Saturday, April 25, 2015

CSA 2015 is Now Full

Lettuce Mix ready to harvest
Our 2015 CSA season is now full! Thank you to all our new and returning members. We are looking forward to a great season and to sharing the harvest with you.
If you are interested joining the CSA, please email or call to be added to the 2015 wait list and 2016 priority list.
You can still find our fresh, organically grown produce at the Lockport Community Market on Saturdays, 9am-2pm from Saturday July 4 - Saturday, October 3.
Thank you for supporting your local farm!



Fields prepped for the season
Tractor implements ready to work

Saturday, April 11, 2015

CSA Shares Still Available


7th generation discovering flowers
Just a quick update from the farm. Folks are asking. Word is spreading. There are only 6 shares available for the upcoming season. If you are planning on joining, I recommend doing so this week. We would love to have you join the CSA! There are both Full and Half share sizes. Full Share ($525) is usually one full grocery bag of produce and 1/2 bag of greens. Half Share ($295) is approximately 1/2 grocery bag of produce and 1/4 bag of greens. Some weeks will be fuller. Please find more description on our CSA page. If you have questions on availability or shares, feel free to call us. We look forward to a great season full of delicious and nutrient-packed veggies, fruit, greens, herbs and flowers!

Around the farm, we are fine-tuning the tractors, equipment and tools to prepare the fields and plant the first crops by the beginning of May. The new greenhouse is complete and already filling up with young onions, leeks, celery, celeriac, broccoli, cabbage, and kohlrabi. Garlic is sprouting through its winter hay quilt. Pepper and tomato seedlings are beginning to pop. The bees are busy pollinating the first wildflowers. And the sun peeks through the window a little earlier each morning. Looking forward to sharing the harvest and the farm life with you this season.



2015 Garlic crop

Onions and Leeks

Broccoli and Cabbage

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Season for Seeds

2-day old Onion starts
Nothing like a little sunshine and a few days above freezing to get everyone in a great mood to farm. For us, the season has officially begun. With the tiniest of movements: Seeding. The seeding season always begins the first week of March with seeding onions and celery. We seed in March and harvest the crops in August-September, although last season we harvested the long-growing celery in October! Putting those tiny seeds in the soil brings a mixture of hope and reality. Hope for a great growing season and bountiful crop. Reality that the plans are set, and now it is time to carry out the actions to nurture another bountiful crop. Onions and celery seeds always take a week or two to show, so there's a lot of time for hope and reality to mix.

 
The break in weather has given us time to work on the seeding hoophouse. We are framing the ends now. If we have a calm day next week, we will cover with greenhouse plastic. It will be double- insulated so we can control the temps inside to grow healthy strong seedlings. Once the sides and plastic are on, the onion and celery starts will be the first trays to move into the new home (and out of our kitchen and dining room).

Building sides to the Seed Hoophouse
We are expanding every year and 2015 is no different. Our goal is 100 members in our CSA (Halfway there!) and enough for the Lockport Community Market and local restaurants. That's a lot of seeding! To make more efficient use of our time, Rich made a vacuum wand seeder. Using the suction from a household vacuum cleaner attached to this PVC wand, he picks up seeds on the end of each nozzle. Then, he moves the wand into place above seed tray, releases the suction, and gently taps the seeds into their holes. The dibbler in the corner of the photo helps us prepare several holes at a time. This method is a big time-saver already!

Dibbler + Vacuum Seeder Wand = Time Saved!
Come Chat With Us
Bree had a great time taking with the Lockport College Women's Club and the Lockport Rotary Club this past week. We have a couple more speaking engagements in March, if you want to hear us share our story and the history of the farm. Rich will be at the Niagara County Genealogical Society on Wednesday, March 25, 7pm. For the Delphi employees, we will have a informational booth at Delphi on March 30, 10-2pm. 

As winter breaks, we take a deep breath, look around and marvel that this old farm will once again take us through another growing season. We are privileged to be the stewards of this small piece of Earth. And when the winter gets to us a little bit, just think: Fresh vegetables will be here before we know it!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Celebrate National CSA Day and Hear Our Story



We are thinking Spring! Seeds are received and organized. Seed racks are up. Soil is being mixed. Crop plans and field plans and greenhouse plans are being finalized. Ready for Spring 2015.
2014 celery starts

National CSA Sign-Up Day
Tomorrow, February 28, is National CSA Sign-Up Day. We can't think of a better way to celebrate than, well, to consider joining a CSA!

