Many of you have been asking when we were going to offer a meat CSA and we've heard you. Beginning this November, we will be offering our new Meat CSA!
Based on your feedback, our new Meat CSA is all about options. First, you will be able to choose at what level you would like to participate, based on your family's individual needs and budget. Whether you are single, empty nesters or a family of 6, we have a participation level that should work for you.
Next, you will be able to select from our available inventory of pasture raised chicken, pork and beef, exactly which meats you want to be in your share each month. This means you never have to worry about getting a cut of meat you have no idea what to do with! All chicken one month, pork and beef the next? Yes, please...
Last, but certainly not least, you will be able to order your share each month at your convenience. Early in the month, middle of the month or end of the month...your choice each and every month. In addition to ordering on your schedule, you will also be able to schedule a pick up time and location that works best for you. Choices will include farm pick up Mon-Fri afternoons, Glenbrook Shopping Center on Saturday mornings from 9:00-9:30, Coleman Park Community Center 3rd Thursday of each month from 4:30-5:30 pm and, based on CSA level, free home delivery.
If multiple share level options. fully customizable share contents and your choice of pick up locations/times sounds like a meat CSA you would like to be a part of, then we would love to have you join us!
Many times we are asked the question, “What is a CSA?“. Our first response is usually “CSA stands for community supported agriculture”, and while that’s certainly true, a CSA is really much more than this simple definition.
A good CSA is really a partnership between the farm and its members. And, like any good partnership, this means creating an environment of trust and mutual benefits for both sides. Since launching our first CSA back in 2013, we have worked hard at trying to create a farm family feeling for our members. We see our members as playing a major role in helping us grow our farm and enlarging our farm family. In return, we work very hard to provide members with fresh, local, healthy, all-natural meat, eggs and vegetables for themselves and their families.
This year, in honor of National CSA Day (Feb 24), farms across the USA and Canada are coming together in an effort to help consumers better understand exactly what is and isn’t a true CSA. A major element in this effort is the creation of a “Partner CSA Charter” that both farms and their members commit to uphold.
We feel this charter accurately reflects what we believe a CSA should be. Therefore are happy to participate in this international effort and to share this charter with all of our members, past, present and future…
It is up to each CSA farm and its community to build a model that suits them best and to mutually ensure that the CSA upholds the principles of this charter.
For more information on our CSA and how to sign up, please click here…
When I opened Facebook this morning, the first thing I saw was a “Facebook memory” from 3 years ago. It was a blog post entitled “Why A Farm” and it was the first ever post on this website. (If you’re fairly new to following our farm journey, you may want to take a moment and check out why we decided to start a farm in the first place.)
With all that being said, I thought it might be of interest to share all that you, our friends and customers, helped us to accomplish in 2016:
This winter we will once again be offering CSA options for both farm fresh eggs and pasture-raised chicken. Since supplies of both eggs and chicken are limited, committing to our CSA is the best way to be guaranteed fresh eggs and chicken throughout the winter and early spring. Our winter CSA runs November – April and will provide members with fresh eggs on a weekly basis and pasture-raised chicken once a month. Here are all the details:
Eggs – The minimum commitment is one dozen eggs per week, to be picked up weekly. Eggs can be picked up here on the farm either Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. On Saturdays eggs can be picked up at Glenbrook Shopping Center from 9am-10am each week. Our winter egg share is for 6 months and the cost is $20.50/dozen/month. A non-refundable deposit of $20.50/dozen (deposit will be applied to the cost of your April eggs) is required and you simply pay for your eggs at the beginning of each month when you pick up.
Chicken – Unlike our weekly egg shares, chickens are distributed the first week of each month and can be picked up here on the farm (Tuesday or Thursday, 2pm-5pm) or at Glenbrook Shopping Center (the first Saturday of the month, 9am-10am). When purchasing a chicken share, you are committing to purchase a fixed number of chickens each month from November through April. A non-refundable deposit of $15/chicken (deposit will be applied to the cost of your April chicken) is required and you will pay for your chicken each month when you pick up. Our chicken is currently priced at $4.29/lb and the birds average 3 ½ to 4 ½ lbs. Should you decide to drop out early, you would not have to pay for future months, but you would forfeit your deposit.
I know some of you may have additional questions before committing. If so, please feel free to call or email me and I’ll be happy to answer them.
This season marks our 3rd year as a vendor at the Hendersonville Farmers Market. Since it was our first market, we are definitely invested in it being the best market it can possibly be.
What you may, or may not know, is that we are now 1 of only 2 “producer only” farmers at the market. This means the two of us are the only vendors selling exclusively what we grow. As a result, we can tell customers exactly how something was grown, when/how it was harvested and what, if anything, has been sprayed (only organic certified in our case) on the different crops.
Unfortunately some of the other vendors try to be all things to all people. They call themselves farms, but do not grow a great majority of what they sell. Instead they go to auction houses, or regional distribution centers, to buy the produce they turn around and resell. In effect they are buying from commercial farms (probably not local) with no idea how the produce was grown. As long as they are upfront and honest about where their produce comes from, we have no complaints. We learned the first year that people wanting the least expensive “grocery store” produce, with no concern for where or how it was grown, are not our customers. Where we have an issue is when someone is less than honest about where their produce comes from. We feel this hurts the credibility of the market and places those of us who are selling only what we grow at a significant disadvantage.
