Farm Conservation Center
Community Supported Agriculture
Sunday, 6 December, 2009
Greetings CSA Members!
We hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and are happily gearing up for the rest of the holiday season. Annmarie and I ate a lot of turkey and gave a lot of thanks for families, friends and all the households who helped support our CSA this year and we are now happily gearing up for the 2010 season.
Our overwintering staff of three, Dave Hubbard (transitioning from Intern to Farm Manager), Nate Ela and Meghan Morris, are working on project after project, such as gradually acidifying the soil in the beds in the lower end of the Barnyard Garden where we plan to establish blueberries this spring, repairing and expanding our irrigation system, finishing the walk-in cooler we started this summer (with the help of CSA member, Ted Harlan), building half a dozen new tables, digging a huge new hole and moving the outhouse and assembling a vegetable oil handling system that will let us run a couple of our vehicles on (free) used vegetable oil instead of (expensive and non-renewable) diesel fuel. When the weather precludes outdoor work, they're busy taking an inventory of our remaining seeds and compiling a seed order for the many varieties of each of the fifty-some crops we grow, updating our crop history spreadsheets so we can effectively rotate the crops in each of our 370 beds or tackling the ultimate challenge of organizing the barn.
One of the preparations for the upcoming season that I'm attending to is trying to develop an organizational budget that will allow us to avoid the nasty cash flow deficit situation we've encountered this year. How can we make sure our operation is at least as sustainable economically as it is ecologically and socially? I researched the share prices and season lengths of the other CSAs in the area and found that every single one of the thirteen closest CSAs charges more than we do or has a shorter season (or both). We didn't raise our membership price at all last year, so I hope you can appreciate that this year we have no choice but to do that (since we won't be increasing the number of memberships budgeted). You'll see from the attached 2010 Membership Form that our Family Share is now $750 but that we are also offering a discount to encourage full payment right away, which would be very helpful to our cash flow predicament. I certainly hope to be able to provide you with more than a $2.30 per week increase in the value of your share and feel that some of the things I mentioned in the paragraph above are, by themselves, some assurance of harvests more bountiful than last year's: three very capable workers continuing into their second season (the first time I've ever been able to look forward to a Farm Manager trained here, on this farm), an improved irrigation system, a much improved cooling arrangement and about 200 new blueberry bushes!
We will also be enhancing our educational programs in 2010 and Annmarie will be looking for help in resurrecting our Children's Garden in the early spring so that your children will have their own special place to visit on each pick-up day and be able to experience a little hands-on food production. As a natural complement to our children's garden, she will be offering week long Summertime Cooking Camps for kids in age groups from 6-18. Children will learn first-hand where their food comes from and master some of the basic kitchen skills necessary to prepare great meals! Also, with the help of herbalist and CSA member, Cindy Koser, she's planning a medicinal herb garden so that members will have the opportunity to learn how to cultivate, harvest and use these herbs for their own benefit. More specific information on these and other programs will be released by early spring.
It's an exciting time here at Maysie's
We greatly appreciate your involvement with Maysie's
Think Globally, Eat Locally
Maysie's Farm Conservation Center
15 St. Andrew's Lane Glenmoore, PA 19343