Click HERE for a 2015 membership agreement

The thought of all the fresh delicious produce, aromatic herbs and brightly colored flowers of the 2015 CSA season is a great way to get through this last part of winter. If you are already a CSA member, you might even have some of the previous season's produce stocked away in the cupboard or freezer for a little treat of warm summer flavors.

Our farm share program, called Wildwood CSA, is open for a second season and We Are Growing! You can join our farm family and get in on the fun farm experience by downloading an agreement form on the CSA page. Just complete and mail it in along with the payment. Then, look forward to 20 weeks of fresh produce!

Click HERE for a 2015 membership agreement or visit our Wildwood CSA Page for more information.

Hear Us Speak Around Town
We do get off the farm sometimes! We have been enjoying talking at different community events this winter. About 50 people came out to the Kenan Art Counil last month hear about McCollum Orchards. It was so fun to talk with people who remember the farm in its heyday. We also presented our research on the Cornell Ag Extension Ethnic Vegetable Trials at the Empire State Producers Expo in January.

Don't worry -  you didn't miss us. We have been invited to speak at three upcoming events. Please come hear the story of our historic family farm and our efforts to revive it. We will share interesting facts from the family farm's history in Lockport, some highlights of our efforts to reclaim the old farmland and stately mansion, and share information about the Community Supported Agriculture farm share program for the 2015 season.

Thursday, March 5
Lockport College Women's Club
7:00pm

Wednesday March 25
Niagara Genealogical Society
7:00pm

Rotary Club
March Tuesday 12noon TBD

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Welcome 2015 CSA Members!

Hello! We are currently taking new members for the 2015 CSA farm share AND introducing a new farm name: Wildwood CSA. Our new farm name reflects the transformation the farm, and us farmers (The Woodbridges) have gone through the past few years.  Join us for delicious ultra-fresh farm produce and a fun farm experience each week.

Fresh Carrots

With a CSA membership, you will enjoy over 50 different types of produce throughout the season from the favorites like broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers and squash, to more unique crops like romanesco, turnips and chinese kale. Shares are done market-style where members choose what they want from the options harvested that week. You will also gain unlimited access to a large, acre-plus pick-your-own garden full of bouquet flowers, culinary herbs and other fruits and vegetables like snap peas, green beans, cherry tomatoes and hot peppers.

Our 2014 CSA was a wonderful success. Members enjoyed the diversity of the shares and the bounty. They loved the pick-your-own garden and visiting the farm throughout the seasons. We farmers loved the CSA, too. We enjoyed knowing our hard work in the fields was going to soon be delicious and healthy meals. We enjoyed swapping recipes and getting to know our farm community.

We look forward to the 2015 season already! This year, we will have more diversity in the shares and more flowers in the pick-your-own section. There are some new peas and beans I want to try, too. We also will add an Extra Greens Share for $75 for those who want an extra bunch of greens for juicing or lettuce for salads each week. Full shares are $525 and serve 2-4 people. We will start offering half shares this year for $295 serve 1-2 people. The season will run 20 weeks from mid-June to end-October.

To sign up, please complete and return the Membership Agreement and payment. Find the agreement to download on the CSA page or email us for one at mccollumorchards@gmail.com. Read more about on the CSA page and see lots of photos on Facebook.com/mccollumorchards .

Thank you and we look forward to a bountiful 2015!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Babies, Bridges and Broccoli



You know that saying, ‘If you want to make the gods laugh, tell them your plans’? They were talking about farming. Back in April, we were excited to get out into the new fields. In anticipation of the new CSA, a new farm stand at Delphi and a bigger Lockport Community Market, we tripled our plantings. We seeded more plants for just the spring crops – broccoli, chard, kale, cabbage, beets and carrots, to name a few – than our entire harvest in 2013. Even the cooler than average spring temperatures could not dampen our excitement. 
So many plants!
We just needed to fix what we thought was a minor issue of blocked old agricultural drain to help the fields dry quicker. The company guessed it was probably clay tiling used in the early 1900s. No problem: a quick replacement of new agricultural tiling (big plastic pipe with holes in it to catch the ground water laid under the field) would take no more than a day to install. Drier fields are worth the investment.
Well, this old farm had other plans in store. We discovered the hard way that the old farm property has an extensive network of French drains, which are long ditches filled with rock and capped with large flat rocks and covered with soil. They were probably first constructed in the 1830s when the farm was established. All by horse and human labor. Over the decades the drains collapsed or silted in and trapped water pooled up on the field surface. Between cold April rain showers we made several failed attempts to lay new ag tile. After conferring with several water specialists, we realized that cleaning out the French drains was the only recourse.  It took several weeks…and was costlier than expected. The drainage was finally cleaned out by May and the fields showed immediate improvement. But, we had lost a lot of time for planting.
Fixing French Drains

