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GI Acres is Growing

Ok we grow a lot especially during the gardening season. Take a look at the pictures of our weekly shares if you don’t believe us. We are actually getting bigger. The 15 acres around our little urban farm is up for sale and we have a signed purchase agreement with the seller. Now pending approval from the bank and clear title we will own a bigger piece for our experiment.

We will own the property to the south of us to the corn field and to the west to Engleman Road. Right now it is mostly planted in alfalfa. Not sure what we are going to do with it but it will help us control what happens around us.

Welcome to 2021! We are now Accepting New Members

I know I want to join. Where do I sign up? Take Me To the Google Form

What we try to have for you to pick up late in the year.

GI Acres has been offering CSA (Consumer Support Agriculture) shares to people in the Grand Island, Nebraska area since 2015. We are beginning our sixth year and hoping to continue for many more.

What is a CSA Share?

Local Harvest (www.localharvest.com) is a great source of information about local food. Here is how they define a CSA. GI Acres is a market style CSA. We don’t pack the box for you but allow you a choice of what we have available.

I know I want to join. Where do I sign up? Take Me To the Google Form

Is a CSA Share right for me?

The Pros and Cons of Joining a CSA (www.seriouseats.com) This article is a little dated given the prices in the New York metro area but they were also describing a CSA that provided 4 or 5 items for that price. Our is priced similarly but we aim to provide many more items and variety.

How do I get my food?

This year, our Full Season pick up will be on Monday evenings 6-8 PM. You will pick up your share at our farm location. In previous years, this was Wednesday or Thursday. We schedule the pickup the same day as Kathy’s regular day off from her regular job so that everything is picked fresh and ready to go for you. You can do self service pick up by getting your share out of our cooler shed the following day if you want. (We will prepare your share and pick items for you and put your name on the tray.)

Shares waiting for pickup the following day

Short Season pick up will usually be on Thursdays from 7-8. Again if you can’t pick up at that time we can leave your share in the cooler shed.

We may also be able to offer delivery in limited circumstances or pickup from an alternate location. That will be need to be arranged with signup. If you require alternate arrangements, please contact us first before signing up.

I know I want to join. Where do I sign up? Take Me To the Google Form

What options do you offer?

We offer both a Full Season (every Monday — June through September — planned for 18 weeks in 2021) for $425 and a Short Season (6 Shares offered on Thursdays between mid-July and mid-September) for $180. Short season shares are based on heavy production weeks and will not be every week. An email will be sent to members letting them know that a share will be ready for them. Look through the pictures below of our weekly shares from 2020, both Full and Short Season, to see what is available and how the season progresses from cool spring crops like lettuce, herbs and garlic scapes to longer season crops like tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, okra and finally winter squash. If there is a vegetable that you really enjoy, but don’t see in the photos, please ask as we may be able to add it this year. Each of the photos is of one member’s share for one week.

We do raise chickens and sometimes will include eggs in your share and they are almost always available as an add on for $3 per dozen.

I know I want to join where do I sign up? Take Me To the Google Form

When is payment due?

Payment for your share is due on March 1, 2021. If we have not received your payment we may offer your share to someone on our waiting list. If you are having trouble meeting the March 1 deadline let us know and we will work with you.

What is my risk?

The CSA Model is shared risk/shared reward. We will do our best to make sure you get a good value for your hard earned money but we cannot control the weather. Living in Nebraska there is always the possibility of hail and wind that can damage the plants. Last year we had a fight with bunny rabbits and Japanese beetles. We did okay against the beetles with beetle traps but the bunnies devastated the Swiss Chard and beets. Two years ago the early August windstorm and hail took out most of the pepper crop. We plant in more than one garden on our property, rotate crops to minimize pests and the need for pest control, have water available to all of the garden areas, and minimize the risk as much as we can. You can review the Member Agreement here.

Why do I have to prepay for the season?

We use your funds to pay for seeds, plants, supplies, and equipment needed for a successful season. Because you have prepaid we have the money in hand to pay cash for all of the things necessary for a successful season. Last year we bought almost 1000 plants from Barb Quandt at Barb’s Greenhouse north of the Central Nebraska Regional Airport. She does a great job starting our plants from our seeds, and it is less expensive than maintaining our own greenhouse while supporting another local producer. If you have a vegetable that you would like us to add this year, please let us know early!

