News and blog
It's that time again! Time to sign up for the 2013 season from East Henderson Farm. We are making a few changes to our farm this year, like adding a U-pick garden for members and an early season share option. Our on-farm pickup this year will be farmers market style, where you will pack your own share from bins and baskets of produce in our pack shed based on a list on our share board. We will pre-pack shares and deliver to drops sites in Minneapolis, Belle Plaine, and St. Peter.
Click here to begin your renewal process. Or just copy and paste the link below into your browser:
We look forward to having you this season.
Your friends at,
East Henderson Farm
Dear CSA members and Farm customers –
First of all, happy holidays, and we want to thank you so much for joining our farm this past year! It’s been a while since we’ve communicated with you, mostly because we’ve been so busy with our newborn baby. We had a baby boy on December 5th, and named him Sam. The last part of the CSA season and late fall was a time for preparing our house and getting ready. Now we’re adjusting to having a newborn in the house along with our two older (and VERY active) boys Henry and Miles.
We are making some changes to our farm for 2013 we wanted to let you know about. We have thought long and hard about how to design our CSA for the next couple of years in a way that best accommodates our new family member. We have chosen to “slow down” a bit for the next few years.
2013 will be our 5th year of growing vegetables at a commercial scale. We have spent the last four years growing our business, investing in equipment and facilities, and learning how to grow a diversity of crops in our challenging Minnesota climate. We are settled into farming as a life-long career and are excited to continue to grow a unique, diverse, and sustainable farm business that meets the needs of our community.
We feel very strongly that the CSA movement has grown to the point where there are an abundance of farms serving the Twin Cities area, and rural communities are being underserved. We had to turn away members in our hometown last year because we sold out too quickly and we didn’t feel good about that. To fulfill our core value of providing local foods to as many people as possible around our farm, we have decided to become a “local CSA" next year. This means the core of our customers are people within 30 miles of our farm who pick up at the farm or in surrounding communities, or those who live farther away but want a weekly on-farm experience to enjoy the countryside and know where their food is grown. To our members in the Twin cities - we will not be delivering the CSA shares ourselves next year, but please read on because we do have some ideas about delivery...
So what does this mean for next year???
First, we have decided to offer a greater diversity of crops and varieties than we did in 2012. We would like to improve our cooking and salad greens production so there is a consistent supply of those all season long. We would like to grow way more root crops next year, like beets and carrots, and add rutabagas and parsnips. We want to increase our winter squash varieties, and add sweet corn and jack-o-lanterns to our crop mix. We have already planted 7 varieties of garlic for next year, hoping to prevent the disease that wiped out our 2012 garlic crop. Also, we have signed a contract to rent a strawberry patch at a neighbor’s house!! This will allow us to add strawberries to the CSA next year while we establish our own crop here.
Second, we have had a goal for a few years of establishing orchards on our farm so we can offer fruits like raspberries, grapes, plums, apples, currants, cherries and pears in the future. These will take 5-6 years to establish, but we are going to start planting in 2013. We are still dabbling in beekeeping, and we would like to start growing some edible mushrooms like shiitakes and oysters (we have the perfect farm for mushrooms). We will continue to partner with other farms for fruit in the time being, primarily the apple orchard at the Minnesota New Country School. We are planning on raising some meat chickens again, and we will be trying hogs for the first time next year! And we hope to put our team of oxen, Buddy and Gozer, to work as soon as winter begins to fade.
We have sold egg shares the past few years as a CSA add-on. We love raising chickens for eggs, but have found it difficult to maintain production year-round, especially with the heat waves and drought we’ve had the past two summers. The hens stopped laying eggs in those conditions around late summer and we have been unable to fulfill egg shares all season. So, we have reduced our laying flock to 25 hens (from 175) and will not be offering egg shares next year. Eggs will still be available for purchase on the farm, and may show up in CSA boxes if we have a surplus, but we won’t be selling a guaranteed amount with the CSA.
We want to describe how our CSA will look next year. We will be offering on-farm pickup as our primary pickup option. We will be offering a farmer’s market style CSA, where you will come and pick your produce from bins and baskets inside our pack shed, rather than pulling a box from the cooler. We started out like this our first two years but had gotten away from it as we increased our business towards a more delivery-based system. We love having people come out to the farm and we want to make it a more enjoyable and inviting place to be. The farmer’s market style pickup will achieve that, and we will be around to answer questions, chat, and talk about recipes rather than being busy in the fields when you pick up. We will also be growing a U-pick field of veggies, herbs, and flowers for members. We have tried this a little bit in the past, but we are going to make this a high priority and a core part of our CSA from now on. We believe this will make your CSA pick up a valuable part of your week and will define our farm as the place to be for local organic eaters!
