2013 CSA Farm Shares Available

Here it is the long awaited CSA signups and letter.  They are a google doc.  Feel free to share:)

February 26, 2013
 Hello to all returning and potential CSA members, neighbors, friends and family!
I opened the door to the hen hoophouse this morning, and there it was – it was time – I could smell the earth warming in the hoophouse – I hadn’t smelled it since the fall – the earth is waking up – it’s time, it’s time ..Here we are – at the end of February – seed starting time and CSA sign up time!

 We are in our 10th growing season and we are excited to be now the permanent stewards of these 30 acres here on Quaker Road.  If you haven’t heard, we were finally able to purchase and conserve our farmland back on Halloween – what an amazing 2 year process with Roy, VT Land Trust, South Hero Land Trust, and many other state and federal agencies. We are incredibly blessed to have all the support we do. 

So here we are, we own this land.  Our name is on the deeds, we pay the property tax, the mortgage, upkeep the buildings and the land – really owning is such a strong word – maybe we should be considered caretakers who are paying the caretaking of this land… In the world, we are seen as landowners now.  Who really “owns” land – we like to think of it as stewards, because this land will last longer than us and our children and we are lucky to be here for this time.  Anyways, here we are.

 This year we hope to successfully graft tomatoes using organic , non-gmo root stock to have more rigorous growth in our hoophouse tomatoes,  incorporating all the compost that the chickens, cows, and sheep have made us, grow more heirloom varieties of vegetables and Sadie’s Flower bed, have a interactive website that takes online payment for veggies, build a barn for CSA pickup, a permanent wash/pack area for produce, put water in at the farm (where the hoophouses are), and maybe build a small milk house for our little dairy herd.   With your continued support, we can keep feeding you and your family, our family and our community at large. We continue on working our dream of growing a diversified family farm with produce, grazing sheep for fiber  and meat, sweet cows for raw milk and beef,  poultry for eggs and meat, apprenticeships, and an educational & therapeutic youth farm worker program. We strive to have our farm have a symbiotic relationship with the people, land, grazing animals, and produce of the farm.

We will be offering 50 shares again  this year.  We will have the Individual, Full and Salad Share available. There is still the sliding scale, financial aid is available(through NOFA-VT and the farm), we will take EBT for payments, payment plans, possible bartering and prices will not go up.  We are discontinuing our CSA delivery – unless there are at least 10 + Individual or Full shares in one pickup location that is created by a member. The deliveries are really hard for our family to do – with only 2 or 3 people per site – and have to deliver to 5 or so sites- it is not sustainable for our small farm.  We are sorry for those this will effect.  We welcome you to the farm for pickups.

We also have 1 CSA Individual share membership to barter to 1 person or family that can commit to working 8 hours a week.  Please get in contact with us if you are interested in this. We will also have CSA member work days scheduled once a month where you can come out to the farm and help us with big labor projects that are family friendly. Also, this year we will continue to work on and post on our farm blog www.blueheronfarmvt.com and we are pretty active on facebook too – please “friend” us.

 We want to continue to make organic produce affordable to all and be able to pay our costs. With members buying upfront their vegetables for the season, it helps our costs immensely and we can budget for the rest of the season. We would like to get payment by April 15th. If any of you can pay sooner than that, that would be great since most of our buying is right now through March (I know, I know I should have mailed this in January). Shares will start the first or second week in June. **For those who pay by March 15th – you will be entered to win 5 dozen of eggs or a skein of our organic yarn or those who refer someone to our CSA, you will be entered to win also – the more you refer – the more chances to win.  Just have those people write your name at the bottom of the 2013 membership registration.

We value your support and friendship. If these costs are a hardship, please call us and we can come up with a payment plan. We are also hoping to provide 5 supported shares for families who are in need of this. If you are in need of financial aid this year please let us know and we will get you the financial aid info for a  supported share.  Also we are accepting donations for the Farm Share program that supports our farms supported shares. Last year we were able to give financial support to 4 families from our community and provide extra food to the Round Barn through generous donations from our members. Our goal is to raise $500 for supported shares so NOFA-VT will match it and make a share more affordable to families in our community. If you would like more info, please give us a call. You can send the donation in with your registration form or send it directly to NOFA-VT with “Blue Heron Farm supported share” in the memo.

Because of you, our CSA members, we are able to outreach to our community here in Grand Isle County with food and goodwill.

Last year, we had our fourth year with the Senior Shares at the Round Barn here in Grand Isle. We delivered fresh veggies to 15 residents for 10 weeks and have had community dinners with them once a month since October. We are looking to expand this for this upcoming year and look forward to having them out at the farm with us. If you would like to join us for our monthly lunches, just let us know and we will let you know when they are.  We will continue this program again this year with the hopes of expanding it.

Also, we donated and sold, at a reduced rate, a bunch of food for the Food for Thought program last year, which fed over 125 children in Grand Isle County for 12 weeks. Each week, Blue Heron Farm was able to donate or sell  fresh veggies. Our farm plans to help out again with this year by donating veggies and if any of you would like to help with volunteering on those Sundays, delivering food to families, growing veggies here at our farm or your own place, buy a CSA share for this program, donate money (see our registration form) or with financial support please call Kaight at 372-5843 or give us a call.

We will also be working on growing certain crops for the food shelf here in the county.  If you would like to help with any of this, let us know.  There are times – for example – last summer, a bunch of lettuce mix came up that was ready and we had way too much to sell or give to you all.  We called a few people and folks came out and we harvested over 75lbs of lettuce mix, that we washed, spun, and bagged and brought to the Grand Isle Food Shelf.  None of it went to waste, it didn’t get plowed under, it went right to people in our community.  We are always looking for folks who would like to help come glean veggies for the food shelf – let us know if you are interested.

Thank YOU!

We couldn’t do this without all of you. It is because of you, we made it through last year with the hope for this growing season. Adam, Sadie, Delia and I look forward to walking out to the chickens with you and your children, meeting our sheep and their lambs in the pasture, mooing to Miss Annie, Annabelle and Miss Maggie, picking ground cherries, uncovering treasures of potatoes and carrots from the earth, and enjoying that you know where your food comes from.

When we sit and plan this year and reflect over the last 9 years(!) – we are truly blessed to have this as our work. We are honored that we are one of your farmers and you are our community. Hope you are all well. We have enclosed this year’s CSA brochure. Please pass to a friend if you are going to fill out the electronic version. Thank you and we look forward to seeing you walking in the fields – smelling the basil, having tomato juice run down your cheeks and eating fresh sweet peas again .

Your farmers at Blue Heron Farm,

 Adam Farris, Christine Bourque, Sadie and Delia Farris


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