Hello

Week 1 of the Summer Season was a rush for us. Thank you for your patience last week with the trucks running late and lines.

For this year, you probably noticed the new plastic totes at the back of the truck. This was a major investment this year not only in totes but in stainless tables, plumbing improvements, and more staff at the warehouse to pre-pack the boxes.

The idea is to limit contact with our customers in compliance with Covid-19 recommendations. It was bumpy during Week 1, but here is what our goal is:

  • Check you in at the "check in" table. Please keep your distance from other customers.
  • Setup an "order pickup" table to the side. The greeter will deliver your tote to that table.
  • At the "order-pickup" table, please transfer the contents of the tote into your own bag.

It is very important that you bring a bag/box/tote/cooler with you to transfer the contents into. The totes cannot leave our greeter area, as the health department will consider it leaving our chain of custody.

In this model, our greeters at the back of the truck will not come in contact with your food or you at close distance. The food is packed inside single-use liner bags at the warehouse by masked and gloved employees. The greeters at the back of the truck are now cashiers and not touching any unpackaged goods.

At the warehouse, we do need more packers. The packing of the totes took forever last week. Mostly opening the single use liner bag. If anyone is interested in working at the warehouse to pack totes, we are hiring (and replacing new hires who quit after a few days of hustle). This position will require you be on your feet the full shift and lift anywhere from 20 - 50 pounds.
  • Wednesday, 7a to 5p
  • Thursday, 7a to 5p
  • Friday, 7a to 5p

As the season gets rolling, we hope to reduce the hours to 7a to 3p as we get more staff available and our kinks worked out. If anyone is even available a portion of the days/time, it would be a help. Please reply to this email if you are interested and include your availability.

We're also adjusting some of the time frames for a handful of stops, keep reading below to see the time change.

Thank you again for your support and working through these changes with us.

Sincerely,
Trevor & the FFM team (Lauren, Allyson, Evan, Connor and all the new Summer 2020 Staff)
Bag Contents and Subs
Below is a list of bag contents for the week. These are always subject to change with the harvest. For example, last week our spinach grower, David, got about 1/3 of what he thought he would. He had planted his spinach on black plastic mulch to get it up to size earlier than usual and ready for the first week.

His strategy worked, except when it got really hot the spinach closest to the black plastic wilted and was essentially burnt.

His yield was 1/3 of what he had hoped. He's a Swartzentruber Amish so he has no way to get ahold of us to warn us. When our driver picked up the week's first shipment of spinach on Tuesday night, we had already announced the bag contents.

In a situation like this, it's a scramble to figure out what to do. Some growers can't easily be reached other than driving to their house. In other situations, we have to leave voice messages. Either way, when the bags are being packed and the trucks racing out the door, we have to find a solution "right now". We'll attempt to substitute as best we can. Neither us or the grower want to do this - we would rather stick with the original plan and the grower would rather harvest and sell the entire crop for more money. But, this is the perishables business and this stuff happens.

At points last week spinach was replaced with double kale or double broccoli or double lettuce. If you ever see double of something and something else missing, that's usually what's going on.
Grazing and
Pasture Management
Left: Beef on clover pasture.
Right: My buddy #136 coming in for head rub.
Probably my favorite farm chore is moooving the beef. Sorry, bad farm pun.

There are so many nuances to managing beef and pasture. Some of my "tools" include poly wire (temporary electric fence wire), soil samples, and even sap samples (samples of plant tissue to measure nutrition). Land is very expensive and grassfed beef requires a lot of land. I don't have access to more land or the money to buy it, so I have to focus on making more productive land out of what I have.

Early summer is usually plentiful in grass. In fact, tune into next week's newsletter to read about adventures in making hay with a team of horses (crossing my fingers).

The goal of my management is to make sure I have good quality grass until frost.

There are times when forage is both tastier and more nutritious. The optimal time is called "boot stage," which essentially means when the seedhead is just about to emerge from its sheath. When grass hits this stage, it happens fast and holds for just a day, so the goal of management is to move the beef rapidly and hope the grasses don't all mature at the same time.

Below are two photos. It's kind of hard to see in the sea of green, but on the left is bluegrass just at the tail end of boot stage. The flag-leaf is to the left and the sheath is opening up to let the seed head out. In the photo to the right, you can see the seed head fully emerged and the stem quite woody and not palatable. The younger, less mature grass has more nutrition and feed value.
Just yesterday. I was walking the pastures gathering samples. One area that I'm currently rotating the beef through is probably 18 inches high and just lush. From a distance it looks brown, but that's just the bluegrass going to seed. It's a better turf grass than pasture grass, but it spreads rapidly and fills in any bare spots voluntarily.

