Thursday, May 12, 2016

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Dear Friends,

We are very excited to announce that we are launching a CSA program for our 2017 growing season. But first, what is a CSA and more specifically what is our CSA…

CSA is an abbreviation for Community Supported Agriculture. While running any small business can be challenging, small farmers face additional challenges. Farmers, especially those growing specialty crops such as ourselves, are subjected to the forces of nature. While we do everything in our power to protect our crops, sometimes nature has other plans. Drought, too much rain, blight and fungus, and invasive pests can destroy an entire crop that the farm counts on to pay the bills. In addition, specialty crops like strawberries are nearly impossible to insure. That’s where CSA members can help. By investing in a CSA membership, you are investing in the future of our small farm. And just like any investment, you share the risks and rewards.

In addition to helping to preserve a small farm such as Middleton Berry Farm (MBF) in the event of a natural disaster, members alleviate the tenuous financial constraints we experience. CSA membership shares are due in the early spring as this is when most small farms need capital for their new season. Many farmers, including us, have a farm loan that resets at the beginning of every season. These loans provide the capital necessary for buying plants, equipment costs, etc. for the new season. CSA membership shares eliminate the annual loan cycle and a farm’s reliance on their bank by having our customers invest in the harvest. In return for buying “your share” of the harvest, you will be rewarded with exclusive picking times.

A CSA is not a private club; everyone is welcome to join and we ARE STILL OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. There is no membership fee. In addition, exclusive picking times are the only logistically feasible way to say thank you to those who support our farm through share purchases. For those of you that have visited during strawberry season, you know that there is really no way for us to guarantee we will not pick out on any given day. Ergo, CSA members will have picking times of their own.

As many of our regular customers already know, MBF uses sustainable methods of farming and every year work closer to using entirely organic practices. All of our crops are hand weeded-including four acres of strawberries and we use organically labeled sprays when possible.

While the CSA may take a while to catch on, we already have plans for share money this year. We are planting 4 acres of wild pollinator preserve and CSA share money will help buy wildflower seeds. As many people already know, some species of wild honey bees are under threat of extinction. As stewards of the land, we are committed to helping wildlife. In addition, we will be planting more annual crops, such as strawberries. Finally, we hope to build a few raised strawberry beds this year. We understand that picking strawberries can be difficult, if not impossible for our older patrons or those with disabilities. We want our farm to be as inclusive as possible and everyone to share in the experience of harvesting their own food.

You will find a printable membership form in the link below with all of the pertinent information. Membership forms with complete payment are due April 1, 2017.

2017 CSA Membership Form.

Best Regards,
Liz, Carrie and Stacy

strawberries raspberries tomatoes pumpkins
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late August-September