As pleased as a new Mama, I am announcing – our first CSA basket! Let me take a moment to explain what a CSA is. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, or Community Shared Agriculture, depending on who you ask. The concept is simple and brilliant: the grower (me) offers shares in the year’s harvest for either an upfront fee or a share in the labour. In exchange, CSA members get a weekly basket with a bit of everything the garden has to offer that week. It’s seasonal, very local, and eliminates the problem of have to grow enormous amounts of food, just to get the attention of a supermarket buyer. Also, it gives small operations, like us, the chance to sell organically grown food even though we are miles and miles of red tape away from certification. Members are welcome in our garden any time, and can talk directly with us about the food they are bringing to their table. Many farmers use the CSA structure as a way to grow their businesses until they are big enough to compete with other market or grocery chain growers. Seeing as so many organic farms fail, simply because they are not able to get their product to the right market of shoppers, CSAs bridge the gap and help many Mom and Pop farms stay afloat.
Alright, enough of all that, check it out:
All together now: “Awwww! So adorable!” Okay, maybe not quite as cute as my real kids when they were babies, but I’m a proud parent all the same. Darn, I should have gotten a picture of my kids holding the basket. That would have knocked your socks off.
This first week was little sparse as far as veggies go, considering our very dry spring that has thrown our cool season crops for a loop. Nevertheless, we are able to include a bag of greens, spring onions and rhubarb. We also had artisan jam, freshly baked bread made by a mysterious, amazing, local baker ( okay, it was me ) and 1 dozen eggs from the Orillia Community Garden Egg Co-op.
I’ll try to post each week what is shaping up for the baskets, so you can salivate along with me. And if you’re in the Brechin area, and would like to become a member this year, we still have spots available, and would be happy to pro-rate depending on when you join.
Tomorrow I’ll be picking up our tomato seedlings, I’m really excited! See you soon!
Okay, so we’re about to weeks away from our first CSA basket. This morning, I surveyed the garden, and one thought went screaming through my mind – more. I need more. More spinach, definitely more scallions. More radishes! So what does this mean? More garden beds.
You see, over the winter, I spent hours making complicated plans for this garden. It had to produce lots of food, but still be a beautiful place for the community to visit. It had to employ permaculture principals, companion planting, crop rotation, attract beneficial insects – everything. So I consulted all the books, made countless diagrams, cursed the sky at the fact that I hadn’t paid attention in drafting class, but in the end, I had the most wonderful garden plan ever created. I was giddy with self-congratulation.
Come April, the plan went into effect. No amount of blistered hands, aching backs or swear words hurled at the electric screwdriver could stop me from executing it. Raised beds, eco lawn, wildflower meadow, it’s all just about in. So why were bright red lights flashing in front of my eyes this morning? Why, when I looked out at the results of the last 6 weeks of work did it look incomplete? No, not even incomplete, barely started?! There was only one thing to do. Grab a shovel and dig like a madwoman until this feeling went away.
Well, I’m pleased to say it worked. I created two gigantic extra beds right in the middle of the garden, and walked away with a comforting sense of satisfaction. “Ha!” I say to my doubting subconscious, “Just try to get all pessimistic now, buddy!” Who could have negative thoughts when viewing the results of so much human power? Not me, certainly. Tomorrow I’m attacking those two beds with all the seeds and transplants I can muster. First CSA baskets, here I come.