We’re SO ready for Spring, the snow hasn’t been bad this year but it’s been cold and I’m ready for some warm weather! Julian and I decided what we wanted to grow in our garden this year, which changed slightly based on our choice to try and join our local CSA, also known as Community Supported Agriculture. There’s one not too far from us in Loveland that my mom has been apart of for years. I’ve loved it so much we decided to give it a go this year for our family, and as a result we are scaling back our garden slightly from what I’ve done in the past. It’s a little difficult to see it in detail below but this is a screen shot of our 2013 garden plan. Basically, a lot of things I hope to can. I’m also trying something new this year and have gotten a couple heirloom plants to try out and compare the taste to the hybrid plants which I’m excited about. Two new things for me this year: pumpkins and watermelon!
So, what exactly is a CSA? In short, it’s a partnership between the farmers who grow the food and the people who eat it. You pay a fixed amount and you go every week to pick up your “share”. It’s a membership, paid up front type of community organization. The one we’ve gone to in Loveland is fantastic because it’s ALL organic and they offer working and non-working shares to their members. This CSA only has 100 shares available each year so I’m on a wait list to see if a spot becomes available for us.
CSA shareholders buy “shares” of the garden and receive fresh, certified organic vegetables each week during the growing season. The farm is guaranteed a supportive market for its produce and shareholders are assured food that is fresh and not chemically or genetically altered. Shareholders also learn to “eat with the season” and rediscover their connection to the land that supports us all. We lease our land from Grailville, which is Certified Organic by the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association. -CSA Grailville
There is 35+ different types of vegetables each season. In the spring they have lighter crops such as lettuce, kale, mustard greens, and Swiss chard. Veggies such as carrots, cucumbers, beans and onions are available mid-season. Heavier crops, such as sweet peppers, beans, tomatoes, squash, sweet potatoes, and potatoes, round out the season which lasts approximately 24-26 weeks, from May until October.
The price works out to about $15 a week (for 26 weeks!) for A LOT of produce, it’s wonderful. If you don’t think you can eat all the food or share it with someone this might not be for you. It also might not be right for your family if you don’t think they will eat the fresh produce mentioned above. Generally speaking, one share will provide 2 servings of 5-6 vegetables per week. Another option is to find someone to split the share with and you can take turns each week picking up the produce.
If you’re local to Cincinnati, be sure to check out Jenny Combs at her next Tower Garden Workshop! It is on March 10th from 4-5pm at The Sweetest Things Bakery in Mt. Adams. The bakery is currently using the Tower Garden to grow fresh strawberries for their desserts! The cost for the workshop is FREE! RSVP and questions, please contact Jenny at firstname.lastname@example.org or513-515-2228. Learn how you can grow a farmer’s market on your deck if you’re short on time or space!