Joining the Dance

Truth be told, the CSA model can be a demanding one, for both farmer and member. On my side, I need to master growing all of the vegetables (I’ve lost count of exactly how many kinds) and orchestrating their yields so that the weekly shares hold a bunch of different and tasty offerings. What’s more, I get to be the in-house accountant and mechanic (though sometimes I outsource those jobs), marketing director, human resources department, customer service agent, crew foreman, field hand, delivery driver, CFO, COO, and CEO. Knowing how to swing a hammer, dig a ditch, and wrangle a chicken comes in handy, too. I’m not complaining. I love the diversity my day holds, and there’s always something new and interesting to learn from the farm.

Being a member of a CSA holds its challenges, too. It requires a sense of adventure, of intrepidness, of delighting in being given a share full of good, sometimes unfamiliar, food and creating wholesome meals from it. I came across a quote in Joel Salatin’s Sheer Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Farmer that I think does a good job of describing the kind of customer a direct-market CSA needs — the kind of customer this farm has been lucky to have:

“Without customers, you can’t have a direct-market farm…. But more importantly, a direct-market farm needs the right kind of customers…. We need customers who love their kitchens. We need customers who enjoy trying new things, who will try to use the entire vegetable or the whole chicken…. We need customers who put a high priority on food and who want farmers to enjoy a white-collar salary…. We need customers who show up at rendezvous points on time, who chat you up to co-workers and neighbors, and who forgive the occasional mess up.”

And he concludes,“This is a partnership.” He’s right. Belonging to a CSA means joining the dance between sun and soil, between farmer and field, between this farm and, well, maybe you. So, come, friend. Join us. I can’t promise you it will be easy. But it will be delicious.

Grow Vegetables the Blackbird Farms Way!

Dig For Victory - Grow You Own VegetablesI am thankful for the opportunity to once again present a few classes this spring on home gardening, and I would love to see you there! (And if you are interested in my speaking to your organization or institution, please view the “Teaching and Consulting” tab above. Thanks!)

Gardening Basics 1
Baxter Community Center
April 6, 6:00-7:30 PM
Fee: donations appreciated
Designed for the novice gardener, this class will help you set your gardening intention, select an appropriate garden site, understand your growing season and hardiness zone, choose appropriate plants and cultivars, and create an effective garden layout.

Gardening Basics 2
Baxter Community Center
April 13, 6:00-7:30 PM
Fee: donations appreciated
Continuing Gardening Basics 1, this class will present basic practices for soil preparation, seeding and transplanting, watering and fertilizing, weed control, and pest and disease responses, as well as harvesting guidelines.

The Theory and Practice of Organic Gardening
Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park
May 4, 6:30-8:00 PM
Fee: $20 FMG members, $28 non-members
Get the basics in this introductory class on five critical organic practices: composting, companion planting, crop rotation, beneficial insects, and cover crops.