I know I want to join where do I sign up? Take Me To the Google Form

I want to preserve some produce. Will I get enough to can?

That really depends on you and your family’s eating habits. A single person or couple might have enough to preserve or share with family and friends. A large family that cooks and eat most meals at home probably won’t have any extra. One friend asked about signing up because she wanted to pressure can green beans: we explained that most likely she would not get enough for that. We have had members preserve some of their share as small batches of pickles or salsa. Some of the crops dehydrate or freeze well, too, if you are unable to use it all within the week. Our goal is to provide you with fresh food that you can eat and enjoy while it is in season.

I know I want to join where do I sign up? Take Me To the Google Form

And We Are Back Again

Welcome to the end of 2020. It has been a strange year for all of us. At GI Acres, we had a good year for the farm. We sold/traded all 10 full season shares and sold 3 of 6 short season shares. The weather cooperated and production was good. We did have issues with rabbits this year. They really liked the beets and the Swiss chard this year so we had less of those.

We plan to offer both the Full Season (weekly from June through September) and the Short Season (6 shares between mid-July and mid-September when production is at its highest). Our CSA management platform Small Farm Central is no longer providing the same service. They have grown into a larger and hopefully more successful version. Unfortunately for us their new product is priced at a level that we cannot afford.

At this point we plan to use Google Forms for sign up. Our son Will has added some scripting that will automatically limit choices as shares are spoken for and so it will only let you sign up for what we have available. Former members have priority and are invited to sign up by December 31, 2020. On January 1 we will publish the link to the form publicly and open membership up to everyone.

If you are interested in what you get in each share look at the galleries below. We have 18 weeks of the full season from last year and five of the six weeks of the short season. Week 3 of the short season everyone showed up early or on time and we did not get a picture of the share.

Week 18 2020
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It has been a long time but we are still here and we are open for the 2020 season

If you are hoping to find a CSA share for this year we still have both full season (June through Sept every Wednesday) for $425, we just a have a few left, and short season (6 weeks on the weekend between mid-July and mid-Sept) $180. You can sign up here http://giacres.csasignup.com/members/types

Visiting an Urban, Urban Farm

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I like to call what we do Urban Farming. The truth is that we live in a community of 50,000 people and have an acreage on the edge of Grand Island. We live on a suburban acreage. We play at farming and enjoy running our CSA but both Kathy and I have full time jobs and we are not supporting ourselves or our family with our farm. The first week of May we visited The Urban Farming Guys in Kansas City MO.

The are a real urban farm located in a first ring suburb of Kansas City just 1.9 miles from downtown KC. They bought their first house in the neighborhood 10 years ago for $21,000. They have continued to buy other houses, buildings and lots in the neighborhood. They operate a green house and urban farm. They have had a CSA and have a community room and maker space. We rented two of their houses via AirBnB for a weekend to celebrate my nephew’s high school graduation. Candy was gracious enough to give us a tour of the green house and farm. The Urban Farming Guys have a great YouTube Channel check it out. If you are traveling to KC look them up on AirBnB it was a great experience.

Hoping for More Efficient Planting This Year

We are starting to feel the pressure of cold rainy weather and to many activities that pull us away from the home over the weekends. We thought about buying a seeder for years but this year I broke down and bought an Earthway Seeder. They had one at Ace Hardware here in Grand Island. The best part is that it was even $30 off.

Here’s to hoping that this helps us get things planted when it dries out a bit.

Adventures in Urban Farming – Home

Posted by Adventures in Urban Farming on Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Chad Nabity

Seeds and seed catalogs Kathy thinks maybe we have a problem is anything

Posted by Chad Nabity on Saturday, February 9, 2019

If you are interested in the local food movement… – Adventures in Urban Farming

If you are interested in the local food movement and supporting small and micro businesses this is a really important…

Posted by Adventures in Urban Farming on Saturday, January 26, 2019

Just What is in a Full Share?

