Terra Incognita

"Celestial crops carry me home
These ancient technologies strengthen my bones
I know a place called love
No one bothered me there, no I was all alone

Will you join me?
Could you possibly be
The one I sought?
The one I fought for?

A place I'd be
Able to see clearly
The beginning and end
I want to begin."
--Bradford Cox

(Ed. note--6/2/12 If you are interested in the newly available Webster Groves Thursday CSA shares, please email at jason.frontwardsfarm@gmail.com instead of using the sign-up form. All info is accurate (so please read it all) other than delivery info and season length, which will be determined based on interest as the market season wraps up. THANK YOU!) The beginning of each season on the farm brings a special kind of unknown hope. As with most endeavors, our minds are filled with images of past experiences. But if there is one certainty about farming in southern Illinois, it is that everything is uncertain. Consecutive years are rarely alike. Rainfall amounts and temperatures fluctuate, sometimes wildly, but isn't this what makes life interesting? It is why growing an increasing diversity of varieties is so vital on small produce farms. We just never know which fruits we will see in our minds, when looking back with wonder on the 2012 season.

Last year, we distributed 15 full shares worth of produce for 30 weeks, from April to November. We plan to expand our available memberships this year, including a few work shares, which will enable us to accomplish larger tasks that require many hands on a more regular basis.

There have been some changes regarding our season length (from 30 to 38 weeks) and the payment options to allow for more flexibility. We hope to send weekly newsletters via email that will include info on what you should expect for the week and other happenings at the farm.

We installed 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 have increased to 175 laying hens, and will again raise chickens and turkeys for meat for interested members. These will again 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 the meat is 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 years offering a CSA have 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 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. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to contact us.

Frontwards Farm 2012 CSA

The weekly cost of a Full Share for the 2012 season is $25.00. The season will run for 38 weeks, totaling $950.00. If you prefer a Half Share ($15.00), the seasonal cost is $570.00. A $100 deposit is required upon signing up, and the first payment is due by February 1. (Ed. note--6/2/12 If you are interested in the newly available Webster Groves Thursday CSA shares, please email at jason.frontwardsfarm@gmail.com instead of using the sign-up form. THANK YOU!)(See the sign-up sheet for payment options.) In return for this early commitment to the farm, you will receive half to full bushel of 6-12 different veggies, fruits, & herbs per week, plus one dozen eggs. We encourage you to find someone to split a share with if you feel it will be more than you want.

We have had inquiries for shares to be donated to local charities, and we will offer a 10% discount to individuals or groups who wish to do this. Payment may be made according to the regular scheduled options, and the discount will be deducted from each payment. You may choose from Bethel A.M.E. Feed My Sheep, Good Samaritan Ministries, or The Women's Center, all in Carbondale, or the Union County Food Pantry in Anna, and we will make arrangements to deliver directly to the facility each week. We will also donate produce equivalent to 10% of our weekly sales.

Everything is grown in raised beds, using bio-intensive methods, without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, with the long term sustainability of our land in mind. Questions and comments regarding specific produce and practices are encouraged, as are farm visits.

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 can be donated to a local food pantry if you will be out of town for an extended period.

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 others 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.

If you would like to become a member of Frontwards Farm C.S.A. for the 2012 season, please follow the link to our Sign-Up Sheet.

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

Thank you.


Anonymous said...

Where are your pick-up locations?

Anonymous said...

i thot the same thing,, where are your pick-up locations,,, can we pay on line?

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