What is CSA?
"We specifically sought out a farm that promised us local foods throughout the year and Heron Pond Farm has done that and promises to do more. We're excited for next year and the possibility of an even more locally sourced diet."----------Tim Fukawa-Connelly
"Heron Pond Farm provides a share you can truly live on!"-------Jerry & Marcy Monkman
"The variety available from Heron Pond Farm is outstanding....our family looks forward to the different food each week."----Kim Englehardt
What is CSA?
CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) is a farmer-consumer partnership. CSA members make a commitment up front to a farm for an entire growing season by buying a share in the season's harvest. This entitles you to fresh fruits and local vegetables from each weeks harvest. CSA members share the rewards of a great season - and the risks that can come with bad weather and pests. Heron Pond Farm aims for a 12% return on shareholder investment over the twenty two weeks that make up the winter CSA season. However this relationship extends beyond a simple trade of money and food. We want you to know your farmer and we want to know you. Come, walk the farm, see your food as it grows in the field. Our shareholders have had a direct impact on what and how we grow.
- CSAs save small farms. The CSA model provides small farms the start up capital at a point in the season when they traditionally have had no income. Having money early in the season gives the farmer the ability to lock in a price for fuel, and buy materials in bulk which can mean huge savings. The CSA model has saved many small farms and has been vital to our own success here at Heron Pond.
- Local food tastes better and is better for you. Food grown in your own community was probably picked within the past 24 hours. It’s crisp, sweet and loaded with flavor and nutrients. Produce flown or trucked in from California, Florida, Chile, or Holland is quite understandably much older. Several studies have shown that the average distance food travels is 1,500 miles in a week long (or more) delay from harvest to dinner table, sugars turn to starches, plant cells shrink and produce loses vitality. Food that is frozen or canned soon after the harvest is actually more nutritious than some “fresh” produce that has been on the truck or supermarket shelf for a week. Locally grown food, purchased soon after harvest retains it nutrients.
- Local food preserves genetic diversity. In the modern industrial agriculture system, varieties are chosen for their ability to ripen simultaneously and withstand harvesting equipment; for a tough skin that can survive packing and shipping, and for an ability to have a long shelf life in the store. Only a handful of hybrid varieties of fruits and vegetables meet these rigorous demands, so there is little genetic diversity in the plants grown. Local farms, in contrast, grow a huge number of varieties to provide a long season of harvest. Many are heirlooms, passed on from generation to generation, because they taste good. These old varieties contain genetic material from hundreds or thousands of years of human selection; they may someday provide the genes needed to create varieties that will thrive in a changing climate.
- Local food supports local farm families. With fewer than one million Americans now claiming farming as their primary occupation, farmers are a vanishing breed. Commodity prices are at a historic low, often below the cost of production. The farmer now gets less than 10 cents on the retailer food dollar. Local farmers who sell direct to consumers cut out the middle man and get full retail prices for their food- which means families can afford to stay on the farm, doing the work they love.
- Local food builds community. When you buy direct from the farmer, you are re-establishing a time-honored connection between the eater and the grower. Knowing the farmer gives you insight into the seasons, the weather, and the miracle of raising food. In many cases, it gives you access to the farm where your children and grandparents can go and learn about nature and agriculture. By supporting local farmers today, you can help ensure that there will be farms in your community tomorrow, and that future generations will have access to nourishing, flavorful and abundant food.
- Local food preserves open space, supports a clean environment and benefits wildlife. As the value of direct marketed fruits & vegetables increases, selling farmland for development becomes less likely. When you buy locally grown food, you are doing something proactive about preserving the agricultural landscape. A well-managed family farm is a place where the resources of fertile soil and clean water are valued. Good stewards of the land grow cover crops to prevent soil erosion and replace nutrients used by their crops. Cover crops also capture carbon emissions and help control global warming. According to some estimates, farmers who practice conservation tillage could sequester 12-14% of the carbon emitted by vehicles and industry. In addition, the patchwork of fields, meadows, woods, ponds and buildings- is the perfect environment for many species of wildlife.
How Heron Pond Farm CSA Works
- Members sign up to purchase their share of local food by completing the registration form. Your space is secured upon receipt of payment. There will be 200 shares offered for the winter 2016-17 season. We offer a full share for $550 it's a good amount of food if you cook most of your meals at home. New this year we are offering a partial share for $400, it has all the fresh greens of a full share but is lighter on the roots and storage crops.
Three pick up locations to choose from:
1. Our farm stand in South Hampton, NH (Pick up 11am to 6pm, Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday)
2. Portsmouth, NH (Pick ups are on Wednesdays, 3pm to 6pm)
3.Dover, NH (Pick ups are on Mondays, 3pm to 6pm)
Members receive enough produce to feed 2-4 people over a 22 week period starting in late October and continuing through late March/ early April. You will pick up your share once a week at your chosen location until December when pick-ups change to every other week. At each pick up location a list of that weeks share will be posted. You then choose the veggies from the farm stand display or if you're in Dover, or Portsmouth from our farmers market style display. At all locations someone from the farm will be there to help with any questions you might have.
What will be in my weekly share?
A good mix of:
Fresh Greens such as spinach, arugula, bok choi, kale, lettuce etc...
Roots such as potatoes, onions, carrots, sweet potatoes, rutabaga, watermelon radish etc...
and Storage Crops like apples, winter squash, cabbage, brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, leeks etc...
Unlike the grocery store, our varieties are chosen from some of the tastiest around. We are always on the look out for new ones and attend conferences as well as talking with other growers to find the best seed possible. If you have a suggestion we would be glad to hear it. Another difference from the grocer is our seasons. We stretch things when we can but for the most part we grow food in season. To see a week by week list of what share holders got in 2015 look under the CSA tab and click on “What was in the 2015 share”.