We plant a wide variety of crops. You will start the season with cool weather and spring crops: Lettuce, greens (chard, mustard, spinach, collard), radishes, garlic scapes, rhubarb and winter onions. During the warmer months you can expect green beans (several varieties), summer squash, greens (chard, mustard, spinach, collard) , herbs, cabbage, onions, new potatoes and fennel. The summer crops will continue some of those above and add in tomatoes (last year we planted 39 varieties), peppers, egg plant, garlic, celery and sweet corn (we don’t grow it but buy it from a local producer). As we transition in to the fall months we will still have tomatoes, peppers, egg plant, onions, potatoes, greens (chard, mustard, spinach, collard) , maybe green beans, and add in winter squash, popcorn (if the squirrels don’t eat it again this year), horse radish root, apples, and maybe pumpkins or corn shocks for decoration.

In 2019 there will be 18 Wednesdays between June 6, 2019 and October 2, 2019. We plan to have at least 18 weeks of shares but we could have as many as 20 if we have things ready for the last week of May and have a final pick up after October 2. This last 2 seasons we have had a last pickup in mid-October. The cost for a full season share is $400. The full amount has to be paid by March 1 to secure your spot. If you are a returning member we do offer a 10% discount if you sign up and pay by February 16.

The Short Season share is similar to the Full Share but does start later in the summer and only includes 6 weeks. We plan to start it in July and end in late August or early September. Shares will not be available every week depending on our schedule. Short season shares are $150 and available on Sunday afternoons.

If you are worried that you won’t be able to use everything, and this can be an issue, you can always find someone to share with or donate the extra.

You can pick your season and sign up by following this link: GI Acres CSA Share Types.

Getting Ready for 2019

CSA Day is on February 22 of 2019. If you are a returning CSA Member we are offering $40 off of a full membership if you sign up before February 16. A full membership will be $400 after that date. We will be offering 10 full memberships and 6 short season memberships again this year. Full memberships will be approx 20 weeks from the first of June to the end of September. Short season will begin in July and end in September and include 6 pickups. Short season shares are $150.

Week 3 June 20, 2018

The first new potatoes and onions were part of the share this week.  We had herbs and greens as well.  Also everyone got a share of edible pod peas.  The lettuce is doing well and we had enough for everyone.

June 13, 2018 Week 2 CSA Share

We added a few choices this week with baby zucchini and edible pod peas.  If you weren’t here early though you did not get that choice we only had 2 of each. Everyone else got broccolini. Hopefully next week we will have enough for everyone.  Everyone got a nice Golden Acre Cabbage.  Kathy and I had coleslaw made with one on Wednesday for lunch and it was yummy!

This week the share included Cabbage, radishes (we pulled them all as they were starting to bolt), mustard greens, salad mix, baby Swiss chard.  mint, oregano, chives, garlic scapes, rhubarb, onions, baby dill, and a dozen eggs.

Several people asked about what to do with mint.  Here are some ideas that don’t include lamb or mint juleps  https://www.delish.com/cooking/g1130/mint-recipes/  One of our favorite ways to use it is to make a mint chutney for Indian food.  1/2 an onion, 1 jalepeno (leave the seeds if you want it hotter), 1/4 to 1/2 cup packed mint (you can pull it out of the freezer for this) mixed in the food processor until pureed. Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and ketchup equal to the volume of the original ingredients.  This is great on samosa’s or pakoras.

We have green beans setting  on and are hoping to have enough for each share next week.  We will also likely have a bunch of peas and hopefully potatoes.  It will also likely, be the last week for the garlic scapes.

The weather the next few days will be approaching 100 degrees so we are watering heavily in the evening.  Everything is hold well so far though.

June 6, 2018 First CSA Share of the Season

Sorry for the late post.  It has been a busy week.  I usually try to get this out the same day as the shares are picked up so that everyone can check to see what was in the share if you didn’t recognize it.  We had a variety of herbs, green garlic, garlic scapes, radishes, rhubarb, lettuce, mustard, onions and choice of asparagus, strawberries, or broccolini.

