Reap What You Sow. Seeds of Change…

A quick update to confirm the end of our “regular farmstand” season, and more importantly, addressing a few important events here.

We deeply appreciate the sacrifices of soldiers who fought for our freedoms, particularly to protect our Constitution, the right to express and attempt to live our ideals as one nation.

We stand with Black Lives Matter protesters now on the front lines of our nation, fighting for all our freedoms. If some of us are not free, none of us are free. Enough is enough.

We celebrate Pride Month and acknowledge that it is primarily a form of protest because you shouldn’t need a month if it’s who you are. Be who you are. Love is love.

And our advice to graduates, and to everyone fighting a war at the moment: Eat healthy, read books, and get your rest. We need you. We are in, hopefully, and together, a difficult and heavy luteal phase prior to explosive growth of something new.

Reap what you sow. What are you sowing, in your family, in your community?


If you’ve been down to the South Shore recently you know that everything is going into a drought state. We have officially ended our pre-reserved social distancing distributions of the last two months, and are on summer hours: that means we’ll only be open on a pop-up basis if and when we have enough produce to distribute.

Personally and for any farm business we will continue to practice social distancing, in order to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community.

We are working on some gardening articles to help you all with your DIY farming projects at home!

We love our customers, we miss chatting with you, and we’re proud of everyone in the Virgin Islands working together to flatten the COVID-19 curve. Special thanks to our healthcare and essential workers who are STILL on the job to keep everyone healthy and safe and fed.

It’s not over yet. Stay the course. Soldier on. Protect the most vulnerable. Be the change. We got this!

Love, ARTfarm

TeenyTiny…Order form for Saturday ARTfarm Produce Boxes 5/23/20!

Hey awesome you! Conditions are extremely dry on the farm and we are seeing a lot of wildlife and feral animals seeking water. We grow sustainably with rainwater, and this year’s low spring rain amounts on the South Shore will limit how long we can extend the season. This may be the last week of regular distributions, folks, and this week we’re down to 15 smallish shares and 10 teensy shares, plus a shorter list of add-ons. Next week or so if the dry conditions persist, we will be putting this farmshare program on hold and finish up our article on Caribbean gardening! We plan to host pop-up stands for any summer fruit bounty we have available.

Our hugelkulture beds (garden areas with buried logs underneath) are still green, but everything else on the farm and entire South Shore of the island is rapidly turning golden brown and crunchy.

Once again we will NOT BE OPEN for retail shopping on Saturday. For the rest of this season we are going to run socially distanced online ‘box sales’ like we’ve done since March 21st, with pre-reserved pick up shifts of 10 people max, to slow the spread of novel coronavirus in our island community. We want to avoid long waits, traffic issues and crowds forming. As per the latest guidelines from Government House, we require everyone picking up a box to wear a mask, and we will do the same.

Getting a farm share box is as easy as S-A-N, as in SAN-ta’s watching you. Here’s what to do:

  1.   S  is for :  Sign up with our sign-up form (a link at the bottom of the weekly signup page is posted on Fridays, usually by around 10am).
    • Choose ONE pre-selected, pre-priced share of ARTfarm produce (minimum purchase, contents listed below)
    • Choose any add-on items (limited supplies)
    • Commit to a pick-up time slot
  2.   A is for :  Arrive on Saturday at (or wait in your car until) your appointed time in the ARTfarm parking lot on Saturday. Too many people showing up at the same time could risk exposure. Please maintain plenty of space between customers, and between us and you when you approach the pickup table. We’ll be wearing masks as an extra precaution and require that you do the same. We do it to protect you! Please protect us!
    • Bring exact change or a check to drop in the bucket – we are not handling any money.
    • There inevitably are extra items available to add to your box at pickup time, so you may wish to bring some extra small bills or wait to fill in your check amount. Please bring your own pen.
    • Bring your own bags or box to put your produce into. We’ll place your items on the sanitized table, some things will be pre-bagged, you’ll pack your own bags or box for the rest. Wait to bag until we do a final count of your items to make sure we don’t forget anything.
  3.   N is for :  No substitutions or price adjustments. To maintain sanitation and keep things moving, we are not swapping items, handling payments or making change.
    • We’ll do our best to give you options at pickup if we can, to meet or exceed the value.
    • If desired, you can leave any unwanted items from your share on the table and we will pass them on to another lucky customer!

Please contact us immediately by text and phone at (340)514-4873 if you have reserved a farmshare and cannot pick it up. Supply is limited, demand is extremely high and someone else will gladly purchase your share, if given enough time to respond. We have limited time for distributions and they are scheduled. We will hold your box for you and we expect to hear from you. We understand life happens, but please do not leave us hanging after hours, waiting for you, with your food! Our produce is harvested fresh before dawn, and needs to go home with you same day. This is an honor system since we are not collecting payment until pickup.

Choices for Saturday, May 23rd:


smallish farm share, $19, will include:

2 bags of sweet salad mix
1 bunch onions


TEENSY farm share, $7, will include:

1 bag of sweet salad mix


add-on items, limited quantities*

(please add to your total)
1 bag spicy lime-flavored ginger: $4
1 bag red turmeric: $3.50
1 bag ginger: $3.50
1 bunch garlic chives: $2

2 pineapple slips for planting: $4


Additional non-reservable extra items

(bring extra cash or add to your check for these:)
extra bag of salad mix: $7
pineapple fruit: $6-9 (as marked)
papaya: ($3/lb. as marked)
6 zinnia flowers: $2
there may be other last-moment additions available, as usual…


  • This signup form will show you a Thank You page and send you a confirmation email if submitted successfully. One order per customer, please.
  • Having problems with the online signup form?
    • Just try again
    • Use a cellular device (smartphone or tablet) that isn’t using WiFi internet
    • Clear your cache and cookies in your browser/device
    • Reboot your router (unplug it for a minute and plug in again)
  • We are helping people ration, by not allowing any one customer to purchase all of one extra. Sharing is caring. If we have extra, we’ll do our best to let you know and make it available at pickup. Put any additional wishes in the comments box.
  • This signup form does NOT sign you up for a farm email subscription.

Here’s the link to Saturday May 23rd’s SIGNUP FORM
(opens a new window).

 

Petite…Order form for Saturday ARTfarm Produce Boxes 5/16/20!

Great job on staying safe, St. Croix! We are happy to see so many people demonstrate that they care about others. Masks are now mandatory all over the territory for all shoppers and staff, so please come prepared at pickup. We appreciate everyone tolerating the inconvenience of social distancing. The dull ache of not hugging our friends leaves an empty little pit of despair in us all. Fill it with knock-knock jokes, sweet salad mix and ginger, take a brisk walk, and visualize future happiness!

The farm is drying up, only 20 medium shares of one box size this week, and 15 teensy shares of one bag of sweet mix, plus a nice list of add-ons. In another week or two if the dry conditions persist, we will be putting this farmshare program on hold and host pop-up stands for any summer fruit bounty we have available.

Once again we will NOT BE OPEN for retail shopping on Saturday. For the rest of this season we are going to run socially distanced online ‘box sales’ like we’ve done since March 21st, with pre-reserved pick up shifts of 10 people max, to slow the spread of novel coronavirus in our island community. We want to avoid long waits, traffic issues and crowds forming. As per the latest guidelines from Government House, we require everyone picking up a box to wear a mask, and we will do the same.

The ARTfarm always dries up in May. The farm is turning golden brown like a perfect piece of toast. We rely on drought-tolerant crops to keep you eating in season! Viva la dragonfruit!

