Saturday, June 6, 2009

Getting Started!

Grasshoppers and our many Kentuckiana farms are excited to have you as a 2009 CSA member. We know that many of you are trying Community Supported Agriculture for the first time. In this first post we will talk about what CSA is, and what to expect throughout the season.

Farming is a risky business, because Mother Nature has a mischievous way of upsetting the best-laid seasonal farm plans. When compounded with the risk of speculative markets – that is, not knowing who the buyer for your food will be come harvest time – a farm has little to no security. Community Supported Agriculture changes this. By committing to the entire season, you have already guaranteed the farms a fair price and secure quantity of crops to grow. Because you invested in them, they are committed to doing the best job they can of producing flavorful, healthy food and handling it appropriately.

Grasshoppers' Role

Grasshoppers is an entirely local food distributor, owned by four Kentucky producers, to assist other Kentuckiana producers in finding a market. Our local food economy lacks the “infrastructure of the middle.” This means that while there is direct farm marketing (or door to door marketing), and standard distributors who are scaled to work with industrial farms, there is nothing in between. Grasshoppers is just entering our third season of business and has worked with over eighty farms. With 84,000 farms in the state, (the fourth largest number in the country!), there is much more work to do.

Our job with the CSA program is to coordinate with the farms what to grow, establish fair pricing, and help provide a way to get the food to the city. It is our job to be your connection to the farms – to let you know where the food is coming from, and what is happening in the farm community. It is also our job to fill the baskets as best we can with eight to ten seasonal items. Sometimes it may be necessary to substitute a conventionally grown item, to make sure there are enough items in the box, or if there is a special item we don’t want you to miss. We will always let you know in the newsletter when a substitution is made.

Your Role

You’ve done the hard part already – you sent us a check that gave farms the market they needed to put all these plants in the ground with confidence. Now your job is to pick up your shares each week. If you will be out of town, send a lucky replacement or feel good knowing that your food will be donated to someone who needs it.

Your other job is preparing and eating the veggies and other food. We will assist you with recipes in the newsletter each week, and with tips on how to store and preserve certain items.

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