Foust Family Farms

  (Whitsett, North Carolina)
Hmm, give me a sec.

CSA 2021

Don't you just hate it when you forget to "save." Had a really long log entry this time around. didn't think to hit "save" before hitting "post". 

So, I'll just keep it short.

I'm still in the middle of my summer CSA. Was only able to acquire three signups, but they seem to be happy so far. I'd like to think I've given them variety.  had a lot of blueberries to give out. Been raining alot this past two months. Great for the garden and,.....weeds [unfortunately]. 

A local  business owner bought three Full shares [10 weeks] to parcel out as a "gift" to his employees. I deliver them biweekly to his business in Greensboro. And for that matter, I also get a gift. his business generates a lot of pine & oak sawdust/shavings. They bag it for disposal. he said take what I want. i use it for mulch in the veggy garden. B/c his share is biweekly his season won't end till last week of October. Lots of nice goodies to eat in October. 

"The other two [couples] Regular shareholders pick up here at home. B/c there's just the two, I've been very accommodating about missed days and rescheduling. No one's "lost" a share. They get the full 10 weeks, regardless. Their share runs up to Labor Day.

It's been a joy to find that there's at least one adventuresome cook for each member . Did you know that  squash / pumpkin. stems and leaves are edible - they know, now. 

I've decided to do a Fall CSA starting in October,..to last 10 weeks. Am thinking of continuing with doing Sunday pickups [farm] and Wed/Thursday [home / business ] deliveries.

But I'll spread it out over a twelve period to account for any missed days if anyone needs to reschedule for any reason. Or if I have to skip a pickup b/c of sickness or bad weather. I don't like to deliver with snow on the road. Have had too many close calls delivering firewood over the years

,

In the Winter of 2019, I decided to start a CSA for the following year in 2020. I sent the word out in my usual spots, including here on Localharvest. No one was interested. 

On several forums that I belong to, at that time, there were many farmers doing CSAs who were having trouble hanging on to the few members they had. Some farmers were thinking of quitting their CSA, while  others were scrambling for any ideas towards keeping their members interested.

The really big CSAs were having any problems - it was the smaller farms that were losing members.. So I had put the words out and no one was interested; not even a phone call or email. But I didn't want to give up. So, I tried again in January and February of 2020. Again, no interest. My big mistake was that it didn't occur to me to make my intentions known of Facebook.

So, I thought - OK,...I'll just ditch the CSA idea and plant a summer garden for the farmer's markets. I made another mistake. Deciding to go with a summer planting, I figured to buy seeds and bedding plants in April,.. no need to rush. I did buy a half flat of tomatoes the first week of March. I had a lot of saved seeds; but they were all cool season crops - nothing for summer. ...and then the Big hammer of Doom dropped and .....Lockdown! ...in March.

And suddenly, it seemed that anyone who had even heard of a C. S. A. was scrambling to sign up for one or even start one [suprisingly, many who had never grown anything beforehand]. The forums were jumping with the news. Many farmers who'd been scrambling to hold on to a handful of members were now turning AWAY a hundred or MORE!!! after having all ready signed up one or two hundred new members.

And me? Nothing... making the decision to wait to buy seed / plants till April, proved to be a bad decision. I was shut out of the CSA arena. I had to sit on the sidelines while watching the CSA gravy train pass me by. Later that summer I had a bumper crop of blueberries to sell [as did many other growers] but few places to sell because of covid 19 restrictions.

Years ago, from 2006 - 2009 I'd run a successful CSA and had primarily acquired my initial 12 shareholders from LocalHarvest.org [thx] this site was something somewhat new, back then. It was the first time that I'd planted a whole acre of vegetables, just on my own. Dad had always planted a big family garden. An we'd been growing blueberries since 1983 and I'd been selling pints at small farmer's markets since '85.

I was gonna continue with a 2010 CSA, until my Dad had a stroke the nite before deliveries were to start. I canceled it and fully refunded all 18 members' monies. And after that, just never got back around to doing a CSA - till this year.

I was hoping there might be some residual interest in CSAs carrying over to the new year. So, I figured I'd do it right [this time] and use facebook to get the word out,...but ....Me and Facebook parted ways, last year. I was never given a helpful answer as to why I was booted out. I still don't know.

I'd been on facebook for over eight years. Never had any issues. Because of covid 19, money had gotten tight last year, so decided to sell a tractor of FB marketplace. I'd advertised on it months before w/no problems. A couple of farmers saw my ad and came by the farm to check out my farmall 140. They offered less than what i wanted. So, I was in the middle of a conversation with a potential buyer, when FB decided that was just the right time to boot me out.

Their message? "You have been banned from FB for 'violating' community standards." No explanations as to how or for what. Tried to sign back in couple of times - nothing. But a couple of HOURS later, I tried again. What did the dialog box show?

There was an ERROR on THEIR part and I did NOT violate community standards. And they put me right back in. I spent a couple of hours tidying up while on FB and wandering what had happened. Logged out and the next day?...."you have violated......!!!! After several tries, I was given a link to state my case as to why their decision was wrong. But the link I followed led nowhere. so, I'm guessing my account had been hacked. Anyway I'm no longer on Facebook.

So, if anyone wants to get in touch w/me,...Facebook ain't the place. 

Beyond that, I did finally manage to acquire a couple of people for a CSA....3 anyway. One, a business fellow. I'd delivered a load of oak firewood to his mother. She liked what she got and recommended her son. Sold him a cord; we got to talking. Mentioned doing a CSA - he had no idea what it was - but was interested. signed up for three Full shares to be delivered  [biweekly ]  to his business in Greensboro.

He was going to parcel it out to his employees as a "gift".  And after a fashion I received a gift as well. His business generates a lot of sawdust waste. They bag it, before disposing of the bags. He said take what you want. It's mostly oak & pine; I use it as mulch in my produce garden.

The other two members [couples] bought a Regular share that they choose to pick up from the farm. I've been really flexible with them missing a pickup or rescheduling. Both are first timers to the CSA lifestyle. They seem pleased with the results, and one will be renewing up for my Fall CSA.

So I got to do a CSA after all. Hoping this Fall's CSA will do just as well. Am currently signing up for new people. I've slated it to start first week of October to run for 10 weeks. But will spread it out over a 12 week period to account for bad weather or sickness...or any reason they may have. 

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