Walkers Fresh Veggies CSA Newsletter March 2012
We have been invited to speak at a luncheon that is being held in St. Joe on March 7th.
We, along with four or five other local (Southwestern Michigan) CSA’s will present our farms to a group of local consumers interested in learning about Community Supported Agriculture.
I have been preparing a display, and trying to put together a presentation.
I hope all goes well and we are able to inform as many people as possible about what CSA is and how it promotes the increase in production of local grown food. How it helps to ensure food production is not just left to the large corporations, helps stabilize our local economy, and even puts some local people back to work.
I am going to pick-up the soil for the greenhouses today (Tuesday) and will then be able to start planting broccoli, cabbage and early tomatoes. I have already washed the old flats and dipped them in bleach to kill any root rot that may be on them. We are using all new inserts (these are the little individual cells each plant grows in) this year. We will have to fire up the LP Gas heaters due to the return of winter – but we can’t wait any longer if we want broccoli in time for June distribution.
Response to the Winter Greens add-on has been fantastic and I must resist the temptation to move to quickly and try to plant more than the first two greenhouses. We have never grown these crops in the winter and must keep this at a trial level until we learn what the pitfalls may be. But; it is very nice to see people so excited about fresh green veggies – I really think this may be a great addition to our CSA farm, and a way to utilize the greenhouses that currently sit idle from July through February. We may even want to add a High Tunnel for early spring production at some point. It is quite possible to envision a CSA that has distributions for 10 months of the year with only February and March for downtime.
Recently I was shopping with my wife in one of the large supermarkets –I hate shopping -- but I like to see what is going on in the produce area. Wow! I sure wish I could sell my stuff for the prices they get in the store! I am very proud of the value we are able to offer our CSA members, our Stand customers and even our Farmers Market customers. I know that for more than just a few of our members the subscription fee is not always easy to fudge out of their weekly budget, but I want to say that it is well worth it, I don’t see how you could go wrong unless you just want to eat at your fast food restaurant every day. The $.99 heart attack special is a cheaper source of calories, but you are what you eat – if you eat healthy – you will tend to be healthy.
One trip to the Doctor can cost as much as the entire season subscription fee for a share of great tasting, healthful veggies. So, my friends, be smart –don’t shortchange yourselves in what you eat, because medications do not make up for unhealthy eating. Our focus going forward is to produce food for health, and for taste – I believe the two go hand in hand, and I believe most people want this and are looking for it.
Gasoline price – what will $5.00 gasoline do to our CSA? We have already taken the likelihood of $5 gas into account in our planning. Our means of coping with this is to have enough members in route to make our delivery process as economical as possible. If we can keep the distance between members down to an average of 2 or 3 miles we can deliver for a reasonable cost to us. At these distances the delivery cost of our time is still much greater than for fuel. So – tell your neighbors about us –it helps keep the delivery cost down and makes it possible for us to provide delivery with no added charge. In the end, it makes more sense for one truck to drive a planned route and drop off a box every two miles than for 50 vehicles to drive ten or more miles each to pick-up their shares at our home farm.
Many thanks to the faithful members who have already subscribed again for this year. The support provided in these early months of the year are so very important to our success, and we want you to know we do appreciate your support. All the land rent and the property taxes have been paid, all the seed (except for the potato and onion sets, we pick up in Zealand) have been purchased, and most of the machinery has been repaired and is now ready to go for the year. The next big costs we will have will come later as we begin to plant, and fuel is one of the biggest.
I am going to keep it short and get back to you again in a couple of weeks.
Best wishes from your veggigrowers,
Mark & Carolyn Walker