“but, i hated my CSA share”

in 2004 we decided the time was right for us to see what all the fuss was about and join a CSA. we searched on localharvest.com and found that http://goldenearthworm.com/ farm way out in jamesport, long island distributed CSA shares at http://www.alleypond.com/ education center (about five miles from our house in queens).
we called up, spoke to barbara, got the application, and sent in our check. we were lucky to get a slot! the golden earthworm is the kind of farm that actually sells out it’s CSA shares and has a waiting list! that is not the reality for most farms that sell CSA shares. their farm has so many CSA share members, they are able to stay onsite and pay drivers to go to distribution centers all over long island. members are required to volunteer two shifts to cover the pickup location site times. this also means they don’t have to sell produce at market or from a stand. it’s a great business model!
peppers and eggplant
we did not always think the shares were awesome. we got a LOT of kale. we fed the bunnies at apec a LOT of kale. at that point in our lives we hadn’t grown up eating a intense amount of greens every week, and this was before the smoothie craze, too. the farm was good about sending recipes for some “new” or (weird) vegetables, and at that point in our lives we didn’t cry over throwing away great produce that had gone bad from disuse.
we remained members for seven seasons (we even bought their fall/winter share!) until we bought our farm here in 2010. as their harvest members, it didn’t take long for us to go from a “ewwww what the heck is this?” mindset to a “oh, remember when we made that with sausage and pasta and it was so good with the mint?” way of life. of course there are vegetables that are just horrible, and we never got over not liking them (WE ARE LOOKING AT YOU, RADICCHIO) but we have also met plenty of people who legitimately love radicchio so, we found folks to trade with at our pickup site. it was a great experience for us as a young family, and it grew into this life for us now.
there seems to be a very small niche market for CSA supporters now, and it isn’t as popular as it used to be. most folks have tried a csa share or know someone who has, and they had a negative experience with it. either the food was unenjoyable, or too different, or you didn’t know how to prepare it, or too much of one item, or too many items in one share, or didn’t have the items the shareholder wanted, etc etc. humans like choice! we like guarantees. we don’t like to take a chance on something that we are unfamiliar with and isn’t a sure thing.
unfortunately, we haven’t found the CSA business model to be the revenue generator it needs to be for a start up farm like ours- we need to sell 100 shares to pay our staff through the spring months to do all the work before the first piece of produce is harvested to sell. by now we had both hoped to pay ourselves a salary, instead of living off of our savings and loaning our money to the farm every year. that option is no longer a reality for us. we will not be able to do that anymore this year.
the idea behind the community supported agriculture model of farming is to get farms the capital they need to meet payroll to restart the farm after the winter season. it also pays for all the supplies that a farm needs to purchase in the spring- seeds and soil and more. it’s certainly not for everyone, but if it’s ever interested you, and you’d like to take a chance, we’ve tried to offer enough choices to meet your needs.
now WE can be found if you search local harvest!  http://www.localharvest.org/lakestone-family-farm-M62964 –
even if it’s not for you, maybe you have a friend or family member who would be interested.
here is our application: Member Agreement for 2017 and
here’s a link to our online store to make it even easier! https://squareup.com/store/lakestone-family-farm
thank you so much for your support

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