Getting a farm share box is as easy as S-A-N, as in SAN-to Domingo. Here’s what to do:

  1.   S  is for :  Sign up with our sign-up form (a link at the bottom of the weekly signup page is posted on Fridays, usually by around 10am).
    • Choose ONE pre-selected, pre-priced share of ARTfarm produce (minimum purchase, contents listed below)
    • Choose any add-on items (limited supplies)
    • Commit to a pick-up time slot
  2.   A is for :  Arrive on Saturday at (or wait in your car until) your appointed time in the ARTfarm parking lot on Saturday. Too many people showing up at the same time could risk exposure. Please maintain plenty of space between customers, and between us and you when you approach the pickup table. We’ll be wearing masks as an extra precaution and require that you do the same. We do it to protect you! Please protect us!
    • Bring exact change or a check to drop in the bucket – we are not handling any money.
    • There inevitably are extra items available to add to your box at pickup time, so you may wish to bring some extra small bills or wait to fill in your check amount. Please bring your own pen.
    • Bring your own bags or box to put your produce into. We’ll place your items on the sanitized table, some things will be pre-bagged, you’ll pack your own bags or box for the rest. Wait to bag until we do a final count of your items to make sure we don’t forget anything.
  3.   N is for :  No substitutions or price adjustments. To maintain sanitation and keep things moving, we are not swapping items, handling payments or making change.
    • We’ll do our best to give you options at pickup if we can, to meet or exceed the value.
    • If desired, you can leave any unwanted items from your share on the table and we will pass them on to another lucky customer!

We will have just 20 medium ‘farmshares’ of produce available, and 15 teensy ‘farmshares’ of a single bag of salad greens to which one can add add-ons. You can also order and specify a neighbor, friend or family member to pick up your order.

Please contact us immediately by text and phone at (340)514-4873 if you have reserved a farmshare and cannot pick it up. Supply is limited, demand is extremely high and someone else will gladly purchase your share, if given enough time to respond. We have limited time for distributions and they are scheduled. We will hold your box for you and we expect to hear from you. We understand life happens, but please do not leave us hanging after hours, waiting for you, with your food! Our produce is harvested fresh before dawn, and needs to go home with you same day. This is an honor system since we are not collecting payment until pickup.

Choices for Saturday, May 16th:


MEDIUM farm share, $20, will include:

1 bag of sweet salad mix
1 lb. bag of slicer tomatoes
1 bunch onions
1 bag of mixed ginger and turmeric


TEENSY farm share, $7, will include:

1 bag of sweet salad mix


add-on items, limited quantities*

(please add to your total)
1 pint of cherry tomatoes: $6

1 bag spicy lime-flavored ginger: $4
1 bag red turmeric: $3.50
1 bag ginger: $3.50
1 bunch garlic chives: $2
1 bunch Italian basil: $2
1 bunch Thai basil: $2
1 bunch lemongrass: $2
1 bunch mint: $2

1 Mediterranean fig tree (small potted plant) $15
2 pineapple slips for planting: $4


Additional non-reservable extra items

(bring extra cash or add to your check for these:)
dragonfruit: $5-8 (as marked)
pineapple fruit: $6-9 (as marked)
papaya: (as marked)
pumpkin slices: $3-5 (as marked)
6 zinnia flowers: $2
there may be other additional extra items available, as usual…


  • This signup form will show you a Thank You page and send you a confirmation email if submitted successfully. One order per customer, please.
  • Having problems with the online signup form?
    • Just try again
    • Use a cellular device (smartphone or tablet) that isn’t using WiFi internet
    • Clear your cache and cookies in your browser/device
    • Reboot your router (unplug it for a minute and plug in again)
  • We are helping people ration, by not allowing any one customer to purchase all of one extra. Sharing is caring. If we have extra, we’ll do our best to let you know and make it available at pickup. Put any additional wishes in the comments box.
  • This signup form does NOT sign you up for a farm email subscription.

Here’s the link to Saturday May 16th’s SIGNUP FORM
(opens a new window).

 

How to Plant Your Pineapple Slips

A good pine takes time.

Sooo…you stopped by the ARTfarm and bought some pineapple slips, or a pineapple fruit with its spiny top, and you’d like to grow your own pineapple. Hooray!! Here is the ARTfarm step by step guide to becoming a blissful pineapple farmer. We’ve also made a short video of most of this information! Link at the bottom.

