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).

 

Hot Times…Order form for Saturday ARTfarm Produce Boxes 5/9/20!

Hey farm supporters. Masks are now mandatory all over the territory for all shoppers and staff, so please come prepared at pickup. Temps are getting hotter on the farm. The last watermelon of the season is available this week, and we’ve got a few pineapples for you! Only one box size this week, 40 shares available, tons of add-ons.

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 did for the last two months, 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.

watermelon cut into chunks and bagged in plastic
Sweet juicy watermelon. We pre-cut to make sure you don’t get a dud, and to share the harvest. Heirloom varieties, so toss the seeds in your yard and see if you can get a vine going!

Getting a farm share box is as easy as S-A-N, as in SAN-dy beaches!! 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 box of ARTfarm produce (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 40 medium ‘farmshares’ of produce available, with lots of 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 2nd:


MEDIUM farm share, $20, (only size available) will include:

1 bag of sweet salad mix
1 lb. bag of slicer tomatoes
1 bunch onions
1 bag of mixed ginger and turmeric (regular and mango-flavored)


add-on items, limited quantities*

(please add to your total)
1 pint of cherry tomatoes: $6
2 lb. bag of sauce tomatoes (small & runty but tasty): $6
1 bag teen arugula: $11
1 bag of teen spicy salad mix: $11
1 bunch mixed cooking greens (kale, collards type): $3

1 dragonfruit! Wowzers!: $8
1 sour orange: $1 (1 free if you’re Bev)
5 tamarind pods: $1
6 zinnia flowers: $2

1 bag ginger: $3.50
1 bag turmeric: $3.50
1 bag (mango-flavored) turmeric: $3.50
1 bunch garlic chives: $2
1 bunch Italian basil: $2
1 bunch lemongrass: $2
1 bunch rosemary: $2
1 bunch mint: $2

1 Kafir lime tree (potted plant) $25
1 Pram Kai Mea mango tree (grafted Thai variety) $25
2 pineapple slips for planting: $4


Additional non-reservable extra items

(bring extra cash or add to your check for these:)
watermelon chunk: $6-9 (bagged, as marked, last of the season)
pineapple fruit: $6-9 (as marked)
pumpkin slices: $3-5 (as marked)
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 asking that 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.
  • This signup form does NOT sign you up for a farm email subscription.

Here’s the link to Saturday May 9th’s SIGNUP FORM
(opens a new window).

 

Please Support Local Chefs During the COVID-19 Crisis!

While everyone stuck at home with you (or just you) are probably enjoying your “cooped up corona” casserole cooking and your “bide your time” banana bread baking (again) while under self imposed house arrest, we have to tell you the secret to sanity:

It is Time for TAKE OUT!!!

A luncheon plate of falafel with a green salad from ARTfarm
Mash up the monotony once or twice a week and treat yourself to something delish, perhaps even made with ARTfarm ingredients — that you did not have to prepare. Luca’s lunch, 4/11/2020 from SALT at Great Pond: Ancient grain falafel pita includes sweet salad mix, cucumbers and fresh heirloom tomatoes from ARTfarm.

St. Croix is blessed with a robust and diverse food culture, with many high quality restaurants and imaginative cooks. During the pandemic times, restaurants and their many employees on our island are taking a disproportionately huge hit because of COVID-19 shutdowns. They are absorbing a large portion of the economic injury, for all of our protection in the community. Despite this big downturn in business and major layoffs, our local chefs are still trying to support local farms and food producers, and make people happy with their culinary talents. Please pitch in this month: give yourself a break from the kitchen marathon, while keeping their businesses and employees (and ours) viable during this economic downturn. We urge you to order some takeout or delivery! (Some restaurants offer delivery; most otherwise, you can use Island Direct, a delivery and errand service that delivers from restaurants, supermarkets and local farms.)

Check out these genius STX Restaurant Bingo game cards as a quick and playful guide to many local restaurants and food producers that continue to find ways to supply the public with food, offer to-go or delivery (from the brilliant minds at GoToStCroix.com)!

Island food blogger Anquanette Gaspard, “Cruzan Foodie,” is continuing to update a more exhaustive list of restaurants in the USVI offering offering takeout meals during the coronavirus crisis. Send her your links, favorites, updates and omissions!