The pasture I'm talking about requires constant attention. Today, I'll move the beef 7 times across a small 1.5 acre piece. They won't eat it all, particularly the very mature bluegrass. Instead, they will pick what they want and trample down some of the rest. Tomorrow, I'll send Roman, one of the farm hands, across it with the brush hog. The crop residue will be mowed off and left to decay in the field, keeping the soil moist below it and putting nutrients back. The remaining forage - probably 50% to 60% of what was originally there - will build stronger roots and grow back faster and stronger.
Left: Gathering forage sample for sap analysis.
Right. Crop residue stomped down by beef.
In addition to this management, this pasture received a boost this spring from application of 3 tons per acre of compost made on the farm, calcium, and humic acid, all to help balance the soil and promote biological activity in the soil and at the plants' roots.

Talking about all this is fine and dandy. I want to see results.

While we gathered forage and soil samples yesterday to take measurements, the proof is really just there for the eyes to see.

I left one acre of this pasture as a control sample. No intensive/managed grazing, no fertilizers, etc.

Yesterday, I trudged through the knee deep pasture to the very back. There, on the other side of the electric fence, was the "control field." The beef haven't been on that field since mid April. Meanwhile, the primary field has had the beef graze if off 3 times since then.

I think from the photos you can see the difference in performance and nutrition for the beef. The photo on the left is the control sample (unmanaged) and the right is the managed portion.
CHANGES TO LOCATION TIMES
After reviewing last week, here are some changes to times for a few of the pickup locations:

Wednesday:
Chagrin Falls - extended to 8:30 PM. Now 7 to 8:30
Lakewood - extended to 7:30 PM. Now 4 PM to 7:30

Thursday: no changes

Friday:
Cleveland Heights - extended to 7 PM. Now 3 PM to 7 PM.
Shaker Heights - extended to 7 PM. Now 4 PM to 7 PM
Hudson - extended to 7 PM. Now 4 PM to 7 PM

Saturday: no changes

Thank you for working through these adjustments with us this year.
Placing a Special Order
As a reminder, special orders must be placed by Tuesday at Midnight.

To order online, log into your account. Orders must be paid online for delivery.

About Selection: The best selection is listed on Tuesday when the newsletter comes out. Monday's are a scramble around here to get communications from the farmers and to go through our freezer.

Freezer inventory takes the longest because cuts like chops, steaks, roasts, etc, are all sold by the lb. Each animal is different in size so every cut is different in weight. We have to open each box and organize the cuts within a narrow weight range to list the inventory. This is a time consuming process each Monday.

By Tuesday mid-day, the site is usually updated. If there is something you don't see, don't be afraid to send an email and ask. info@freshforkmarket.com
Bag Contents
Small Omnivore
Kale
Garlic Scapes
Radishes
Zucchini
Asparagus
Lettuce
Green Onion Brats



Small Vegetarian
Kale
Garlic Scapes
Radishes
Zucchini
Asparagus
Lettuce
Green Onions
Swiss Chard
Asian Greens
Mini
Kale
Garlic Scapes
Radishes
Zucchini
Asparagus
Large Omnivore
Kale
Garlic Scapes
Radishes
Zucchini
Asparagus
Lettuce
Green Onion Brats
Green Onions
Swiss Chard
Pickled Peppers
Whole Wheat Pasta




Large Vegetarian
Kale
Garlic Scapes
Radishes
Zucchini
Asparagus
Lettuce
Green Onions
Swiss Chard
Asian Greens
Pickled Peppers
Whole Wheat Pasta
Strawberries

Small Vegan
Kale
Garlic Scapes
Radishes
Zucchini
Asparagus
Lettuce
Green Onions
Swiss Chard
Asian Greens

Reminder: Carnivore Share bags are every-other-week based on pick-up location. You will be randomly assigned to a group (A, B, C). Check for the assignment in your last name. By the end of the season, all groups will have received the same amount of all products.

Week 2 Locations (even numbered weeks):
Avon, Brecksville, Lakewood, Middleburg Heights, North Olmsted, Ohio City Provisions, Rocky River, Strongsville, Tremont, Westlake

We've created a page the website for easy reference of the Week # plus date, and a list of locations assigned to each week.


**Carnivore share bags are only available at the first "dropoff location" listed on the location tab of your account as of 6/1. We pack for the exact number based on location.**
OUR FAMILY OF COMPANIES