We are now into March. Many other CSAs charge a late fee for joining after March 1st. The ideology behind a CSA is that payment is received up front for vegetables in the summer. The desired payment time is December through February. This allows us the ability to plan ahead, order seeds based on the families who have signed up for the CSA. When payment is received in June, that defeats the purpose of the CSA. As you know, the slowest time for a typical vegetable farmer is the winter months. An income coming in from CSA sign ups assist us during the lean months to order the supplies that we need for the coming months. We do not want to charge a late fee like other CSAs do.
Viewing the Tedx Manhattan Change the Way we Eat program yesterday made us realize that many people cannot afford to purchase fresh vegetables with the piddly amount of money they receive from the government or if they are even lucky to receive any money from the government. Imagine finally getting a job after a year of looking and getting paid $9/hour. You are raising two children on your own. You applied for assistance and are told you make $2/hour more and do not qualify for any assistance. Chef Boyardee in a can is your children’s meal while you eat a cheese sandwich on Wonder bread. We have decided to give a CSA full season share to a needy family in our town this summer. This is insignificant to the amount of hungry people out there but it’s a step in the right direction. In the following years, we may donate a share based on the number of CSA signs up, i.e. for every 25 families that sign up, we donate 1 full season share; for every 50 families that sign up we donate 2 full season shares. Part of life is to give and this is one of the ways we can give. We also want to share our knowledge with people who want to grow the way we do. There are many back yard gardeners who have a simple plot of land to grow some vegetables for their family. We have rock dust available for sale at a very modest price compared to what they sell it for commercially – another way of helping out our community.
We will be having CSA deliveries this year to Nottingham, Concord and the Alton/Barnstead line. A very good friend of ours lives in Nottingham. She travels to the farm and picks up her orders as well as others and delivers them to her friends in Nottingham. Why? Because she believes in supporting us. She loves the taste of our vegetables – they taste the way vegetables should taste. If you live or know of anyone who lives in these towns that may be interested, please forward our information along to them. If you have been thinking about signing up for our CSA or the pay ahead card, we encourage you to do so now. We would like to thank the families that have signed up already. Thank you. Keith and Michelle
Keith and I attended the Tedx Manhattan Changing the Way we Eat Viewing Party today in Concord. It was a free event with donated food for both lunch and dinner. This streamed live from New York City. The event was about what different organizations are doing in the United States from bringing local food to the school system, educating those children on where your food comes from, local food movement, food awareness just to name a few. It was particularly interesting that a community (and I cannot remember what state this was in) instituted a 2% tax on junk food and reduce the tax on organic food by 5%. Many of the talks were very moving. Some of these folks are so passionate about their work on this subject. It is really aspiring. There are many, many organizations that focus their work on the food movement. Some of them that were mentioned: Digital Farm Collective, Living Library, Welcome Table, Environmental Working Group, Food Revolution, food policy action. We admire the many, many people who spoke at this event today and the countless hours they dedicate to this cause. We encourage you to join an organization that resonates with you. Currently in our State, the Granite State Farm to Plate passed the house, next up it needs to pass the senate. Keep an eye out later this year, the Environmental Working Group will be launching a website, specifically a food database which will list toxic free products you can buy. They base it on the ingredients, how processed and nutrition. Currently they have 1,500 brands and they hope to have more before the website goes live. They currently have EWG Skin Deep website which is related to health and beauty products. They will tell you which products are better for you. Imagine actually putting makeup or lotion or shampoo on your skin and not chemicals?
Some of you may know that we began eating gluten free in January, 2013 by choice, not because we needed to. After doing much research, it really is amazing how bad gluten really is for our bodies. Gluten is contained in many forms. Some I am sure you are familiar with, wheat, durum, spelt, barley, rye. There is even gluten products contained in soy sauce. It is hidden in many different things. You really have to read the labels. We started going to a naturopath last year and had our blood tested in May. My thyroid level was very high. It came in at 46. The normal range is below 20. I was five months into eating gluten free. I have to wonder what it was prior to January. I just had my blood retested in January of this year. I’m happy to say it has dropped below 20. I was and continue to take licorice root capsules each day and continue to eat gluten free. I am so pleased that my thyroid is now in tip top shape. It just goes to show you that you don’t always need prescription medicine to make things “right”. Natural remedies work just as well.
