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Blue Star Acres CSA/ 4B Ranch


Let me introduce myself. I'm Laura Benson, proprietress of BlueStar Acres Farm and 3rd party CSA service. I'm a responsible adult (49) & mother of 5. I ( and my Granny before me) have been doing the "Large extended family" equivalent (over 50 members average- Benson- Kennedy- Hammond- Jamison- Vaughn- Leblanc- LeBouef- Boren- Duncan- Cortez- Poole- We're ALL related! LOL) to a CSA for quite some time now, but I have never had a farm stand or sold at local farmers' markets. My Dad raises our beef at the 4B, another side of the family does eggs & poultry, another a fruit orchard, another pecans,another runs the horse stable, etc.. The original location of the family gardens were at my Granny's place ( Located , what is now the area east of Friendswood - BOY, has that area changed a lot over the years!) . I joined her for many a lesson and ,as she aged, took over the gardens. We were organic before we even knew the word! My grandmother would NEVER have allowed poison in her garden and as far as she was concerned, "God and nature gives you everything that should go into growing your food." We moved the garden after my Granny passed on , 22 years ago, to my Dad's place, the 4B, in Rosharon and to my place, BlueStar Acres, S/W of Alvin. We have raised beds( filled with organic compost with HEAVY mulching) for increased yield, better drainage , pest & temperature control. We have our own well for water & hope to use water conserving drip irrigation , whenever possible. A small green house for winter production ,is hoped for by or before next winter, for tomatoes mainly. We have an extremely long growing season here on the Texas Gulf Coastal Plains and, if covered by cloths , many types of produce can be grown up to a hard freeze (and if protected- year long). We also have quite a few other local growers that have joined us in growing fresh organic produce from their area organic gardens. Most of these local gardeners are retired full time farmers or stay at home moms that are really happy to have the income provided by the CSA, so members can really feel good about where thier produce is coming from. Of course ,those asking for yearly memberships will "bump" those on the waiting list asking for monthly memberships, etc. This is what we have in mind for shares: Full share $1920 paid yearly-(share based on family of 4 ) / 1/2 yearly contract share-$960 a year (2 person share) / 1/4 yearly contract share -$480 a year(1 person ) / full share paid bi-yearly paid every 6 months-$1100 1/2 share paid bi-yearly-$550 1/4 share paid bi- yearly-$275 $240 full share monthly / $120 1/2 share monthly / Sorry, we no longer offer 1/4 share monthly subscriptions. We ask for your honesty in the "composition" of family share groups and keep it to people actually living in your home with you. If your neighbors wish to join , they will need to get their own memberships. I can email you a copy of the contract (if you have a printer, 2 copies -1 for you & 1 for me- I will sign and drop of your copy when I deliver.) Your delivery date depends on where you live- I try to head out in the same side of town for my deliveries for gas economy & environmental reasons :-) Example FULL SHARE delivery looked like this: tomatoes(much better variety in spring/summer) , green bunch onions, HERBS: cilantro,basil, oregano parsley,dill,sage,rosemary, thyme,etc. 2 acorn squash,or 2 butternut,or cushaw, zuchinni, grey striped sqash, Yellow crookneck squash, Lima beans, or green beans, or black eyed peas, or pintos, or Purple Hull Peas, new red potatoes, grapes, grapefruit, lemons, tangerines, oranges, strawberries, This is just some idea of what a share looks like, It fills an ice chest fairly full. It changes with what is ripe at the time, sometimes slightly bigger- sometimes a little smaller. You'll be happy to know (if you are a MATER LUVER) that we have a lot of tomatoes . Anna Russian ,Big Beef, Black Prince , Brandywine, Crazy, Mantina & Marianna's Peace , Azoycha, Black Cherry, Black Prince, Carmello, Green Giant, Lemon Boy, Marvel Striped, Persimmon, Purple Haze , Stupice, Sun Sugar, Texas Star Everyone gets an assortment of the different varieties as they come ripe. I will DEFINITELY look into the other varieties you suggest Please be aware that , delivery times can vary at the last minute.This is because : a)Mother Nature does not practice daylight savings time b) there is fog this time of year & must burn off before we can even enter the gardens, going into an organic garden , when it is wet, is a big no-no! Any fungus, mildew or any of hundreds of pathogens will spread quickly with your movement through a wet garden. c) the sunshine is hot & hot is bad for your veggies ,once they've been harvested d) I've got a lot do do & that is as fast as I can get it out to you , if you want it the same day as harvested e) Mother Nature is not very considerate of other people's time. She has her own schedule & doesn't have any regard for ours. ! The schedule is meant to be a (very rough) guideline as to when we HOPE to get deliveries out. It is not, by any stretch of the imagination, something to set your calendar by. Now that I've given you all the down sides to being in the CSA, let me point out some of the "ups". The average box for a full share this year has weighed at least 20 lbs. and had at least 8 different items in it ! As any of you that have shopped in the grocery stores for organic produce (when you can find it) know, $4 a pound prices are not at all unusual. 15 pounds X $4 is SIXTY BUCKS! Even members at the monthly rate are getting $60+ worth of produce for less than $50 a box. Not too shabby a deal. Please keep in mind, if you will check, most CSA 's only promise to have harvest a few months out of the year. There WILL be spots on the veggies(just trim them off) . We are VERY subject to the whims of weather, Old people (growers) getting sick, trucks breaking down, kids falling 25' from trees, bad cash flow, etc., etc. etc...... but that's why we're so cheap! LOL! We KNOW it's a pain in the neck ,for you to have to wait. We know it's hard to plan a menu around. This is not meant to be your sole food supply. You need to keep "backup" in the freezer. It IS meant to be an cost effective way for members to get REAL food when their lifestyles don't allow them to grow their own. That's why they call it the slow food movement, Mother Nature won't get in a hurry for anyone ( not even grumpy old ladies like me!) , she takes time. Things worth having always take time. And although I told myself I wasn't going to mention this, I've decided to anyway. Just in case anyone is under the impression I'm trying to get rich doing this. I pay myself according & relative to how much the CSA brings in month to month. I have never had a month that I paid myself a thousand dollars yet. Most months I have only paid myself $800. I get up at 6 a.m. every morning , even weekends & I've taken off 1 week when I was so sick I literally could not see straight & even then I took care of the watering. My average bed time ,after deliveries, catching up on emails, and bookkeeping is 1 a.m. I have a college degree & I can do something else if I want- I don't want to. My parents & family are not independently wealthy, heck they we aren't even moderately wealthy! LOL! And I'm sure as heck not! I have 5 kids & elderly family members that all need some of my time too. I don't do this for the money. I do this because I love it, because I feel it is my life's calling, because I feel it's important. If I did it for money & glory- I'd have quit a week after I started. BUT, Most of all , I want to say THANK YOU to all our members who have & will continue to support me & the CSA. You "get it " & GOD BLESS! Sincerely , Laura Benson BlueStar Acres CSA Alvin, Texas Community Supported Agriculture Delivered to your home

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