Let me preface with a quick piece of my history. I grew up in what is known as “Pennsyltucky,” the area in Pennsylvania between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, better known as farm country. My high school was situated between two cornfields, and my grandparents are farmers. So I have some understanding of farming, and a great appreciation for supporting local farmers and agriculture.
In conjunction with reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, I have been researching a plethora of ways that I can help out the earth and buy my vegetables and fruit a little closer to home. My history, paired with this terrific book, has inspired me to look into ways that I can support myself and Jack with more local, delicious produce (and hopefully poultry and eggs soon too!) while supporting area farmers and the whole local foods movement.
I started researching CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture ) at the beginning of the week on www.localharvest.org, and surprisingly found many near our Massachusetts town. The probable issue that Jack and I would most likely face when joining a CSA was having too much produce, risking the possibility of wasting some which is something that I would not even consider.
A CSA is a farm that grows lots of produce, and divides up the bounty amongst families who purchase shares of the farm. A typical share amounts to 10-20 lbs of produce a week, which would easily feed a veggie loving family of 4. The going rate in Mass is between $500-$650 a summer, approximately a 20 week period. For a regular share of produce, a family of four can expect to spend about $40-$50 a week. The season starts in June and ends harvest in October. Most of the produce is grown organically, and the shareholder has the opportunity to assist cropping or distribute to other shareholders. A CSA is a terrific way to support a local farmer, a cultural movement, a learning experience and to make many friends who are all supporting a similar cause.
After Jack and I did some research (well really, I did), we originally decided that it would not be very economical for us to join a CSA given that it would be fairly expensive for just 2 people, and that there was a strong possibility that we would waste some produce. Then I happened to stumble upon Kettle Pond Farm’s website, via the Animal, Vegetable, Miracle website. Kettle Pond Farm is a little further than I originally wanted to travel, but they had all organic half shares for only $300. I was so excited. I immediately emailed the contact, and we got a share!
After many emails back and forth, Steve, the farmer at Kettle Pond, arranged a tour of the farm for the following day. So Jack and I headed on over. I imagined Steve to be a middle aged hippie farmer who lived off of the land and loved helping out the earth. I could not have been more wrong. Steve is my age (24), went to school for Physics but decided to do something that would help others and be more fulfilling. He was absolutely inspiring. He knew so unbelievably much about farming, the earth, chemical compounds, and how to run a CSA (I guess he should know all of this given he is a farmer), but still, he was quite the amazing person. He showed us around the farm, showed us the seedlings, told us about what he was going to plant, and introduced us to the chickens that would begin producing eggs in August. I left the farm feeling so excited about the summer and all of the great produce we would eat and friends we would make, along with learning a lot of farming knowledge from Steve.
So, am I excited? Yes. Should you join a CSA and support a local farm? Yes. Will you join one or support a local farm in some way? I really hope so, because you know what, there is no better feeling in the world than to help your neighbor and the earth (and you get the added benefit of fresh produce to eat everyday!).
For more information about Kettle Pond Farm in Berkley MA, read: http://www.kettlepondfarm.com/