Not sure what do with garlic scapes check out these ideas from Bon Appetit https://www.bonappetit.com/test-kitchen/ingredients/article/garlic-scapes

You can even use the rhubarb and green garlic in this chutney recipe.  https://lynnecurry.com/2016/05/rhubarb-chutney-recipe/

 

It was a very productive Memorial Day Weekend in the Garden

A combination of the weather and our travel schedule has kept us out of the garden and put us a bit behind.  We got all of our plant in the garden over Memorial Day weekend but we still have seed to plant.  The weekend was really hot (record setting high temp and record setting high (low) temps).  It was over 90 degrees all three days of the weekend right up until the downpour on Monday afternoon.  We did get a lot accomplished just not as much as we hoped.  It looks like the first week’s share will include fresh herbs (chives, green garlic, mint, oregano, sage and maybe some others) fresh greens (Salad, Mustard, Chard). winter onions, rhubarb, eggs (if we can get cartons) and radishes.  We might even throw in some young horseradish root.

Share Risk and Shared Reward

Usually when we talk to our members about shared risk and shared reward I talk about hail.  “If God gives us hail then we will replant more radishes and greens and get you as much as we can.”  This after noon while walking through the garden to check out the progress from Memorial Day weekend planting I was shocked to see a threat that I would not have imagined.  We had large hoof prints meandering through our squash, and mustard and through the newly planted baby corn. (See the pictures below).

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A couple of wandering cows decided to visit the garden. 5-29-2018
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Who would have thought that a couple of stray cows could be a risk to a productive CSA garden. They aren’t even our cattle.  One of the local feeders called me at work to see if they belonged to me when they showed up to say hi to his herd.  If he hadn’t called I’m not sure what I would have thought when I walked out to the garden.

Are you wondering what we are planting this year?

Well it was cold and wet this weekend.  We hoped to get the tomatoes and peppers and other plants that Barb (Barb’s Greenhouse) started for us into the ground.  That did not happen.  We did however get lots of the garden planned and took the cold frame out of the main garden.

You can see what we have planned or planted in the main garden by following this link  Main Garden

Here is everything planted in the back garden.

We do still have 2 full shares and 4 short season shares available.  If you or your friends are craving fresh veggies the first share will be ready on June 6 provided the weather hold.

And the Garden is a Go

We finally got to spend a day in the garden.  Between the weather, holidays and travelling it has been slow this year.  The weather this year has been frightful.  The first potatoes went in on Good Friday and we got snow for Easter.  Then we had snow or ice every weekend until the end of April.  Kathy got two new colonies of bees installed on April 18th.  We were worried that it might be too cold for them.  We left the next day for New Orleans.  Chad was attending and speaking at the American Planning Association conference.

The weather turned gorgeous while we were gone.  The last weekend of April we picked up the first of our plants from Barb’s Greenhouse in St. Libory.  We got 3 kinds of cabbage, (golden acre, kalibos, and murdoc) and 3 kinds of broccoli (romensco, purple santee, and happy rich).  The last two are more sprouting broccoli than heads of broccoli. We also picked up leeks and shallots and a few other random plants.

We started laying out the garden and put in fence for peas and beans and planted the cabbages and peas on Saturday. Kathy also checked on the bees and discovered that while they were doing fine and the  Sunday we hope to get the broccoli, leeks and shallots planted.  We also have a couple of apricot trees that need to get in the ground.

We do still have 2 full shares available and 4 short season shares if you know anyone that would be interested. Send them to our signup page.

It Is Starting To Get Real This Season

Yesterday we sorted through our seeds and took a list and a whole bunch of packages to seeds to Barb Quandt of Barb’s Greenhouse just north of GI.  If you need plants definitely  check out Barb’s Greenhouse.  She does both veggies and beautiful flowers.  Barb will be starting 4 packs of plants for us.

16 cucumber plants we will direct seed 7 more varieties

3 varieties of okra (4 plants each)

5 varieties of Eggplant (4 plants each)

40 Celery Plants (this is new for us this year.  Wish us luck)

2 Varieties of Brocolini (Hopefully 24 plants of each.)

3 Varieties of Cabbage (24 plants each)

All of the Fennel Seed we have (40 plants?)

8 Varieties of Sweet Peppers (8 plants each)

9 Varieties of Hot Peppers (8 plants each)

29 Varieties of Tomatoes (4 plants each of 15 varieties and 8 plants each of 14 varieties)

We will have some extra Tomato and Pepper Plants that will be available for our CSA members if they want to plant their own garden.

Here is a picture of the seed that we bought this year.  Almost $350 worth of seed in the little pile.

It is less than 2 weeks until Good Friday.  I plan to plant potatoes on Good Friday so then it will truly have begun.

As of today we do still have 3 full shares and 4 short season shares available.  If you are interested we would love to talk to you about our CSA, how it works, what the expectations are and how we can help you have healthier meals all summer long.

You can sign up at http://giacres.csasignup.com/members/types

Don’t Forget the Veggies Buy your CSA Share Today

Friday this week is CSA day.  CSA day is designed to promote the CSA concept and help all of us that are involved celebrate the communities we create and share in.  The Event is becoming a world wide phenomena. Check this out on Facebook.  https://www.facebook.com/UrgenciCommunitySupportedAgricultureAroundTheWorld/

Right now we have 3 regular shares available and 5 short season shares.  When these are gone we are done selling veggies for the year!

Don’t miss out.

You can sign up here and either pay with paypal or send us a check.  http://giacres.csasignup.com/members/types

One Week to CSA Day

Friday the 23rd is officially CSA day.  We get started way before that. Today we got our first new seed packets for the year.  Last week we ordered more than $330 of seeds and plants for the upcoming year and we aren’t done.  

If you are interested in what we think we will be growing this year take a look at this document.

Complete Seed List for 2018 w/perennials

We are not sure that we are planting everything on this list but it will give you a good idea of what we are considering.  We will be planting things from every category even if we only plant 5 kinds of carrots instead of all of them.  If we run out of space we may save some seed for next year.

We still have several shares available including at least 2 full shares and 5 short season shares.

You can find more info on the cost and what is available here.

Join us for the 2018 Season we are getting excited about it.

 

Found some cool food and veggie videos check them out

Check out the cool chives video from the lyrical chef MackaB.  We will post other videos by him and you can subscribe to his Youtube page if you like them.

We do still have shares available for the 2018 season, both full shares and short season shares.

 

 

Three Weeks Until CSA Day

We have shares available for the 2018 season.  Both regular and short season shares.  You can sign up here.  Buying a share in the CSA will cut out the middle man, give you fresh local food and support a local producer.

2018 CSA Shares Available

This year we are offering 2 share choices, Full Season (end of May through September) and Short Season (6 week between July and early September).   We are offering our Full Season Shares to our 2107 members first.  We will have 10 Full Season shares available   We also will offer 6 Short Season shares.  Check out our GI Acres CSA page for more details and to find out which shares are still available.

GI Acres CSA

If you are interested in a share you can sign up here.

Full Season shares are $400 for new members and Short Season shares are $150.

 

Welcome to 2018

New Year New Look

We have a new logo thanks to our niece Katie’s brother-in-law, Douglas.  We are excited about the new year and we are starting to order seeds and get prepared for the new year.

Check out the CSA Page to see what changes we have made to our membership structure.

We are offering full shares to last year’s members first we won’t have any new memberships available if they all renew.  If you would like to be on the waiting list for a full share send me and email at chadn1@grandislandacres.com and I will add you to the list.

We are also offering a short season CSA share between July and August.  We will have 6 of those available this year.

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About GI Acres CSA

GI Acres is located on the western edge of Grand Island, Nebraska. The garden takes up about half of an acre. We also have chickens, rabbits and bees

Our farm is not USDA Certified Organic and we do not anticipate applying for such status. We strive to produce healthy vegetables using natural methods of fertilizing, building soil, and controlling pests such as insects and weeds. Those healthy vegetables will begin in mid to late May with herbs, asparagus, rhubarb and strawberries. During the season you can expect a variety of greens, beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, squash, corn and potatoes along with tips about how to cook and preserve your weekly share. The season will conclude in late September or early October. We aim for a 20-week season.

We did not grow up on farms but we did grow up in families with large gardens, eating a variety of fresh produce and canning/freezing the excess. We have maintained the tradition of growing and preserving food for our family for the past 20+ years. GI Acres is our attempt to share that passion for good food with our community.