We understand not everyone can make it to the farm, so we will still offer pickup in St. Peter and Belle Plaine. We are lucky to have found pickup hosts in each of those communities who offer help and advice when you pick up your produce. We are open to new pickup locations too, particularly in Le Sueur and New Prague. Please let us know if you want to host next year.
We have fantastic and loyal members in the Metro area and would like to continue to serve you. But we are not going to be delivering to the Twin Cities next year due to our new family situation. However, we want to discuss with interested folks a member-initiated delivery system. One scenario is where metro area members pick up boxes at the farm and deliver to pick up sites so the farmer can focus on growing the food. The members share the responsibility so each member may only have to drive to the farm once or twice a season. We would love to see that happen so we can continue to serve the twin cities as we have in the past.
We will be sending out another e-mail very soon that will be an invitation to join for 2013 and will include a link to our signup page. We hope you will join us again – it’s a new direction for us, and we are excited to offer a more locally focused, diverse, and high quality CSA.
Happy New Year!
Josh, Sally, and the boys
East Henderson Farm
We have been nearly as busy this winter as we were during the summer growing season, most of all because of this little guy:
Meet Samuel Howard Reinitz, our little guy born on December 5th. We now have three boys which makes for a very exciting and wild house sometimes.
Sally has been staying home with baby Sam, while Josh has been working for a contractor full-time, working mostly on farms building new buildings and repairing old ones. But he has found time to start a project at home, enclosing our front porch so we have a heated space to put our boots, coats, shoes, and firewood. A "mud room" is a necessary addition to our house. Here's Josh with one of the walls:
We heat our house with wood, so a big job now is gathering firewood and splitting it for our woodstove. We are fortunate to have 25 acres of wooded ravines, which provide a supply of firewood much greater than we can use in a given year. We only cut trees that are dead or dying of disease, or those that have fallen down in windstorms. It is a very sustainalbe way for us to use a resource on our farm.
But most of all, we are enjoying a very beautiful time of year. Yes it's cold, but that doesn't stop us from getting outside as often as we can. We love nature and the outdoors all months of the year, and on most days all we need is proper clothing and it is comfortable to be out and about. We'll leave you with a few scenic shots of the farm as we close out 2012
This is the final week of our CSA season. Thank you all so much for joining and supporting our farm!
Please return your boxes to your drop site within 1 week so we can get them back for re-use next year. Also, we are looking forward to another CSA season next year so please let us know if you want to join - we keep a list for next year and you'll get first dibs when sign-up begins in late winter. As we begin planning our crops for next year we would like some input and if you want to participate we'd love to year what we can grow for you.
Once again, thank you and have a great fall and winter!
Josh & Sally
Here's the newsletter for this week:
Remember that week 18 will be our last for the season, so please return your boxes to the drop sites next week when you pick up. If you have an every other week share, this may be your last week and we thank you! If you want to confirm when your last pickup is, please contact me
Hi Folks -
it's another good week for veggies, and we have some new and interesting crops like Turnips and Green Tomatoes. Please look to our website for some recipes, and you can always do an online search for recipes - green tomatoes are suprisingly sweet and we like to fry them.
I wrote about this in the newsletter, but wanted to make sure you know to cut out any green skins on the potatoes. we have so many nice potatoes that have one little green spot (dime-sized) that we'd rather give them out than compost them. We woulnd't normally see this, but the drought has left our soil cracked in many places and sunlight was able to reach little bits of some potatoes and make that spot green. You may have heard about green spots of potatoes being toxic, but the solenine is found in the green spot only and you would have to eat A LOT of them to feel sick. So, cut out the green and enjoy! We've been making lots of tasty mashed potatoes for the kids from the seconds.
Hi - we've had a busy weekend dealing with our first hard frost of the year, but at least my seasonal allergies are no more! Fall sure has crept up on us this year, and the fall colors probably won't be as spectacular this year due to the dismally dry conditions in the soil. Thank goodness for our irrigation system!
here's the newsletter for this week:
Here's this week's newsletter -
If you have an egg share, we have a shortge of eggs right now so you may only get a half dozen eggs this week. We're hoping the cooler weather helps the hens lay, but the hot weather sure has been tough on them. we would like to make up the missing eggs - perhaps we could give out chickens or some extra produce? please contact us for this.
Have a nice week!
Here's the newsletter for this week!
The boxes will be very heavy again this week, so please be careful with the boxes and hold them from the bottom. If you pick up at the corporate drop site, bring some extra bags to carry everything.