Farming our two acres sustainably means we have to nurture the land and respond to market demand as we grow the food that sustains us. As in farming generally, diversification is the key to keeping Stearns Farm–and our community–healthy and thriving.
With that principle in mind, we’re launching our annual sharers-only Early Bird sale for 2020 summer shares this week, as well as introducing two new shares—a Flower and Herb share, and a 10-week Back to School version of our Summer Share.
If you’ve been enjoying your Summer Share, there are many reasons to sign up early for next year. Not only does it help us guarantee a secure source of income for the 2020 operating budget, so we can buy the seeds and other supplies we’ll need for planting, but we offer so many wonderful perks as well, including waived work hours, a Winter Share discount, a gift voucher and a coupon for our seedling sale.
The Early Bird sale is open only to current CSA members as our way to say thank you for supporting the farm and our mission.
You may also want to make sure to sign up early because we are reducing the number of traditional 20-week summer shares we will have available in 2020. The current number of full-season shares has been putting a lot of pressure on our land, and with it, our future as a business. There is very limited space at Stearns to produce enough food for the current number of CSA members.
Because we grow on only two acres, we have to double crop most of the farm. This means, for example, that the land where we grew spring spinach is also the land where we planted cucumbers a month later. This depletes the soil of important nutrients and requires extra tillage that can also be harmful to soil health.
A couple of years ago, we added the annual seedling sale to provide a revenue stream that would not require planting more crops in our fields, and last year we reduced the number of available summer shares. For next year, as we cut back the number of full-season shares further, our new shares offer alternatives for households that want to be part of our farm community but don’t want vegetables, or who can’t commit to an entire season.
Our new Back to School share, which begins in August and runs for the last 10 weeks of the season, is designed for anyone who travels a lot in the summer but still wants to enjoy the most bountiful weeks of the season. We’ve heard from people who don’t currently have a vegetable share that they would like this option; it’s good for the land, too, because we can reduce double cropping and give our fields time to rejuvenate.
In addition, we know there is demand for sustainably-grown flowers and herbs; our PYO Flower and Herb Share, which will run 10 weeks beginning after July 4, offers access to our two herb gardens, edible flowers, and PYO flower gardens. Adding this share to our offerings means we can diversify our revenue streams further—again taking pressure off the land where we grow vegetables. (It’s a great holiday gift, if you’re already making your lists.)
All these options together help to ensure that we are able to continue to farm this historic land well into the future—and that we continue to do it together. As the early-bird sale begins this week, be sure to get your share now while supplies last.
As always, if you have any questions email me or ask me during pickup. While we still have a few weeks left to our current season, I’m already looking forward to seeing you next year!
Until next time,