And there is now a great Facebook page called “Takeout STX” you can check for daily specials from some of these restaurants and promote your favorites!

We initially hesitated to recommend ordering takeout. Like everyone else, we were concerned about family members getting sick, about food safety, and maintaining social and physical distancing. Some early information at the beginning of the crisis gave mixed advice on the safety of ordering takeout. But as scientists have continued to learn more about novel coronavirus and we have continued to read and research, we feel confident recommending that even the most anxious people can safely enjoy meals from their favorite restaurants, by exercising an abundance of caution with the following precautions and common sense:

  1. Know the source of the food. Choose restaurants you trust, that are clean, with fresh food and good turnover rates. (COVID-19 is not a food-borne illness, but getting one could compromise your immune system.)
  2. Order and pre-pay (include generous tips!) over the phone or online if possible. (Ask for no plastic cutlery or napkins; you’ll use your own.)
  3. Be careful to avoid direct contact with the staff and/or delivery person. Use a mask, and have them set the item(s) down before you retrieve it, maintaining at least six feet of distance. During pickup, you can ask the staff to place your food on the back passenger seat or floor of your vehicle.
  4. Once home, set the food packaging temporarily on a surface that you can sanitize. Carefully unpack the food takeout containers and place the food from the container onto your own clean dish or storage container, not touching the food directly, and discard the packaging. A big spatula, tongs, or a friend with clean hands, can help.
  5. Take out the packaging right away and discard; sanitize the surface where you unpacked the food. Wash your hands thoroughly before enjoying your meal!

Chef Chris Booth and his co-owner/partner Kelly Booth of SALT at Great Pond, on St. Croix’s South Shore stop by the farm multiple times per week to pick up produce. We asked them how things are going in the New Normal for their restaurant, which just celebrated its first birthday. “Well, it’s tough right now for everybody in this industry. We’ve had to minimize staff,” says Chris. “Sales are down at least 50%.” We asked him about food safety in the time of coronavirus. “Restaurants are already following very strict USDA and FDA safety regulations. Our kitchens and serving surfaces are cleaned and sanitized more often than a home kitchen. We use every precaution, and can bring your order right to your vehicle.” The crew at SALT have been coming up with some inventive international special menus that change constantly, including Asian, German and Mexican. “It’s fun to do, and we are offering a ton of food for the price. Trying to make it a really good value, and keep people happy in these difficult times.” We can vouch for the generous serving sizes!

Café Christine in Christiansted Apothecary Hall courtyard had briefly reopened for takeout, offering their reknowned lunch salads and sides in family-sized half or one-pound servings and whole pies of their famous quiche and desserts. But Chef/caterer/owner Lisa Coates has decided to wait until June with a plan to roll out a formal menu for pre-orders. “The restaurant industry is changing,” she observed. Lisa has been an early-morning regular for many years at ARTfarm, stopping in before 7am in season to stock up her café on fresh organically grown ingredients. Check out and like her Facebook page for updates!

We also checked in with owner Frank Duggan at Duggan’s Reef on St. Croix’s East End, celebrating their 37th year as one of the longest-running, top seafood and fine dining joints in the territory. “We were closed for nine and a half months after Hurricane Maria,” reflected Frank. “We then had a great eighteen months, before this crisis happened. We’re working with our landlord and doing what we can to stay alive. We’re hoping, if safety precautions allow, to reopen June 1st, with a reduced number of tables spaced further apart, with staff wearing masks, and continuing strict sanitation and lots of extra handwashing.” Currently the Duggan’s Reef crew has been reduced from 17 employees to five, operating a full menu takeout service six nights per week. Frank reports that they are often doing less than a third of their regular sales – only 15 to 55 dinners served per night instead of 75 to 90. “But some customers are taking care of our waitstaff with big tips right now,” Frank said gratefully. “We will remember those folks when we are able to open again.” Check out their online menu, call to place your order, then enjoy the scenery and make a roadtrip out to Duggan’s – maybe pack some picnicking supplies, and stop and enjoy your meal at Cramers Park!

A painting showing fresh fish carcasses and fruit peels in a compost bin, gleaming like jewels.
One of Luca‘s 2019 paintings about renewal. Fish carcasses and fruit peels gleam like jewels in a compost bucket. These items break down along with clean hay and woodchips to create a nutrient rich non-synthetic fertilizer. One of the reasons our tomatoes, fruits and greens taste so good at ARTfarm, they are fed good food. By using local resources, we create a valuable biodynamic resource on the farm, reduce the use of fossil fuels to ship in fertilizers, and slow the flow of organic material to the landfill, where it is a biohazard.

In addition to purchasing our ingredients regularly and making delicious meals with our food, the following rockstar chefs and their teams get extra stars, because they also help ARTfarm make highly effective carbon neutral soil amendments with essential organic compounds and trace minerals for our gardens. They do this by reserving clean fresh fish and lobster carcasses from their kitchens that go into making our compost – and inspire Farmer Luca to make paintings. These chefs are reducing the load on our landfill and making something beautiful two times over. Special shout out to these composting superstars:

  • Chef Ken Biggs of Galangal* – has been regularly delivering fish carcasses to the farm for YEARS.
  • Chef Joe Stedman and owner Frank Duggan at online menu – save us bins and bins of lobster parts, (special thanks to ARTfarm volunteer Don Brown who puts these stinky bins in his truck and delivers them to us!) Check Duggan’s Facebook page for the daily takeout menu.
  • Chef Chris Booth at SALT at Great Pond – picks up ARTfarm produce multiple times per week, and hooks us up with fish carcasses when the fish are running!
  • Chef Ralph Motta of Motta Cuisine – continually innovating with farm ingredients, regaling us with stories of his goats, and bringing lobster carcasses from catering gigs.

More ARTfarm takeout recommendations:

    • Chef Digby Stridiron and his staff from AMA at Cane Bay and Breakers Roar Tiki Bar have also been regulars at the farm since long before the shutdown and are continuing to make great meals with local produce. Chef Digby is also preparing meals for My Brother’s Workshop during the crisis.
    • Chef Joe Smith at his famed Frederiksted BBQ joint Smoke STX is a former ARTfarm employee and farmer, and scrupulous about buying local meats and produce whenever possible. His food is off the chain. Take a leisurely drive out to Frederiksted and get some takeout!
    • Chef Isumyah and family at Vegetarian Creations put so much love in their food. Located in the Barron Spot Mall, Isumyah sources just about every possible ingredient locally and serves up amazing homestyle vegetarian/vegan fare including veggie lasagna, amazing fried cauliflower, and an array of handmade fresh local juices and health tonics.
    • Yonka and Damon at Café Fresco in Christiansted are doing socially distanced takeout. Farmer Luca’s favorite is a classic on the menu, the Phatty burrito. Yonka also makes delicious soups, and her flaky crust breakfast quiches-for-one are not to be missed! Check out their international dinner takeout specials, too!
    • One of our customers treated our family to Un Amore‘s family sized meatloaf dinner from Chef Frank Pugliese and it was AWESOME! And a good value, we got more than one meal out of it! Frank and Kat have been huge supporters and drivers of our island’s local farm to table movement since way before it was trendy.
    • Chef Jamey Hughson at Zalatina Foods is another local-food chef who has been offering pre-prepared family meals this year. Just heat and serve!
    • Joe at Joe’s Bar and Grille in Sunny Isle next to WAPA employs 18 people, serving amazing comfort foods in large portions. We love his eggplant parmesan, his mashed potatoes and his garlicky cooked greens. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed he and other small local businesses can get in on the next round of PPP relief loans!

Please support these talented artists and their employees, (and the many other chefs we have on the island who are scrambling to stay open,) and give yourself a little staycation in the kitchen!

ETA: *Galangal has decided to close for takeout and plans to reopen when they can safely offer dining in. Zion Modern Kitchen has decided to close for now. 😦

Stay home, stay healthy and be a helper.

Love, ARTfarm

SOLD OUT…Order form for Saturday ARTfarm Produce Boxes 5/2/20! Masks UP!

Hey farm supporters. If you missed it, we posted a summary of the Small Space Container Gardening for Beginners class hosted by UVI’s Cooperative Extension Service this past Monday. Lots of tips and advice for starting a small home garden!

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 did the last seven weeks, 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 new guidelines from Government House, we require everyone picking up a box to wear a mask, and we will do the same.