  1. The first thing you will need is patience. A pineapple plant with optimal conditions can fruit in a year but could take three years. Usually it will take up to 18 months for a slip (one of several shoots or runners that sprout from right below the mature fruit) to form a pineapple fruit. If your plant start comes from the fruit’s top (the ‘crown’) it can take two to three years.
  2. Prepare and strip your slip. If your slip has a bulge at the end, like a mini-fruit with dark rough skin, remove that (cut it off). You’ll see some short leaves at the bulb of the end. The emerging roots of the pineapple plant are hidden inside those short leaves. To give your pineapple slip a little head start, peel off a few layers of the leaves (about half an inch along the bulb) and reveal some of those tiny roots. If you are a visual learner, check out our YouTube video linked below that contains a demonstration of the trimming and peeling techniques for the slips.
  3. Age and dry the slip. After removing those leaves, let the slip injury heal for two to three days in a dry shady location. They can sit for a week or longer, without water. No worries. Pineapples are drought tolerant, slow growing plants, so don’t fuss over them like they were lettuce.
  4. Choose your planting site. Pineapple plants are not terribly picky about their location but they have a few requirements. Full sun will help your plant grow fastest. Pineapples do not like caliche (kuh-LEE-chee) soil* (whitish color, limestone deposits, high pH, alkaline). They like good drainage (loose gravelly soil is good) and don’t tolerate waterlogging. If growing in a pot, use a minimum of a 3 gallon pot (with loose soil and good drainage) so you won’t have to repot it before harvesting. In the garden, Farmer Luca likes to plant pineapples on raised beds (or on a slope) so they aren’t subject to flooding or standing water. Also, if mud or loose soil gets into the crown of your pineapple plant, it will rot and die. So keep your digging animals (particularly dogs and chickens) away from your pineapple patch! And remember pineapples are somewhat spiny plants and will get fairly large, so space multiple pineapples at least 12 inches apart and not in high traffic areas.
    Farmer Luca plants his pineapples in raised beds to keep their “feet dry”.
  5. Plant your slips about two inches deep in the soil. Just deep enough to keep the slip from flopping over, but not so deep that soil can get into the heart of the slip.
  6. Don’t overwater your pineapple. Mulching is highly recommended to prevent water loss and prevent the need for weeding. Water a pineapple plant once or twice a week at most.
  7. Protect your baby. In terms of pests, the biggest issue we’ve seen is rodents eating the ripening fruits. Surprisingly young unripe pineapples can be eaten by mice and rats. Set traps, or get your pets to help out.
    Our adopted border collies, Ginger and Spice, vigilantly patrol the pineapple gardens in fallow summer times to discourage rats. We’ve seen these athletic dogs leap all the way over the row of spiny plants during the hunt. This is a viable and much more entertaining alternative to poisons for controlling crop pests on an organic farm. During dry times there is increased pressure from all pests on farm crops and resources.
  8. Harvest! Keep an eye on your pineapple fruits, and as soon as the green of the fruit turns a slightly different color and the scent becomes tantalizing, harvest it and bring it inside! It will continue to ripen off the plant as long as the fruit is full-sized, and some ripening has started before harvesting. This timing of the harvest is a tricky thing to learn… through trial and error.


* “Caliche is calcium-carbonate cemented soil that is formed in semi-arid climates. Calcium carbonate is derived by the dissolution of [coral reefs,] shells and shell fragments … especially during the Ice Age when the sea level was much lower and the beaches were more extensive. Rain is a weak acid, formed by reactions between water vapor and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and it is this acid that dissolves the shell fragments … [Caliche forms in] a semi-arid climate; …when it rains, the volume of water is too small to carry dissolved materials away from the area, and they remain in the topsoil. …Groundwater dissolves the calcium carbonate from [coral and] shells in the surface layer and re-precipitates it a little lower in the surface profile, where it will act as a cement, binding the soil material into a hard substance that is called ‘caliche’, or ‘calcrete’, or ‘hardpan’.” From NPS information about the Channel Islands, CA. Some plants in the Virgin Islands prefer caliche soil (avocado trees) but most crop plants find it difficult to secure nutrients out of the calcium-rich caliche.