Saturday, January 7, 2017

What we've been eating

Oyster mushrooms in December!

Our favorite salad - dried figs, goat cheese,  and lightly toasted pecans.
We've been supplementing our diet of mostly preserved foods with some fresh finds: wild harvested oyster mushrooms and lettuce from the garden.

Sunday, January 1, 2017


We're taking sign-ups for the 2017 Vegetable CSA now.  A CSA is the next best thing to growing your own food, so if you'd like to eat the kind of food you'd grow for yourself but you aren't in a position to do so, consider joining our CSA!  Lewisville and Winston-Salem pick-up locations available.  Alternatively, weekly CSA pick-ups can be made at the farm after 2pm on Tuesdays.  CSA shares can also be picked up at the Saturday morning Statesville farmers market.  In addition to our basic Vegetable CSA, we also offer what we call the Full Farm CSA, which is a 12-month plan (for which we normally take new members in October/November) that in addition to vegtables, includes a choice of supplemental shares of other products of our farm (flour from grains we grow, dry beans/peas, fruit, eggs, honey, and several other "component shares," plus first dibs on freezer shares of beef, all grown by us on our farm.)  If you're interested in our CSA, please make plans to come visit, and we'll show you around, tell you more about the CSA, and answer any questions you have!

   2017 will be our 13th year offering CSA shares.  A CSA is a partnership with a local farm that provides you a weekly share of produce items and helps make it possible for us to grow a radically homegrown alternative to supermarket-style food/agriculture defined by big corporations, chemicals, genetically modified crops... (For more information about how we farm see what we wrote here and other things on our blog.)  The Vegetable CSA plan consists of 22 weekly shares each with a value of $22 spread out over an approximately 6 month season (from, depending on the weather, roughly the first week of May and continuing through around the last week of October, minus possibly a week sometime during the year that we'll need to take a bye week on our end, leaving at least 3 bye weeks for you.)  The cost of the Vegetable CSA including drop-off to either the Lewisville or Winston-Salem drop-off point is $510 (or $484 for members picking up at the farm.)  We're also offering half season shares at $265 for 11 weekly shares (covering the first 12 weeks of the season with one bye week and renewable for the second half) for first-time members to try out the CSA without making a full-season commitment.  A standard share contains a full assortment of several dozen different seasonal fresh vegetables (tomatoes, onions, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, peas, beans, lettuce, okra...), shitake mushrooms, and other garden and specialty field crops (like peanuts, strawberries...), all from open-pollinated seed and grown without chemical pesticides or fertilizers. In addition to the regular produce items, you can also request things that we wouldn't automatically include as part of your share (plants, honey, soap, candles...anything we offer in our weekly e-mail that will fit in the $22 share.)

  We'll send out an e-mail every Saturday with a list of most of the items we expect to harvest for the coming pick-up day.  Most weeks you'll have the option of e-mailing us requests for customizing your share.  If you're considering joining the CSA, we'll discuss those logistics in more detail when you come for a farm visit.  If you have any requests for customizing your share or if you want to take a bye week, you'll need to e-mail us before noon on Monday.  If you don't e-mail us the default plan will be to send a share (including a full assortment of vegetables, mushrooms, other garden and specialty field crops (like peanuts, popcorn...), etc., whatever we think is at its best each week with maximum variety from week to week) for you to pick up at your normal pick-up location, so you don't necessarily need to e-mail us each week.  (Typically only half of our members e-mail us on any given week.)  What we have to offer changes a lot over the course of the season. Some weeks offer a lot of options for differences between shares; other weeks shares will inevitably all be very similar.  A lot of crops are only in season for a few weeks, so that guarantees a lot of changing variety no matter whether you e-mail us requests for customizing your share or not.  If we expect to have more demand for an item than we'll be able to accommodate, we'll typically not list that item and instead include it in the shares of members who didn't make special requests or whose requests left us room to include those things.  If we're not able to meet requests we'll substitute other items, so that in any case you should receive a full $22 share.  Whether you normally e-mail us requests or not, please tell us what you especially enjoy, and feel free to call or e-mail us anytime you have questions about how to use something in your share.

  Our CSA season should run at least 25 weeks, so you should have at least 3 bye weeks. If you're out of town or want to skip getting a share one week for any other reason, just let us know that you're taking a bye week by the order deadline, 12pm Monday.  If you don't use all your bye weeks, then you'll reach your 22nd (and last pre-paid) share before the end of the season, at which point you'll have the option of paying $22 for each of the remaining weeks to continue receiving CSA shares.

   If you have any questions or want to make plans to come visit call (704-546-5074) or e-mail us.  If you think you're ready to sign up, we ask for a $100 deposit to hold your spot.  Before you receive your first share we also require a visit to the farm. You're welcome to make plans to visit either before or after signing up for the CSA (or if you're not interested in our CSA at all.) This gives you a chance to better understand what our farm is all about, what your partnership with us is about, and what it means for what you'll be receiving in your CSA shares. It also helps us better explain the logistics of our system to first time CSA members and to answer any questions you have.

   The other option we've offered for the last 3 years is the Full Farm CSA plan.  The most basic component of the Full Farm CSA plan is the vegetable share.  In other words, the Full Farm CSA plan is the Vegetable CSA plan plus other things in addition.  We've broken those additions down into ten or twelve categories of farm items, each with a minimum amount that we consider a "share" of that item or group of items.  In order to simplify the number of customers we deal with and in order to achieve a deeper level of cooperation with those customers we're setting the minimum price of the Full Farm CSA plan at $1100 for the year.  To reach $1100 you would need to select most of the shares but we've left a little bit of room at the margins for customization.  The concept of the Full Farm CSA is that we grow and provide as many food groups as possible, including things that wouldn't be practical or economical to sell to the general public, and our CSA members make a comprehensive commitment to our farm in return, making significant changes to their food habits for the sake of eating from our way of farming.  The idea is that we grow first for them, and their food choices begin with us.  That frees us from catering to less informed customers and allows us to farm in the way we believe best, and it enables those that share our beliefs to obtain and to eat food grown in ways that largely wouldn't be available otherwise.  Basically it means you eat more like you would eat if you were growing all your own food, and that's how we farm.  If you're interested in a more comprehensive CSA plan that includes things like the grains that we're able to grow (as flour, cornmeal...), bulk quantities of produce items to preserve for the off-season, dry beans/peas, etc. contact us for more details.