We need your support!

Matt’s been working on finishing up the new lean-to greenhouse.  Since this picture was taken, the remaining hoops were installed and one of the end walls is up.  Later today we should be getting a load of gravel for the floor.  hoe 015

Next we’ll stretch the plastic and begin moving the little plants in there!  He’s started the tractor work this week too. And we still need to move the hoophouses, and, of course, planting!  Every one of these projects has expenses, and they are all happening at the same time!

This year more than ever we need your CSA payments as soon as possible.  So if you were thinking about signing up this year, here’s all the info: 2015CSAInfoandcontract

Five more members by the end of this month will keep us on track through this crazy transition.  We look forward to hearing from you!

TRANSMISSION FROM RED PLANET

MovingSketch (1)

Yup,we’re packing it up and moving down the road.  And starting seeds and digging things up, taking things apart and building stuff and making plans and trying to figure it all out.  Finally after so much searching and hand-wringing, a decision has been made and we can now share it with you:

The address of the new place is 378 Greenville Ave. in Johnston, about a half mile east of our current farm. The fields are visible from the road out behind some ranch houses. Access is via a lane between number 378 and 380. Parking, while not set up just yet, will be available off this lane near the front of the fields. As we are just beginning to move onto the site, we ask that folks refrain from visiting unannounced until at least the last week in April.

This move would take a lot of time, money and work under any conditions, but Winter’s record snow has delayed all plans enough that we know we won’t be having a “normal” farming season. This year will be a time of transition. As such, we’d rather take the time to start up our farm the right way than rush into this new thing and fall on our face. To make it all work, we are planning changes in the way we run the CSA which we hope will give us more flexibility, less risk, and some breathing room to establish a solid orderly foundation in this important first year at the new location.

To make sure our CSA members get the best of the 2015 harvest during this unusual year, we are setting a new system. Members who pay for a 2015 share will be signed up for a “produce line of credit” that they can draw on to purchase any of our vegetables on any timeframe and in any amount throughout the entire year, even during our winter growing season. Think pre-paid gift card. We’ll provide great quality and variety, but on a less rigid schedule than in past years.

This new setup allows the farm greater flexibility and decreases pressure on us during an unusual harvest season, but also gives members more choice on when and what they consume. We know many of you keep your own bounteous gardens, we all enjoy unprecedented access to farmers’ markets these days, so we’d like our CSA to complement these food sources rather than compete with them for fridge space.

Here it is,

2015 CSA Info and Contract

Joining the CSA is just one of the ways you can help us out this year.

We need YOU for the Farm Mobilization Volunteer Corps!

Starting right now and going through June, we are seeking volunteers to help us do the work of dismantling, hauling and re-establishing Red Planet Farm. Whether you yourself would like to come and help or you’d like to help motivate others to do so, we’d greatly appreciate it.  If you don’t want to get out in the dirt, we would love help organizing a fundraiser or any other ideas you might have!

We can make use of many skill sets, from simple schlepping to skilled carpentry. Don’t be shy about letting us know what you’re good at so we can best use your talents.

Email or text/call 401-481-6115 with dates and times you’d like to volunteer and we will happily put you in our schedule.

This entry was posted on April 9, 2015. 2 Comments

Go til Thanksgiving?

As you all know, Red Planet has to get out of Mathewson Farm. And we are starting the process of packing up and moving, which is daunting. But when I look in the field I still see so much FOOD.
So I would really love it if any of you would sign up for 3 more pick ups.
Here’s how it could work.
$20 per week. You can pay the full $60 or pay $20 each time you pick up. That way if you can only make it 2 out of 3 weeks it’s no big deal. Bring cash if you want to buy extra storage crops like potatoes and squash, or eggs. If you are interested in helping with the harvest on Mondays, I would like to have one workshare.

Pick ups are at 75 Marshall St. on Tuesdays from 5 to 7.
A little extra time, but no pick ups at the farm. And we will set up in the front hall, where we have shelter and light.

Of course, it’s a little last minute, I know. I will be harvesting tomorrow.
So if you think you want to do it, even just this week, send me an email at redplanetvegetables@gmail.com. Your participation will be such a help.
If I hear from you by Monday evening, and confirm your spot with an email, you’re in!

Here’s a list of what we will have:
Kale, chard, escarole, mustard, frisee, lettuce, arugula, cilantro, parsley, onions, shallots, garlic, baby leeks, baby carrots, turnips, daikon, celeriac, potatoes, squash, pumpkins.
It will vary from week to week, somewhat. And I am probably forgetting something. And some things might get hit by a hard frost. But I’m sure we can put together some excellent shares from now til Thanksgiving.
Get in touch if you want to join us!

baby carrotspotatoes
buttercup squash

This entry was posted on November 9, 2014. 7 Comments

Week 22 is upon us!

That means it is the LAST pick up of the CSA at Mathewson Farm.
I hope that you have all enjoyed your veggie share this year. I would love to hear from all of you: your favorites, what you had fun with, what confused you, anything!
We do our best to plan what you will be getting through the summer, and then get swept up in the season. As my crazy schedule of restaurant sales, farmers’ market and field work starts to ease up I begin to get my mind back. Oh my goodness. There’s so much to catch up with! And then, moving.
Today I’ve had a chance to look over your shares from week to week, and it feels like magic that we hit our goals. Thanks so much to Thea and Amanda for running the CSA harvest this year. You two did an amazing job.
This week we will try to load you up with squash and potatoes, and then have a healthy mix of choices of greens and roots and herbs.
Please stay in touch with us! I am still considering a weekly pick up at our house through November, but need to find out how much interest there is in this idea. And if you have ideas about fundraisers to help us with the big move, let’s make a plan!
Email me at redplanetvegetables@gmail.com

This entry was posted on November 2, 2014. 1 Comment

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.