About seven watermelons of small to medium size in a grey tub
The watermelons are still producing! We have some amazing heirloom varieties! Grown to meet or exceed NOP standards! Precut so you never get a dud!

Getting a farm share box is as easy as S-A-N, as in SAN-ctimonious!! 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 10am).
    • Choose one pre-selected, pre-priced box of ARTfarm produce (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!
    • Bring exact change or a check to drop in the bucket – we are not handling any money.
    • There may be 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 15 large and 20 small ‘farmshares’ of produce available, with lots of add-ons. You can also order and specify a neighbor, friend or family member to pick up your order. And if you are a small family and it works for you, consider alternating between large and small from week to week to give others a shot at ordering a large box.

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, waiting for you, with your food! Our produce is harvested fresh and needs to go home with you same day. This is an honor system since we are not collecting payment until pickup.

Box choices for Saturday, May 2nd:


Small farm share, $15, will include:

1 bag of sweet salad mix
1 lb. bag of slicer tomatoes
1 small bunch onions


Large farm share, $47, will include:

1 bag of sweet salad mix
1 bag of baby spicy salad mix
1 bunch of mature arugula (great for soups and sautées)
2 lb. bag of slicer tomatoes
1 onion bunch
1 carrot bunch with green tops for juicing
1 herb bunch (random selection)
1 bag of mixed ginger and turmeric (regular and mango-flavored)
4 seasoning peppers
2 hot peppers


Additional Limited Quantity items*

(please add to your total)
1 big watermelon chunk: $6
1 bigger watermelon chunk; $7
1 biggest watermelon chunk: $8
1 pint of cherry tomatoes: $6
1 lb. bag of slicer tomatoes: $5
1 bag sweet mix: $7
1 bag teen arugula: $11
1 bunch mixed cooking greens (kale, collards type): $3
1 bunch garlic chives: $2
1 bunch of 8 Kafir lime leaves: $2
1 bag ginger: $3.50
1 double bag ginger: $7
1 bag turmeric: $3.50
1 bag (mango-flavored) turmeric: $3.50
1 first dragonfruit of the season! WAAA magical!!: $8
1 Mediterranean fig tree (potted) $20

*Bring a handful of extra cash if you have it, there may be other additional extra items available, as usual…


large share Herb bunch options

(Large share = 1 herb selection. Choose from what’s available at pickup, or we’ll pick some for you, but these are the basic options we should have, you can start mulling it over 🙂

  • Garlic chives
  • Italian basil
  • Mint
  • Rosemary
  • Summer Savory (?)
  • Lemongrass

  • This signup form will show you a Thank You page and send you a confirmation email if submitted successfully. One order per customer, please.
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  • We are asking that 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.
  • This signup form does NOT sign you up for a farm email subscription.

Here’s the link to Saturday May 2nd’s SIGNUP FORM
(opens a new window).

 

 

Small Container Gardening for Beginners!

A small garden bed is surrounded by rocks. Garlic chives and mint grow in partial sun.
A small wicking bed at ARTfarm holds water in a reservoir below the soil surface and produces herbs, lettuce and flowers, even in the dry season. The solar lamp in the center blocks frogs from entering a PVC pipe that is used to fill the reservoir.

Some of you who signed up for farm shares in the last few weeks have expressed interest in learning to grow your own food. We have great news! UVI’s Cooperative Extension Service will be hosting multiple FREE online video classes on Small Space Container Gardening for Beginners with Vanessa Forbes and friends, with the first session on Monday, April 27th at 10am. Everyone who signed up on our farm share order form was sent an invitation, and quite a few of you attended! Thanks!

If you missed out, the course will be repeated again. Also, below is a rough outline of what Ms. Forbes covered in the class. You can also check out this list of books to jumpstart your ideas. We are also still working on a longer article for this website with more information on gardening in the Caribbean. Soon come! Of course there are always lots of things to learn on the Internets about subtropical farming, we enjoy Rob Bob’s Permaculture YouTube Channel for ideas about container gardening!

Notes from Small Space Container Gardening for Beginners…

…held on Zoom and hosted by Vanessa Forbes, Horticultural Agent at UVI’s Cooperative Extension Service (summarized and combined here with a sprinkling of bonus thoughts from Luca, Christina, Bob and Rudy):

  1. Start with a DREAM list of what you’d like to grow, and then come up with a PLAN.
    • Start researching if the crops you like can grow in our climate, if they like wet soil or good drainage, full sun or partial shade. Hint: to grow well in a hot place with lots of bugs, you need crops that can grow quickly and be harvested before they rot or get eaten. There are varieties of crops that are specifically bred to grow better in a southern climate, so use sources of information specific to tropical climates. UGA is one source and here is a list of crops they recommend.
    • Ask your neighbors (with similar conditions) what crops have been successful for them. Literally small differences in exposure, wind, soil type and rainfall can make a huge difference. Things we could grow at Southgate in the old days (1998-2007) we can’t grow at ARTfarm (2008-present), and vice versa. So ask your neighbors! Wearing a mask! From six feet or more away!!
    • Visit the VI Department of Agriculture. In the greenhouse area (all the way in the back, east of the abbatoir), they sell slips (baby plant starts) to the public, for selected popular vegetable varieties that are proven in our climate.
    • With COVID-19 affecting businesses and shipping, some online seed companies are only supplying commercial growers right now (spring 2020), but local hardware stores may have seed.
    • Water is a precious resource. Start small and expand your project once you have done some experimenting!

  2. Location is important. SCOUT the spot for your container garden.
    • What conditions do your dream crops need? Is your proposed spot sunny/windy?
    • Is there enough space? Info on seed packets will often include recommended spacing between plants for optimal yields and plant health.
    • Is there a water source nearby? Does any excess water draining from your pots have a place to go?
    • Is it located in a spot where you’ll pass by frequently and remember to check on it?
    • Is it accessible to pets/pests/wildlife who might damage or teef your crops? Think of deer, iguanas, trushie bird dem, neighborhood cats looking for a litter box, chickens, rambunctious dogs… but don’t forget that some wildlife is important for pest control and pollination. Observe closely and you’ll begin to learn who eats what.
    • If you decide to grow on bare ground, don’t forget about root competition. A raised bed garden on the soil surface in your yard that is regularly watered will become a mecca for every surface tree root within 50 ft. and you will soon be watering a forest around your garden, unless you cut and trim a “root moat” around your garden.

  3. CREATE imaginative spaces for your plants.
    • MINI crops like a single herb, succulents or flowers can thrive in a large tin can, an old shoe or purse, a teacup or coffee mug…
    • MEDIUM sized crops like taller herbs, pollinator attracting flowers, can grow in planters, windowboxes, tires, vertical pallet gardens.
    • LARGE crops like lettuces, cooking greens, can be grown in vertical pallet gardens, raised beds, tires, cinderblock raised beds
    • DEEP crops with a substantial taproot like tomatoes, carrots, root vegetables; or with a vining tendency like cucumbers or melons, will need a larger garden bed with deeper soil depth.
    • Drainage is important. Most crop plants do not want to sit in heavy wet clay soil; they need aeration at the roots. So make sure to toss a few pebbles or some mulch in the bottom of grow containers or otherwise make sure the soil doesn’t clog up the drainage holes.
    • Fabric or poly reusable shopping bags past their useful life for groceries can be repurposed in the garden as a permeable growbag. You can place several of them together to create a little garden bed.
    • Tires as planters are a great way to UPCYCLE. Cut them apart with a sawzall power tool or simple box cutter, using safety protective gear in case you hit a steel belt radial while cutting. Tires are still being studied for the uptake by plants of chemical leaching, so to be on the safe side for food crops, line tires with water permeable landscape fabric/cardboard/paper, and/or consider painting them to seal in any dry rotting synthetic rubber polymers that may escape (of course paints are polymers too!). Use tire planters in partial shade to slow their degradation, and remember they can be stacked up to accommodate deeper rooting plants.
    • Shipping pallets are very popular for repurposing as planters, as they are often made of naturally termite-resistant tropical hardwoods. There are entire Pinterest channels devoted to their clever use either whole or disassembled for all kinds of gardening, storage, woodworking and crafting. Selecting safe, clean, untreated pallets is important so that they don’t contain harmful chemicals. Look for pallets stamped ‘HT’ for Heat Treated. (Pallets without the HT stamp may have been treated with highly toxic methyl bromide, which could leach into your crops!) Pallets can be used flat on the ground as is, filled with soil as a raised bed with plants growing between the slats. They can be wrapped with landscape fabric, propped up on end, filled from the top with soil, and propped up or hung on a wall as a vertical garden. You can place four of them on end in a box formation attached at the corners, to create a composting bin.
    • Plastic shipping barrels and old rum barrels make functional and even beautiful containers for planting. Drill holes for drainage.
    • Kiddie pools or wading pools can be repurposed as bottom waterers for your containers or growbags. Drill some holes in the sides a few inches from the bottom to allow excess rainwater to escape without drowning your plants. Anyplace in your container garden where water may sit, treat with a little food-safe soap or neem oil (from the hardware store garden section) to keep mosquitos from breeding within.
    • Cover your small garden area with a wire mesh tent or other barrier to discourage the hungry critters from feasting and exploring your little Eden. You will want pollinators to be able to get in, so use an open mesh such as hardware cloth or chicken wire!
    • Finish your containers with safety in mind. Make sure there are no sharp edges or tripping hazards to catch on clothing or skin, when you’re done.
    • Make sure you CLEAN any old repurposed or previously gardened containers prior to use. Chemical residue, funguses and plant viruses, even eggs from pests can remain on old containers, so clean them as if your food was going to touch them. (It is.)

