Posts Tagged ‘CSA’

Eat Local, Support Your Farmers

Brandywine tomatoes

Beautiful Brandywines

Lately, the big buzz is about eating local. So what does that mean exactly and why should you?

LocalHarvest.org says it best:

Most produce in the US is picked 4 to 7 days before being placed on supermarket shelves, and is shipped for an average of 1500 miles before being sold. And this is when taking into account only US grown products! Those distances are substantially longer when we take into consideration produce imported from Mexico, Asia, Canada, South America, and other places.

We can only afford to do this now because of the artificially low energy prices that we currently enjoy, and by externalizing the environmental costs of such a wasteful food system. We do this also to the detriment of small farmers by subsidizing large scale, agribusiness-oriented agriculture with government handouts and artificially cheap energy.

Cheap oil will not last forever though. World oil production has already peaked, according to some estimates, and while demand for energy continues to grow, supply will soon start dwindling, sending the price of energy through the roof. We’ll be forced then to reevaluate our food systems and place more emphasis on energy efficient agricultural methods, like smaller-scale organic agriculture, and on local production wherever possible.

Cheap energy and agricultural subsidies facilitate a type of agriculture that is destroying and polluting our soils and water, weakening our communities, and concentrating wealth and power into a few hands. It is also threatening the security of our food systems, as demonstrated by the continued e-Coli, GMO-contamination, and other health scares that are often seen nowadays on the news.

These large-scale, agribusiness-oriented food systems are bound to fail on the long term, sunk by their own unsustainability. But why wait until we’re forced by circumstance to abandon our destructive patterns of consumption? We can start now by buying locally grown food whenever possible. By doing so you’ll be helping preserve the environment, and you’ll be strengthening your community by investing your food dollar close to home. Only 18 cents of every dollar, when buying at a large supermarket, go to the grower. 82 cents go to various unnecessary middlemen. Cut them out of the picture and buy your food directly from your local farmer.

WOW! I emphasized that last sentence. I knew, and you probably did too, the general idea, but I never knew the money figure.

We have tried, in the past, to sell to markets. Typically they will only give us half the cost of what they sell the veggies for and because we are not certified organic, even though we grow like we are, we only get prices for non-organic veggies. That’s one of the reasons why we decided to become a CSA and sell directly to the customer.

Working the farm as a CSA is a lot more work than packing everything up and selling it to a store or restaurant, that’s for sure. But if we did that we’d miss out on so much; we love our shareholders and we meet the most interesting people; we see how appreciative our shareholders are and how much they love the veggies; we get to share gardening and recipes, tips and they share with us and it’s just more fun.

Bottom line: Michael Pollan says we have 3 chances a day to vote with our fork, and by doing so we support our local farmers, make new friends, try new veggies and eat better, more nutritious food. Vote today!

News, News and more News

Snowy tomatoes

Snowy tomatoes

We hope you are weathering all the storms, where ever you are. In October, during the zillion miles an hour winds, we had a huge oak hit the barn, smashing the roof. Horses were scared but OK. I was freaked out, I have a thing about trees falling on me. Long story for another time. Due to my anxiousness over falling wood, we had the oak trees nearest the house cut down. I felt and still do, feel like a tree murderer. I was sad about having them taken out, but I needed to do something; my anxiousness was getting bad.

That was 3 days before the snow. We had 6″ by Monday morning; trees and branches were falling all around us. Boy was I glad we had those trees removed. I really think the house would have been hit with some of them.

After the storm this week, more branches fell, I think the ones that were broken by the snow. On the bright side, we have enough wood for many years.

six inches of snow in shingle springs

Garden under snow

FARM: We are moving forward and will have shares available in the Spring. Watch out for emails notifying the when and where’s. I am so looking forward to warm, sunny days in the garden. Plus harvesting and eating good, organic veggies.

We did plant some winter veggies and what we were able to pick was great tasting. Some of the cauliflower was small and full of aphids. I had to throw away a couple of heads, but we did manage to eat about five. Broccoli was good too, and believe it or not, many flowered before we could pick them. The red kale didn’t do very well; small and tough. Broccoli rabe and collard greens grew well. Brussel sprouts are still growing, same with celery. The snow killed all the potato plants; we’re hoping the potatoes under the ground will put out more leaves soon. Spring onions and garlic are doing well.

