The days are getting a bit longer, the sun is actually shining even though it is 14 degrees out but - it's time, it's time ..Here we are - nearing the end of February - seed starting time and CSA sign up time! Delia asks, "Mama, is it baby chick time?" Soon, sweet girl, soonJ
This year we celebrate the Farm's big birthday - 10 years old! To be 10 years old as a small family farm is a big feat these days. Wowee - where has all the time gone - a csa, amazing island farmers market, cows, sheep, chickens, two children 4 hoophouses, a barn, farmstand, 30 acres, so many more friends and full bellies - wow we have been busy! We are incredibly blessed to have all the support over the last 10 years! We hope to have birthday celebrations all year long - watch out for them. And with two little girls to help plan them - these events should be amazingJ
We have been busy this winter taking care of the animals and planning for the growing season to come. Adam is on the farm full time now with some teaching in these winter months at CCV. Sadie, 6, is working on her Kindergarten year at home with us and she is very active in her dance classes at Miss Liza's, 4H, girl scouts, yoga, and book club. Sadie has a big heart and loves volunteering in her community. Sadie is an eager learner and a tremendous big sister to Delia. Delia, 3, is doing most of the same activities with her big sister and she is starting to write her name and make the most beautiful people pictures with the biggest smiles on them. Delia is counting down the days til we have a dog of our own as she is a lover of all animals.
So, How are you ?- what have you been up to? Sorry we haven't written more this winter - but as I am realizing writing with two children and a farm - are quite hard to do. You all have been in our thoughts thoughJ
We have been doing research on holistic whole farm management, permaculture and nutrient dense crops this winter and for the last few years. We are trying to build our farm to be more resilient during these changing climatic times. This year we are going to use the knowledge and skills we have been honing to grow our/your food more holistically and provide the best, most nutrient dense food we can grow. Over the last few years, our soils have taken quite a beating with the extreme weather conditions. By working toward balancing soil minerals and fostering a thriving soil biology, we can take our farm to the next level-not to get bigger, but to grow in a more symbiotic way with our farm's life and soil and protect against future weather extremes. This means we will grow even tastier and more nutritious vegetables, eggs, milk and meat! With your continued support, we can keep feeding you and your family, our family and our community at large. We continue on working our dream of growing a diversified family farm with produce, grazing sheep for fiber and meat, sweet cows for raw milk and beef, poultry for eggs and meat, apprenticeships, and educational programs. We strive to have our farm have a symbiotic relationship with the people, land, grazing animals, and produce of the farm.
We will be offering 50 shares again this year. We will have the Individual, Full and Salad Shares available. There is still the sliding scale, financial aid is available(through NOFA-VT and the farm), we will take EBT for payments, payment plans, credit cards, possible bartering, pro-rated summer resident shares and prices will not go up. We can make deliveries but there needs to be 10 or more full or individual shares in that one location. Looking to get a birthday or anniversary present? Why not a BHF CSA share - It's the gift that gives over 18 weeks of delicious organic food. Or would you like to donate a share to a family in need or buy veggies to be sent to the food shelf or Food for thought - we can do that tooJ
We also have 1 to 2 CSA Individual share membership to barter to 1 person or family that can commit to working 8 hours a week. Please get in contact with us if you are interested in this. We will also have CSA member work days scheduled once a month where you can come out to the farm and help us with big labor projects that are family friendly. Also, this year we will continue to work on and post on our farm blog www.blueheronfarmvt.com and we are pretty active on facebook too - please "friend" us.
We want to continue to make organic produce affordable to all and be able to pay our costs. With members buying upfront their vegetables for the season, it helps our costs immensely and we can budget for the rest of the season. We would like to get payment by April 15th. If any of you can pay sooner than that, that would be great since most of our buying is right now through March (I know, I know I should have mailed this in January). Shares will start the first or second week in June. **For those who pay by March 15th – you will be entered to win 5 dozen of eggs or a skein of our organic yarn or those who refer someone to our CSA, you will be entered to win also - the more you refer - the more chances to win. Just have those people write your name at the bottom of the 2014 membership registration.
We value your support and friendship. If these costs are a hardship, please call us and we can come up with a payment plan. We are also hoping to provide 5 supported shares for families who are in need of this. If you are in need of financial aid this year please let us know and we will get you the financial aid info for a supported share. Also we are accepting donations for the Farm Share program that supports our farms supported shares. Last year we were able to give financial support to 4 families from our community and provide extra food to the Round Barn through generous donations from our members. Our goal is to raise $500 for supported shares so NOFA-VT will match it and make a share more affordable to families in our community. If you would like more info, please give us a call. You can send the donation in with your registration form or send it directly to NOFA-VT with “Blue Heron Farm supported share” in the memo.
Because of you, our CSA members, we are able to outreach to our community here in Grand Isle County with food and goodwill.
Last year, we had our sixth year with the Senior Shares at the Round Barn here in Grand Isle. We delivered fresh veggies to 16 residents for 10 weeks and have had community dinners with them once a month since October. We are looking to expand this for this upcoming year and look forward to having them out at the farm with us. If you would like to join us for our monthly lunches, just let us know and we will let you know when they are. We will continue this program again this year with the hopes of expanding it.
Also, we donated and sold, at a reduced rate, a bunch of food for the Food for Thought program last year, which fed over 125 children in Grand Isle County for 12 weeks. Each week, Blue Heron Farm was able to donate or sell fresh veggies. Our farm plans to help out again with this year by donating veggies and if any of you would like to help with volunteering on those Sundays, delivering food to families, growing veggies here at our farm or your own place, buy a CSA share for this program, donate money (see our registration form) or with financial support please call Kaight at 372-5843 or give us a call.
We will also be working on growing certain crops for the food shelf here in the county. If you would like to help with any of this, let us know. There are times - for example - last summer, a bunch of lettuce mix came up that was ready and we had way too much to sell or give to you all. We called a few people and folks came out and we harvested over 75lbs of lettuce mix, that we washed, spun, and bagged and brought to the Grand Isle Food Shelf. None of it went to waste, it didn't get plowed under, it went right to people in our community. We are always looking for folks who would like to help come glean veggies for the food shelf - let us know if you are interested.
We couldn’t do this without all of you. It is because of you, we made it through last year with the hope for this growing season. Adam, Sadie, Delia and I look forward to walking out to the chickens with you and your children, meeting our sheep and their lambs in the pasture, mooing to Miss Annie, Annabelle and Miss Maggie(oh and Sumac and Max), picking ground cherries, uncovering treasures of potatoes and carrots from the earth, and enjoying that you know where your food comes from.
When we sit and plan this year and reflect over the last 10 years(!) – we are truly blessed to have this as our work. We are honored that we are one of your farmers and you are our community. Hope you are all well. We have enclosed this year’s CSA brochure. Please pass to a friend if you are going to fill out the electronic version. Thank you and we look forward to seeing you walking in the fields - smelling the basil, having tomato juice run down your cheeks and eating fresh sweet peas again .
Your friends/farmers at Blue Heron Farm,