  4. Now that your containers are ready and clean, let’s SOIL them.
    • Most trucking companies on St. Croix sell ‘topsoil’ but it’s often subsoil – soil that is heavier with more mineral content, with much less organic matter (humus) in it. Caribbean islands generally have very little topsoil. Create good topsoil by mulching, resting, crop rotating, aerating, and compost amending, your soil.
    • Bringing in topsoil from elsewhere on the island may invite weeds and pests to your property that were not already there.
    • Organic potting soil from the hardware store may be your best choice.
    • Mulch (chipped plant debris from Hurricane Maria) is available at the Department of Agriculture and by appointment at Body Slob dump site in Kingshill. You can also mulch with yard clippings, but be careful not to mow seedy grass as mulch unless you love weeding!
    • Pickup truck loads (or a few buckets) of sheep manure for composting and soil amending can usually be purchased through the Schuster family at Echo Valley Farm. Stop by their tire shop to inquire. The number is (340) 719-9944.

  5. Start your grand garden EXPERIMENT! (Here are some rando tips!)
    • Don’t count on huge yields that replace your need to grocery shop right away.
    • Remember that the soil in containers and pots will dry out much faster than ground garden soil. So keep checking moisture levels (a terracotta “worm” that changes color is a fun way to monitor soil moisture – or your finger is a higher tech, less expensive option you’ll probably never misplace)
    • The soil in container gardens can get compacted much faster than in a ground garden plot. Be sure to recycle your soil and repot your container garden on a regular basis to fluff things up.
    • Your plants will continue to remove minerals and nutrition from the soil, and you’ll need to amend it from time to time (hopefully with homemade compost from your own kitchen!). Repotting, rotating, and cleaning your containers when trouble arises, can reduce the effect of residual problems compounding over time that could lessen your success.
    • If you really want to get fancy with your bad hippie organic food-growing self, start learning about companion planting.
    • In general, watering in the evening saves more water and is more useful for your plants.
    • Drip or emitter irrigation conserves water, and lessens the spread of some plant funguses, diseases and pests compared to simply spraying your garden with a garden hose.
    • Gird your loins to the idea that you may have to grab an icky caterpillar or grasshopper or stink bug with your bare fingers and squish it. Unless you want to share all your crops with nature.
    • Weeds can be gorgeous. Native pollinators love them. Allow some biodiversity.
    • Observe, observe, observe. As with any other health concern, it’s best to detect an issue early on instead of when it is too late. Watch your plants like a hawk. Learn the difference between plant-destroying bugs and bugs who eat those other bugs. Don’t just try to kill everything with six or more legs!

There will be more classes coming up from UVI CES on container gardening. We’ll try to post more information as it emerges! If we forgot anything, please include it in the comments (link at the top of the article)! And PLEASE share pictures of your mighty garden with us!!