When visiting a farmers market, whether it’s the HFM or another market, don’t be afraid to ask questions of the farmer before buying. How was it grown? Can we come and visit the farm? When did you harvest this? These are all valid questions and ones we enjoy answering, as we love talking about what we do and how we do it. In addition, be aware of what produce is in season here in Middle TN. If you don’t see it at a producer only vendor’s booth, chances are pretty good it was trucked in and not from around here.
We believe strongly in our slogan, “know your farmer, know your food” and think you do as well. Just know we appreciate you guys and love working hard to provide you and your families with healthy, all-natural produce!
I don’t know about you, but we are excited to see fall just around the corner. As you can imagine, summer is crazy busy on the farm. Cultivating, planting, weeding, picking, packing baskets, rinse and repeat over and over. Whew! Getting tired again just remembering!
Fall, on the other hand, signals a time when things begin to slow down a touch and we get a little time to catch our breath. Of course this doesn’t mean there’s nothing happening on the farm. Oh no, far from it. Just means we’re not as crazy busy as during the summer!
Fall also means I now have time to update everyone on all the happenings around the farm. There are new additions to both our animal collection and product offerings. Can’t wait to tell you about ’em, so here goes!
Click here for our fall newsletter…
Recently the Nashville Farmer’s Market was in the news when the announcement was made that this spring they will revert to being a “producer” only market. In other words, only the people who actually make, raise or grow the products they are selling will be allowed to have booths.
The decision has been both applauded and derided, depending on perspective. Local farmers who sell at the market are 100% in support, as are customers who want to buy directly from the farmer growing the food. On the other side are the “resalers” (wholesale produce suppliers) who have been selling at the market for years and the customers who prefer convenience and year-round produce availability.
I posted the article from The Tennessean on my personal Facebook page, as well as our farm page, and received numerous well-stated comments from both sides. As I thought about replying to each one, I realized it made more sense to write this post and explain in more detail where I land in this debate. Obviously, as a local farmer, I have a dog in this hunt, so it’s only fair our customers (and potential customers) know exactly where we stand on this issue.
Let me start by giving a couple of definitions of what is a farmer’s market:
In both cases the emphasis is on farmers selling directly to customers. This is why farmer’s markets were started. To give local farmers a cost effective way to connect and sell directly to local customers. As a new farm starting out last year, selling at a local “farmer’s market” was critical for us. It gave us exposure to new customers that we otherwise would not easily have gotten and a number of those customers have continued to support us through the winter.
While definitely a win for us, participating in this market also taught us some valuable lessons. Unlike the direction the Nashville market is taking, our market is not a “producer-only” market. In other words there are produce vendors there who are “resalers” and do not grow what they sell. Some are very open about this and others…not so much. As the season went on, these are the lessons we learned…
That being said, I would definitely like to see full disclosure from all the vendors at our market. Did you make, raise or grow the products you’re selling? If not, be up front and tell people where they came from. It’s pretty obvious when the bottom of the mug says “made in China”, but not so much when it comes to produce. I believe full disclosure helps even the playing field and gives the local farmer (like us) a fighting chance to be successful at market.
The next time you’re shopping at a farmer’s market, and in doubt, don’t be afraid to ask where that produce came from and how it was grown. It’s your right as a consumer to get an honest answer before spending your hard-earned money. For those of you who really care about where the food you’re eating comes from, we have very simple advice for you… “Know your farmer, know your food.”
We would love to hear more from you and what your thoughts are on this topic. Please feel free to share in our comments section.
Hard to believe, but this past week we delivered our last CSA baskets for 2014! Sometimes it has seemed like it was just last month we started on this journey and other times it felt like our 6 month CSA season would never end. We’ve decided that’s pretty much the nature of small farming.
That being said, we would like to thank all of our customers. Some of you we knew before we started, but many of you we met for the first time this year and now consider you a member of our farm family.
While we still have almost 2 months remaining in the year, I thought this would be a good opportunity to reflect on our first year of farming. This past weekend I was entering data into Quickbooks and decided to take a look at what we’ve sold so far this year. Would you believe we’ve sold approximately 750 dozen eggs and 1,500 pounds of chicken?? I know, pretty crazy for a couple of newbie farmers! Throw in the 4 hogs we’ve sold and it’s safe to say we’ve been pleasantly surprised by the demand for our pastured pork and poultry.
On the produce side, we’ve learned that growing fresh, all-natural produce is a lot of hard work. Weeding will definitely help you burn a bunch of calories and I think it’s safe to say I’ve killed more bugs with my hands than 95% of the US population! However we both felt it was worth it when we delivered our CSA baskets and heard great feedback on the quality and taste of what we were growing.
Again, many thanks to all of you who have helped make this first year of farming successful and very rewarding and we look forward to seeing you around the farm soon!
Recently we had the opportunity to host a film crew from RFD-TV for the morning. A former LifeWay colleague, Pam Case, is executive director of their evening rural news show and she suggested they come out to do a story on our transition from the corporate world to that of farmers. We had a lot of fun showing them around the farm, doing an interview and then watching the story the following day on their evening news show.
Personally, I think the piglets and chicks steal the show, but I’ll let you decide. Here’s the story. Feel free to leave us a comment and let us know what part you liked most!
RFD-TV News Story
This past Saturday we hosted our first annual spring open house here on the farm. The weather was beautiful and we had a great turnout, including a girl scout troupe from Donelson. I think it’s safe to say, a good time was had by all!
Here are just a few pics from a fun day…
Thanks to all who were able to join us. If you weren’t able to make it, no worries. Folks are welcome to visit anytime and Lynn is already planning the fall open house!