Red Planet is moving

After seven trips around the sun at Mathewson Farm, Red Planet is changing its orbit.
The owners of the property let us know back in April that they will not be able to renew our lease. This came as a shock; up until about 2 weeks previous we were talking with the family about 5 more years! It has taken some time to sort through our confusion, but we realize that the most useful way to think about their decision is that it is clearing a path towards someplace better.
We plan to finish up our 2014 harvest season and then get into a long winter of pulling up stakes.

You could definitely call this bad news, but it’s mainly just bad timing. We had already been feeling insecure about that rocky little piece of Johnston Earth, because we have never had an ownership stake or a long term lease on which to build our growing business. The abrupt notice just got us to put our foot on the clutch pedal. Since then we’ve been running the search for a more stable and productive farm opportunity in high gear.
This season, us Martians have spent a lot of time looking at and talking about lots of different farm possibilities.
We are looking to purchase a farm or obtain a good long term lease on farm property in Rhode Island. We’d prefer to stay in the Providence area, but hate to rule anything out. We are totally open to cooperative projects or community farm models, but we are also fine with the same old mom and pop style we’ve worked with so far. We’re open to working with land trusts to acquire property or to lease land they may already own. We’re looking into easements or leases on state property. In other words, we are willing to be creative and flexible in achieving our goal of fair and stable land tenure. The key for us is making sure we have more of a stake in the project than we have had so far.

As we choose our path, we’ve determined that the key for us is not to make a move based on mere survival. We feel lucky that we’ve had the opportunity to earn a living from growing food for the past decade because it’s a fulfilling and fascinating line of work. We also feel lucky to have met all you great people as we built the business: at markets, in restaurant kitchens, through the CSA or just out in the tomato patch. But we haven’t been so lucky in finding a stable location on which to really prosper and achieve our dreams. We dream of having the freedom to expand our acreage and open a farmstand. We dream of heated buildings and a farm kitchen and a bathroom! We dream of a heated propagation house for seedlings and a garage for equipment. We dream of hiking trails and berry patches for our customers. We think we have the skills and assets to build a really great farm, so we want to make sure the next move is a real step up in every way.

No decisions on anything yet, but we are approaching the make or break point, so we thought it was time to let you all know about our situation for three reasons:

1. We have worked with, laughed with, and learned with so many great people in our 10 years of farming, we thought some of you might have some ideas about what we should do next or how to do it. We’d love to hear from any or all of you on property we don’t know about, cool new ideas, potential collaborations, and maybe to just share old memories from past farm seasons.

2. Because we hadn’t yet planned on it, the relocation of Red Planet Farm is going to be a very expensive and demanding project. Once we decide on where we are going, we are going to need help organizing fundraisers to try to cover the many extra costs of getting our new farm up and running without a major interruption in our normal planting season.

3. Some folks like to go to the Y for a workout. Others get exercise by helping farmers take apart and move their stuff (it’s sort of like Pilates) We want to be there for you non-Y members. We will organize some work days for dismantling the big stuff, but anytime you want to come out and let a hand just get in touch!

We look forward to the next phase of Red Planet.

This entry was posted on October 18, 2014. 2 Comments

Ok! Rain!

I haven’t been out to the farm yet this morning but Matt let me know that some of the streets are flooded and that the rain will continue all day.
It’s late notice for changing anything, so we will have a pick up in the back of the barn, unless things get really scary. But don’t feel like you need to come out and put yourself in danger!

If you don’t want to come out, send me a message. I will bag up shares that you can pick up at the farm tomorrow.

Next week marks the mid-point of the CSA and pick ups will be normal except for one thing: I won’t be there! Matt and I are going up to Maine to hang out with my family and the mountains and the trees. We will come back refreshed. Adam Ferbert will be running the pick up on tuesday in Providence. Anders Newkirk will be at the farm on wednesday. Don’t forget to check your name off on the sheet! That way I will know for sure if you got your share.

This entry was posted on August 13, 2014.

CSA Starts This Week!

If you are a member, I hope you already got an email from me with the details!  

Pick up days and times are the same as last year:

Tuesday 5:30 to 7:00 at 75 Marshall St. in Providence or

Wednesday 4:00 to 5:30 at 544 Greenville Ave. in Johnston

Providence pick ups are at our house.  Johnston pick ups are at the farm, out in back of the barn. The driveway on Greenville Ave. takes you to the parking lot next to the cemetery. Please respect the privacy of the family who owns the property, and stay on the farm side, away from the house and their yard.  We use the back of the barn only, and the land to the right of the driveway as you come in.

Someone (most likely me) will be at the pick up to answer any questions.

We will have lettuce mix, radishes (and some other roots) a variety of herbs and cooking greens.  Some things will be in bunches, other things will be loose in bins and you will weigh out your share.  Bags will be provided but we encourage you to bring your own and reuse them.  Full shares and small shares will be written on the chalkboard.  And please remember to check off your name on the check in sheet!  

I can’t wait to see you all! 

This entry was posted on June 9, 2014.

Tomorrow is March 19, don’t forget!

It’s the first pick up of the Early Spring  Mini CSA, and the eve of Spring.  Pick ups are from 4 to 7 at 75 Marshall Street.

I had a mess o’ greens to pick today Image 

and this guy didn’t care to help at allImage

 

 

This entry was posted on March 18, 2014.

Early Spring Mini CSA Starts NEXT week!

March 19th, that’s a wednesday, from 4 to 7.  Of course, if the time frame is tough get in touch with me and we’ll make arrangements.

And PLEASE don’t let it go down into the single digits this week.  We really need that snow to melt!

First pick up will be small, but they’ll get bigger, I promise.  We will have salad greens and arugula and something else (we’ll see) and EGGS.  

Normally, pick ups will be in the front hall at 75 Marshall St.  I encourage you to bring your own bags and to recycle your egg cartons with me.  Most often you will weigh out your share yourself, from the directions on the chalkboard; but if I have time I will do it for you.  There will be a check in sheet, so remember to check your name off.  If the weather is nice I will set up the table in the driveway.  

Looking forward to seeing you all!

This entry was posted on March 11, 2014.

Will spring ever come?

Image

 

I took this photo yesterday.  And it’s snowing again!  Most likely, the Early Spring CSA will be starting a little bit later than last year.  I will post the exact start date next week.  

If you need fresh eggs, stop by our house on Monday afternoons.  There will be a cooler by our side door.  $5 per dozen.  Or just send me a message any day and we can make arrangements.

And if you’d like to join our main season CSA I’d love to hear from you as soon as possible!  

The big new thing we’re trying this year is sweet potatoes.  We’ve never grown them before, and honestly I never really cared for eating them, but then I saw these:

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All purple sweet potatoes!!! They need a long hot summer as much as I do!  Don’t we deserve it after this incredible winter?  And don’t worry, we are going to grow some regular orangey sweet potatoes too.

This entry was posted on February 27, 2014. 1 Comment

One more week, Earlybirds!

This frigid month is coming to a close, and the days are getting longer.

If you want to take 10% off the cost of your Early Spring Mini CSA, get in touch with me now!

We are also offering a credit for 10 dozen eggs to folks who purchase their main season share before the end of the January!  Egg credit can be used at your own pace. Just sign up and mail in the contract that you’ll find here: csa pamphlet 2014.

If you need more information, contact me:

 

This entry was posted on January 27, 2014. 1 Comment