"At home I serve the kind of food I know the story behind."
--Michael Pollan

We are once again offering produce shares for the 2011 season through Frontwards Farm CSA project. Last year, we met met our goal of 10 shares and plan to double our available memberships this year. We learned a lot about ourselves and about knowing some of the faces we were growing for, and have a more focused anticipation of the upcoming season.

There have been some changes regarding our season length (from 22 to 30 weeks), we lowered the weekly cost of a share (from $30 to $25), and changed the payment options to allow for more flexibility. We will send weekly newsletters via email that will include info on what you should expect for the week and other about happenings at the farm. We are in the process of installing a 2,2oo sq. ft. high tunnel, giving us five times the growing space we had last year for season extension. We have fine tuned seed orders based on last year so that we were able to order larger quantities of the varieties that did well for us, and eliminate some that were disappointing. We have also increased the variety and amount of perennial crops available. Finally, we doubled the number of laying hens and Cornish Roasters we are raising, and added a limited number of turkeys to the farm. These will be 100% free range this year, as we have purchased portable electric net fencing that will be used in conjunction with mobile housing structures. While these are not part of the weekly CSA deliveries, we will be taking partial deposits so that you can reserve them in advance, and help us with part of the expenses.

Our first year as a CSA reinforced that there is no better approach than one that puts the producer and the buyer in direct contact. That is the idea at the root of the CSA movement. Community Supported Agriculture “shareholders” purchase part of the season’s produce before it is even grown. This shifts some of the farm’s annual income to the winter and early spring, when the farm incurs most of its costs. The start-up money allows for investments, from seed and tool purchases to equipment repairs and upgrades. These components, and others, are as critical to the survival of the farm as the soil itself. By providing some income during this important time of the year, you help to balance the expenses and workload, which ultimately increases the productivity and sustainability of the farm.

What follows here is the detailed outline of our CSA. My hope is that we have addressed the main issues, with some details to be decided on with the members. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to contact us.

Frontwards Farm 2011 CSA

The weekly cost of a Regular Share for the 2011 season is $25.00. The season will run for 30 weeks, totaling $750.00. If you prefer a half share, the seasonal cost is $400.00. In return for this early commitment to the farm, you will receive 1/2 bushel of 6-12 different veggies, fruits, & herbs per week. We encourage you to find someone to split a full share with if you feel it will be more than you want.

Everything is grown using bio-intensive methods, without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, with the long term sustainability of our land in mind. We refine the varieties we grow and experiment with new techniques every year. A list of varieties will be available shortly, as our seed orders have been made,and filled for the most part. Questions and comments regarding specific produce and practices are encouraged, as are farm visits.

Furthermore, you will always have the first opportunity to take advantage of other offerings as new products become available. This is a life-long venture for us, and our hope is for you to stay with us as the farm grows. One of the most exciting parts of this growth is sure to be our focus on season extension structures, as we strive to offer produce year-round. As a result of our involvement in an NRCS (The National Resources Conservation Service) research project, we received a grant to install a new high tunnel that will help move us towards this goal, increasing our season by two months this year.

What is expected of members?
Be Vocal--Feedback is always encouraged, as it is vital to the development of the farm. We want to know if you want more or less of a certain item, or a different variety or type of produce all together. We can’t improve if you don’t tell us how.

Be Flexible--Growing food is unpredictable. Every year brings variations in pest and climate pressures. A bad year for tomatoes may mean a bumper crop of peppers. Our search for the best method for growing the best varieties is met with success and failure.

Be Reliable- Timely payment is critical. Pick up your box as scheduled or arrange for a friend or neighbor to pick up your share if you will be unable to. Shares that are not picked up will be donated to a local family.

There are some things to think about when considering participation in CSA.
Among those:
--How do you like surprises? Each week the contents of your box will vary based on
the season. This not only allows us to enjoy the true bounty of our region, but keeps the menu interesting.
--Do you like to cook? There are many items that are best eaten raw, but we would not suggest eating butternut squash this way. Preparing meals presents a great opportunity for family time, and is the final step in bringing the food to your plate.
--Are you a creative cook? Some items may be new to your kitchen. This could lead to variations in favorite recipes or new ones all together. With the internet, a world of ideas and experiences is at your disposal, and if you are like us, experimenting a little will bring out the artist in you.
--Do you support local, sustainable agriculture? Your membership in our farm makes this a reality, and will hopefully be as rewarding for you as it is for us.

What still needs to be determined?
--Delivery location-Deliveries will be made to a central location, most likely one in Carbondale (the Co-op?)and one near Marion. This will be determined as membership fills up, based on convenience for all involved. Farm pick-up is certainly welcome, but this will increase overall fuel consumption, which is always a factor to consider when striving for minimal environmental impact.
--Delivery day/time-The preferred time would be mid-late afternoon. This would allow same day harvest of all produce, which could be done during the coolest part of the day. With regard to the day of the week, we plan to harvest and deliver on Tuesday or Wednesday this year. Members should plan delivery prior to the main shopping day of the week to allow for meal planning based around available produce.

If you would like to become a member of Frontwards Farm C.S.A. for the 2011 season, please follow the link to our Sign-Up Form.

Any items of concern can be addressed in the comment section at the bottom of the sign-up form, or via email.

Thank you.


Scott said...

Have you considered adding bee hives to your farm. You might then be able to offer local honey as part of the produce. We might be able to provide a bee swarm(s) to you if you create a hive(s).

jason said...

Sorry I missed this Scott. We considered bees last year, but time got away. Feel free to send me an email if you want to talk further.

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