Snow Angus

SHARES: As previously mentioned, we will advertise shares in the Spring in this email newsletter. More info on that later.

Many times we have been asked if a shareholder has to work on the farm for their veggies. In the past, we have not had this option, but this year, we are thinking about offering the opportunity. We don’t have the particulars sorted out just yet, but if you are interested, let us know. We can sure use the help, as we want to expand the farm.

We are also looking at offering egg shares. We have a new egg person lined up, who loves her hens and feeds them organic food. We are also looking at having honey, flowers, and other items for sale. Also, if you grow veggies organically and have more than you can use, we are interested in purchasing or trading with you. Contact us and we can discuss.

Garden in early summer

PLANTING YOUR GARDEN: If you are thinking about having your own garden this year and don’t know where to start, may we suggest Square Foot Gardening. Last year was our first year that we used the method for 99% of our little farm and we were very happy with our results. It’s very hard to imagine most veggies growing in just 6″ of soil. But we took the leap of faith and rebuilt the top garden with raised beds, filled with soil and planted. Everything we normally grow grew great and we had abundant harvests. Plants grew better with this method compared to the typical method of growing in the ground. We will continue to rebuild and grow with this method as it was very successful. If you are interested, we still have some books for sale at $20 and/or you can check it out on the internet. Hopefully, this Spring, we will have some intro classes on the method in the garden. If you are interested, please let us know.

Now’s the time to purchase your seeds, if you haven’t already done so. Many nurseries now have bareroot trees, asparagus and berries. Seed potatoes should be coming in soon too. If you’d rather shop in the comfort of your home on the computer, you can find all of these items at many seed companies. Just make sure they have the safe seed pledge which basically says they do not sell any GMO (genetically modified organism) type seeds.

Birdfeeder under

CLASSES: Speaking about classes, we are considering offering some garden art classes at the farm. Some ideas are mosaic stepping stones, dragonfly wire art, gourd art, bird baths, bird feeders, etc. If you have ideas or just want to create something fun to place in your garden, let us know. We are open and excited to share new ideas with everyone. More info on that in the coming months.

SHAMELESS PLUG: Now that I have your attention …. many of you know that the company I worked for, as a graphic artist, for the past 18 years sold and all of the employees were laid off. As much as I look for a job every day, I have yet to find a permanent position, so I am in the process of creating my own job(s).

Yes, the farm is one, but the income pretty much covers the expenses. And yes, I hear you say, “Why bother?”. A short answer is, we love to grow veggies, eat veggies and meet interesting people.

I have started to pet sit for Priceless Petsitting in Shingle Springs (ask for me). This is a part time job where I come to your house and/or I will board your dog in our house, as a member of our family. During the Christmas holidays we had two female great danes. They were fun and enjoyed running around our 5 acres with our dog, Angus.

Discoverbowen.com

Along with the pet sitting, I have started my own business providing graphic services and web site design. Recently I completed a logo design and business cards for a local florist and will work on their site soon. I am working on a simple site DiscoverBowen, which is a friend of mine who has the magic touch. Read my testimony on her page. This site is not complete yet, but you’ll get the idea. Another project I am working on is Equine Directory Online. This is El Dorado County’s answer to a horse phone book. I’ve been writing blogs and maintaining the site, soon to have a design revamp, plus design ads and publish the magazine in the coming months.

So, you can see I am keeping busy, making jobs for myself. If you are in need of any of these services, I’d appreciate a shout out. Thanks for indulging my shameless plug.

E-you in the coming months for more farm news.

A teaser or something to look forward to.

TeaserThis pic was taken last year in the Rain Forest Garden, right about the middle of our season. It gives you a good idea of what we have to offer our subscribers. As you can see, we set up “Farmers Market Style” and our subscribers pick their veggies according to the share size they have purchased.

As you can see, we love tomatoes…hope you do too! The long green and red beans in the front are Asparagus Beans or Yardlong Beans. They are sweet and tender and I hope we get more this year. Last year the earwigs nibbled them up and we planted them three times. This year looks to be better.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait!