Saturday, February 28, 2009

Why Choose a CSA?

So, why should you choose to join a CSA?
First, freshness of the food. In most cases, it is picked from the garden the same day you take it home. There are no long shipments from somewhere far away. Most conventional produce you buy is picked before it is fully ripe so it can sit longer in the grocery store. We don't pick out of the garden until it is at it's peak of ripeness. This ensures a better flavor.
Secondly, the nutritional content of the food. Conventional produce is grown in depleted soils--it has less vitamins and minerals than home grown produce. We enrich our soil with compost, natural fertilizers and cover crops. This ensures a healthy and nutritious crop.
Third, freedom from chemical contamination. Over 70,000 chemical poisons have been used in agriculture in recent years, many are still in use. No one knows for sure how any of them interact with each other in the soil, groundwater, or air. Or most importantly, what impact they have on people. These chemicals are designed to kill living things (weeds, insect pests, etc.) Why would they not do any harm to us? Synthetic chemical fertilizers are no better.
And lastly, support of your local grower and community. You are buying from a local business and keeping your hard earned dollars in your own community and country. Plus, you know something of the ethic in which your food was grown, and you get a sense of what farming is all about (the good and the bad) during the 20 or more weeks of seasonal connectivity to the farm.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

What We Plan On Growing For The 2009 Season

This is a general list of what we plan to grow for the 2009 season:

Sugar Snap Peas
Sweet corn
Lima beans
Summer Squash/Zucchini
Fresh Cut Flowers
Winter Squash

Things we will be adding in the growing seasons to come:

Sweet Cherries
Free Range Eggs
Possibly honey

Saturday, February 14, 2009

What is a CSA?

Our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) is based on the Subscription Farm Model. This means the farmer provides fresh produce on a prepaid basis to a group of customers for a given season. By participating in a CSA, you are not only getting the freshest chemical free produce available, you are supporting your local farmer and making a connection with the land that your food is grown on.
Currently we have one general growing season, Summer. It generally begins in mid-May and goes through October, with around 20 or so weekly deliveries/pickups. Each week members of the CSA will receive a bag or box of fresh produce--whatever happens to be ready in the garden that week. Boxes may contain less in early spring as the growing season begins, but we will make up the difference in value later in the season when the garden is in full swing.
We are currently planning on having on farm pickup only, but if we receive enough interest in certain areas, we may plan on a day we can drop off produce to make it easier on our customers. A newsletter will be included in each bag or box to help keep members informed about what produce varieties are included for the week, recipes for the produce, and what's happening at the farm.
A membership for this year (2009) will be $400. This includes enough fresh from the garden produce to feed 2-4 people and fresh cut flowers on occasion every week until the end of the season. If you feel this is too much produce for you, consider sharing with a friend. If it is not enough for a larger family, consider buying two shares or buy extras at our farmstand. This year we will require that the full amount be paid upfront at the beginning of the season.
We are currently accepting new members. Because this is our first year, we are accepting a limited amount of memberships with the hopes of expanding in the coming years. If we fill up and still have interested customers, we will start a waiting list in chronological order of when we received the initial inquiry. Please contact us if you would like to join by emailing us at picketfencefarm(at)gmail(dot)com.

Welcome to Picket Fence Farm!

Picket Fence Farm is a small family run farm located in Marion County, Iowa. We grow healthy produce and fresh cut flowers free of any chemical pesticides, herbicides, or synthetic fertilizers. It's an old-fashioned mix crop farm with produce that has grandma's fresh from the garden taste.
We run a small CSA and an on-site farm stand. Our first objective is to provide adequate quantities of produce to our CSA subscribers. If there is a surplus of produce, it goes to the farm stand, where it is available to any customer, including subscribers who want extras.
This is our first year of operation, so we plan to start small and add more options in the coming years. We have plans to add fruit trees, berries, an asparagus patch, free-range eggs, possibly honey, and would love to join with another local farmer to bring our customers home grown meat free of antibiotics and hormones. Please stay tuned for what the future holds here at Picket Fence Farm!