Also in April, we were dealt with illness. Chicken pox went through out household. The worst was that our three-month-old got it. We learned what all parents have before us: your world stops for a sick kid. We took turns and nursing her day and night through a six-day fever. Wonderful friends and family jumped to our rescue with everything from support and food drop-offs to watching her while we caught a nap to just cleaning the kitchen. We could not have gotten though it without them! Now, baby girl is fully recovered with just a few pock marks left over.
By the end of April, we were in a pickle. The carefully crafted field plan was out the window. The new fields that had been prepped for spring crops were covered with rock and subsoil from the ditch. Oh, and there was a ditch where field had once been. What were we going to do with all those seedlings perched all over our kitchen, office and dining room? 

First, we quickly prepped the old fields for the spring seedlings. Finally, spring broccoli, kale, beets and lettuces had a home outside. Then, we built a sturdy bridge over those troubled waters in the ditch so we could even get equipment out to the new fields. The farmers picked up more than 30 loads of rocks to get the new fields workable again. (That is all labor by hand and back, folks!) The spring field became the summer field and the summer field will be used for fall plantings in June.
Crossing the Bridge Over Troubled Waters
In spite of stressful setbacks, the farm has managed some big progress. The farmers built a new-to-us hoop house. In cold springs like this when the soil temperature is much colder than average, which delays field planting, having a hoop house gives us an advantage. The plastic covering warms the ground temperature faster than the field soil. Tomatoes, peppers and eggplant were already growing in there about a month before the field crops are planted. A small section of the hoop house is designated as a greenhouse to acclimatize seedlings before they go out into the field. We also purchased two tractors, another necessary farm investment. One is a large Kubota for heavy farm work and the other is a 1951 Farmall Super A to cultivate the vegetables. Manufacture of cultivating tractors ended in the ‘60s as agriculture moved to bigger industrial machines but the old tractors are perfect for small vegetable operations like ours.
Healthy Baby and Dad's New Tractor
With some creativity and a lot of help, the farm is now mostly back on track. This spring reinforced our motto of being prepared for anything on the old farm. We cannot always anticipate what will happen, but we are learning to act quickly to solve the problems that pop up.  Honestly, what got us through the tough parts is knowing our CSA members are looking forward to the first share pick-up and continuing to get ready for the start of the Lockport Community Market and the new Delphi farm stand. We are working seriously long hours and are finally catching up to where we should be. After all that the farm has been through this spring, we really looking forward to offering that first crisp head of spring broccoli!
Garlic growing strong!



Friday, October 18, 2013

Hops, Hops, Hops: We have your hops and cider apples

All the 2013 McCollum Orchards hops are dried and vacuum-packaged. They are available in 2 oz packages, so they're a perfect quantity for homebrewing. There are a few one-pound packages, too, for those high volume home brewers out there. Alpha Acid analysis results for every variety are listed on the Hops Page.

Online Ordering

Customers asked and we made it so you can now order McCollum Orchards hops online and we will ship them to you wherever you are in the country via USPS Priority mailing. The link is: https://squareup.com/market/mccollum-orchards-llc That's pretty awesome!


Farm Stand: One More Week

You can pick up hops at the farm stand if you are in the neighborhood or fancy yourself a drive to the "country."* There is one more week of farm stand:

Saturday, October 19 10am-2pm
Thursday, October 24 3:30pm-sunset
Saturday, October 26 10am-2pm

While you are here, you can stock up on fall fruit, vegetables, flowers, pumpkins and hops. Pie pumpkins and butternut squash add great seasonal flavors to brews. Or be adventurous - lemongrass?

Best Cider Apples Around

And, you can try your hand at cider with our heirloom apple varieties Northern Spy and Rome. Available in bushels, half bushels and quarter bushels. Our apples have not been sprayed with chemicals for over two decades.

*Really we are much closer because the farm is located in the Lockport city limits.