Tiz the season – maple syrup time. Started tapping our property yesterday afternoon and finished today. All tapped in – 360 taps. We got it done. We also got the main line up on the leased property today. What a leg work out! We also have another property we are working with this year. We expect to have about 1,000 taps this year. Also every excited to use our R.O. (reverse osmosis) machine.
Maple weekend will be March 22 and 23. We will be participating this year. Join us. We will have tours of how we do this. We will also have syrup tastings right from the pan and will have some maple syrup for sale.
Keith and I just got back from a 3 day conference in Somerville, MA attending our second Soil and Nutrition Conference. We had the pleasure of listening to Graeme Sait and his colleague, Joel Williams speak about soil health and human health. They both are from Australia. Graeme began his talk about the reason he does what he does. When his daughter was young she had an accident and was in a coma for three month. He made a promise that if she came out of it, he would do something that would help the world. Luckily, she came out of her coma and after driving around trying to decide what he would do, he decided to educate people about nutrition. He has been doing this for 20 years. He speaks to many organizations and government officials throughout the world. He met with the head of a large grocery chain in Australia with their scientists. They were so impressed with what he had to say that they requested every farmer that provided them with produce to grow this way. Right now this one chain of several grocery stores will only buy produce from farmers who grow nutrient dense vegetables. Word has spread and folks would only buy produce from this chain because the taste was so remarkable. Because of reduced sales in other supermarket’s produce section, another chain has gotten on the bandwagon. It sure is nice to see this. Graeme actually met with the Dole Corporation and has been consulting with them and it appears that farmers who provide Dole with produce will also be growing this way. Graeme travels nine months out of the year to spread this education. We applaud him and the work that he has done. He has written a book and is in the process of writing three other books.
Graeme mentions the work of Dr. James Hansen. He wrote a book entitled Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and our Last Chance to Save Humanity. He is about 76 years old and has worked on climate change for 50 years. ALL of his predictions have been accurate. If they continue to be accurate, we have four years left to make major changes. One of the big problems is the carbon that is in the air. Carbon should be in the soil, not in the atmosphere. One of the major reasons this happens is conventional growers grow on the same land year after year. They take from the land, but they never return anything to the land. If we just increased our organic matter in our soils by 1% that would solve a major problem. NOFA-MA who co-sponsored this conference, made a challenge after listening to Graeme’s climate change talk. They are going to challenge every NOFA-MA member to increase their organic matter by 1% this year. We certainly plan on doing it and hope others join the cause. We hope any homeowner with a garden plot, big or small, will join the challenge. Every little bit counts. Spread the word. Do some research. We need to do this.
We have been growing this way for two years. This summer will be our third. We continue to learn and every year our produce gets better and better. We are growing on a new 3 acre plot this year where we will be adding many amendments to get our organic matter up by at least one percent. If you do not have a garden, we encourage you to purchase your produce this summer from farmers who do grow this way. Your body will thank you and your palate will thank you.
On a final note, our summer CSA sign ups continue on our website: http://www.stillseekingfarmllc.com. It is our hope that we have the honor of providing you with vegetables the way they ought to taste.
SPECIAL: Time to clear out last year’s maple syrup to make room for this year’s maple syrup. We are running a special 25% off our syrup currently in stock. Stop by the farm, we take credit cards. We should be around all weekend, we are typically outside building the barn so may not be around to answer the phone unless we come in for warm up breaks.
Now that the holidays have come and gone and our New Year’s Resolutions kick in. We hope that one of them is to eat healthier and support your local farmer. We are sending out a reminder about our CSA sign ups. CSA stands for community supported agriculture. It also was designed to provide farmers money prior to the growing season so that essential seeds, tools and materials could be purchased in advance of the summer season. So, with that in mind, anyone who signs up by January 31, 2014 and for those who have already signed up, will be entered in a drawing to win the following: quart of maple syrup, jar of blueberry jam, and a $25 credit towards any purchase from our farm. There will be three winners for one of each of the above. We hope 2014 brings you great health and abundance and we hope you will consider us for your source of fresh nutrient dense vegetables this summer. Thank you.
The link to our website CSA page can be found here: http://www.stillseekingfarmllc.com/market-share-csa.html. You can sign up via the website with a credit card or your can print out the form and mail us a check.