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(St Anne,IL)As a direct market farm, I strive to serve two main markets: CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and farmer's market. While I also grow for restaurants and markets, CSA is my main thrust. I believe in the tenets of CSA and like knowing the people for whom I grow vegetables and fruits. It is also very beneficial for the people I serve to know where their food is grown - bringing back a connection between the farm and the consumer. In this vein, my CSA program is old fashioned in the concepts that drive it. First, I grow many heritage or heirloom varieties, with an emphasis on flavor. Second, I pick my crops at the peak of ripeness so they not only taste good, but also contain the high nutritive values that develop within the last few days on the vine. Additionally, I pick and deliver within 24 hours as much as possible so the crops are fresh when they arrive at their destinations. In keeping with this concept I write a weekly newsletter to my members with on-farm news. I want my members to intimately know what it takes to grow their veggies. In addition we have two farm parties (farm tours) a year so people can visit the farm, get close to nature and see first hand what we are doing. We are now certified organic with ICO (Indiana Certified Organics).We use no synthetic pesticides, fertilizer nor herbicides, allowing nature to have her way. We have found that over time, our fields are balanced within the overall scheme of nature with little to no intervention required from us. I began farming as a second career following a chronic illness. I healed myself through eating healthy vegetables and herbs I grew on our land. As I embarked on my own personal venture into large scale gardening, I found that not only was I sick, but the land was sick as well - as a result of having been in traditional agriculture for 20 years. I began to see the connection between our health and the health of the land - I saw that we could not possibly have healthy, nutritious crops grown on unhealthy land. The connection was vivid. Hence, I began a two-fold healing process. I wanted to be a good steward of my land, healing it as I healed myself. Today I walk in the field and see nature vibrantly alive around me and rejoice at the beauty of what nature can do if we allow it. Today our fields are alive with worms, toads, snakes, birds and multitudes of lady bugs and butterflies; everything happily balancing out the ecology of the land.
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