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Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Changing Face of our Farm

For the past four years, we've been a vegetable farm.  And we also did pastured poultry and eggs.

This year, we're a grass-based meats farm and we also do vegetables.

Why the change?

Hubby and I had a crisis of philosophy in the gardens last summer.  Here we were providing 20 families with fresh produce every week for 15 weeks (end of June through first of October).  What did our members do come the middle of October?  How were they going to eat locally then?  What could we do to address that need?

As I've mentioned before, I'm a huge canner.  I love to can.  I love to teach people to can.  In our current production system, I wasn't getting enough for our family to can the quantities we wanted and I couldn't provide canning quantities to our customers.

This problem changed the course of our farm.  

We are not doing our vegetable CSA this year.  Not because we didn't love it, but because we don't think it's the solution to a year round local diet.

Enter in 2012 and The Canning Garden!

I only have one customer this year (that's all Hubby would let me have, and we all know he's the voice of reason around here).  She gave me a list in February of all the food she wants to have on her pantry shelves and in her cool storage.  (for example:  20 quarts of beans, 10 pints of beets, 10 butternut squash, etc.)  I translated that to row feet and am growing those quantities of those foods for her.  When they're ripe, I'll give her a call and she can have 2 bushels of green beans to can up or freeze or dehydrate...whatever method of food preservation rings her bell.  In short, I'm contract growing canning quantities of fresh, local produce.

I must admit, it's pretty exciting to work on a longer term solution to the how-to-eat-local-in-ND problem and still have the personal connection to our customers that we love.

This is one of our gardens ready for seed.  We've planted some early crops:  some peas, lettuce, chard, spinach, beets.  Potatoes will go in soon.  Onions after that.  


It is just a small step this year, but I believe an important one.  It always starts with one!

{I'd welcome your feedback on this idea!  Leave a comment, if you'd like to share your thoughts.}

2 comments:

  1. This is a cool idea - I've seen a couple of farms getting creative with the CSA model - for the very reasons you cited. I haven't seen this one before, and it totally makes sense. How do you market your meat?

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    1. We direct market our meat from our farm. Our sales area is the state of ND, so if you're in the state...let's talk turkey (literally!). All of our advertising is word of mouth. We have a farm brochure that lists our products and prices. That's it!

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