please join us for a Harvest Pot Luck and
Farewell to farm manager Roni Pasi and intern farmer Sam Phillips
in our big, red Century Barn

Tuesday, October 24, 2017 – 5:30 p.m.

Bring a covered dish to share, your table service
and good wishes for Roni and Sam as they prepare to leave Crown Point and
embark on new adventures.

Cake, cider and coffee will be provided, but feel free to bring
your own favorite beverage as well.

Reservations are needed.
RSVP to Lori or Ellen at 330-668-8992 orellen@crownpt.org

From the Farmer: Swales, Contours & Berries

Lately I have been thinking more and more about how my everyday choices will affect the livelihoods of future generations.  Will my great grandchildren be able to enjoy the beautiful Earth as I do today?  Or will climate change have altered our planet to one I would not recognize?

It is a scary thought, but also an empowering one. As individuals, we can support local farmers, eat animal products less often (and when we do, seek out pasture-raised cattle and organically raised poultry).  As farmers, we can make choices to help store carbon from the atmosphere in “carbon sinks” often through practices such as cover cropping, perennial plantings and no-till farming.

Recently Crown Point farm crew completed a swale and berm project aimed at reducing run-off and improving soil quality for our new gooseberry and currant plantings.  Swales are low depressions in the ground designed to encourage the accumulation of rain during storms and then slowly infiltrate into the soil Berms are raised beds that prevent water logging of plantings and can be used to direct water to swales. The process started with finding our contour lines using a simple A-frame structure.

Sam with our A-frame helping us measure our contour lines

This device allowed us to find the equal level of elevation across our field. After flagging this area we started digging trenches approximately 8 inches deep and 18 inches wide.  Keeping an equal depth of the swales is important to ensure an equal flow of water along the contour.

Next, we created the berm by piling compost on the downhill side of the swales and layering this with our removed soil.  We shaped the beds and prepared for planting our berries.  After planting the berries in a mixture of peat moss, compost, and soil, we covered with burlap and wood chips for weed control. Finally we filled our swales with wood chips to help with water retention.

Soon we will add the final touches by planting a cover crop between our six rows of swales and berms and planting a series of trees behind swales and berms to benefit from the excess water retention and help with infiltration.

Completed swales after last week’s storm.

Although we won’t receive a bountiful harvest from our berries this year, we have invested in our farm, and taken the first step to ensure our soil is improved.  This field will no longer be tilled.  We have aided in carbon sequestration and soil remediation through reduced water runoff.

As farmers we have the choice to care for our land so that future generations may enjoy the sweet fruit we have the privilege of planting. When you stop by for the Organic Plant Sale or to pick up your first CSA share you can check out our sustainable agriculture in person.

Hope to see you soon, Roni