Now’s the time of year when we all look toward spring. We’re putting winter behind us and dream of warmth, sunshine, and summer harvests. I’ve found that this is also the time of year when people start thinking about signing up for CSA shares.
2015 will mark our 10th season operating a CSA and I think we have a long list of reasons why to choose Lida Farm for 2015:
- Certified Organic: Last year we certified to assure folks that we’re “doing it right.” We invest in building soil to produce healthy crops without chemicals and GMOs,
- Clean Energy : We power our farm with carbon-free wind and solar power. Our Ventera wind turbine provides a majority of the farm’s electrical needs and we recently installed solar thermal panels to heat our winter greenhouse.
- Small-scale Family Farm: We’re pretty much the opposite of big ag. All produce which you receive is grown, cultivated, washed, and packed by Ryan and Maree Pesch with some assistance from our friend and apprentice Kelsey Wulf. Our three children make up the rest of the workforce, but their contributions are hit and miss. We’re hoping for 50 shares in 2015.
- Delivered Shares: One feature many of our members enjoy is that their CSA box simply shows up on their doorstep. We deliver every Friday directly to home or businesses in Pelican Rapids, Detroit Lakes, Vergas, Cormorant, and many lakes in between. We have limited shares delivered to a dropsite in Fergus Falls on Tuesdays.
- On-farm Experiences: The fall harvest party may be reason enough to join. We also invite members to pick peas, beans, tomatoes, and a jack-o-lantern.
We offer two kinds of CSA shares: a full/family share where you receive a 3/4 bushel box of what’s in season every week for 16 weeks and an every-other-week share (8 deliveries over 16 weeks). We also expect to do fall storage shares and some winter shares with details forthcoming.
Full share (3/4 bushel box each week for 16 weeks):
- Pick up at farm – $435 (receive 2014 price if sign up by March 15)
- Delivered – $485 (receive 2014 price if sign up by March 15)
Every-other-week share (3/4 bushel box every other week):
- Pick up at farm – $235 (receive 2014 price if sign up by March 15)
- Delivered – $265 (receive 2014 price if sign up by March 15)
*You will receive a 20% discount if using SNAP benefits to have your assistance go further.
Sign up: Fill out this order form. To confirm that you are in our delivery area or whether we have shares still available (especially if you’re reading this in May or later), please contact Ryan or Maree at 218-342-2619 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope 2015 finds you and your family in good health and spirits. At Lida Farm, we’re both tired from 2014 and expectant for the year to come.
The big chore and accomplishment in 2014 was the construction of our deep winter greenhouse. We are nearly 90% complete as of the New Years. We just attached the two solar thermal panels on January 2, but still need to hook them up. There is also a ceiling I need to install inside the greenhouse to put a barrier between the humid air in the greenhouse and the cold steel roof. Right now terrible weather is holding us back, but we expect to get the solar panels running in the next couple of weeks.
We’ll need to do some terracing on this steep hill and bury some tiling, but these tasks obviously wait til spring.
I also planted our first seeds in the greenhouse Christmas morning – unbelievable, Christmas morning! Things are germinating well and the temperature is fluctuating between 32 and 80 degrees, even in the coldest weather. Today we are zero degrees, with an overcast sky and 40 mph wind gusts; the temperature is sitting near 50 degrees and the propane heater is not kicking in at all.
We look forward to the first greens harvest toward the end of January and all the off-season growing we can muster between now and May. I am especially excited to grow our own onion starts by seed this year and get those tomato and pepper plants started super early for high tunnel production, not to mention baby arugula in February (I’m getting tired of greens from California going bad in our fridge).
We delivered our last CSA box on October 10 and we’d like to thank all members for joining us for the season. Like all seasons, there are ups and down, but, overall, I think it was a great year. We hit a lot of milestones on the farm such as getting certified organic, becoming authorized to accept EBT, and building our deep winter greenhouse. We also hit our largest number of CSA members ever in 2014, delivering 40 boxes week in and week out. All told, I’m pretty tired with a number of fall chores yet to tackle. I wish everybody a restful winter and hope to hear from you in the spring.
One of our major undertakings this year besides building this deep winter greenhouse and root cellar has been going through organic certification. This is a process where we lay out for a third-party certification agency (ours is OCIA) lots of details about how we farm and exactly what inputs and materials (fertilizers, seeds, etc) we use to produce crops for the last three years. Certification is pretty much the only way to obtain the label and right to the term organic. Together with this paperwork we get inspected by that agency to make sure we are doing what we say we are doing and make sure that our inputs fit organic standards.
This sound simple enough, but what I realized is that how we grow is very complex. Staff at OCIA said that most people’s paperwork comes in at about 25 pages, ours was 110 pages. This is due to the large number of types of crops and how we handle each one. For example, we grew 393 different seed varieties in the past three years and have nearly 75 vegetable beds, many of which we treat quite differently due to the different crops grown in each. An organic row crop farm may have 4 or 5 seeds and treat an entire 40 acre field the same.
All told, however, I feel really good about finally coming around to certifying. After thinking about certifying for many years, I realized this is still the best way to assure you and all others that we take organic production very seriously and grow with integrity. No longer do I have to yammer for 5 minutes about each of our farm practices when asked if our stuff is organic at a farmers market. It’s the real deal. Receiving this official certificate in the mail this week, I felt quite proud.