Saturday, April 28, 2012

What's a CSA?

" A Great Time"
William H. Davies, 1914

Sweet Chance, that led my steps abroad,
Beyond the town, where wild flowers grow--
A rainbow and a singing bird, Lord,
How rich and great the times are now!
Know, all ye sheep
And cows, that keep
On staring that I stand so long
 In grass that's wet from heavy rain--
May never come together again;
May never come
This side the tomb.



Another really  nice day, just as promised! It's 80F out there right now and I sat lazily on the porch swing with two puppies flopped down next to me, swinging and watching the mourning doves cavort in the tree canopy overhead. 

Just wanted to give y'all a heads up that Share Our Garden is going to be switching from Blogger to WordPress. You on the e-mail lists will soon receive a new subscription request, all you have to do is to click on the link and you are signed up. Those of you who navigate through Facebook, I will leave the new address for you when it is live. If you are coming to the blog through the website, I will leave a way for you to find us! The new platform is needed because we can't be found in Google or the other search engines; also the new blog will be easier for mobile users to read. Don't worry I will give you advance notice!

Community-supported, or community-shared agriculture, or CSA is an alternative, locally based socio-economic model of agricultural food distribution. A CSA also refers to a particular network or association of individuals who have pledged to support one or more local farms with growers and consumers sharing the risks and benefits of food production.

There are several different business models. In one example, CSA members or subscribers pay at the onset of the growing season for a share of the anticipated harvest; once harvesting begins, they receive weekly shares of vegetables and fruit, and also other items such as herbs, cut flowers, soap, honey, eggs, dairy products and meat as well. Some CSA's require a volunteer time donation, either to charity or to the farm, in addition to the monetary subscription fee. These are based on the honor system and it is assumed you will follow through with your time donation. Others will allow you to 'trade' labor for part of your subscription cost.

Another example is the CSA that allows you to choose the items you want to purchase. You would pre-order from their website and then show up at a pre-arranged drop-off point for pick up. This way you have a better choice over what you would receive in your share. We are EXTREMELY blessed to have such a CSA here in the High Desert, Moonstruck Farms, run by the very competent Rowena and Michael McDermott in Phelan.
Rowena and her husband, Michael have been administrating this Multiple Farm CSA for the past five years and have learned a lot! She and I sat down for a lovely chat and I picked her brain for all of you.

She originally got into this because she always loved to garden. When they moved up here, her garden kept getting eaten by critters. It was very discouraging, so her husband bought her a 20X40 greenhouse. She started to put together a salad mix that she gave to friends and it was SO popular, she looked into the CSA models as a way to be at home with her growing children and still make a living off their five acres.

She had a group of customers approach her and saw they would prefer not to buy a prearranged share but rather order items separately. So Moonstruck Farms became a Multiple Farm CSA and offers produce, eggs, pork, beef, turkey, chicken, as well as partnering with other farms to offer a great deal more. She built partnerships based on what was missing, and so offers goat milk soaps, natural beauty products, citrus (which will not grow well up here),fruit, organic produce, dream pillows, and natural oils.

I was really impressed by her positive upbeat attitude because, for those of us who have farmed, the work can be brutal. The weather is a constant factor, over which sometimes you have no control. She told me it can be frustrating when this breaks and that breaks; but then you stumble onto something so beautiful, like standing in the field with your husband, watching the cows graze at sunset.

She and Michael are living the American Dream of living off the land. When she added the greenhouse, it was something new and she thought, "I'm amazed at what I can do!". We are, too!

If you live in the High Desert area and would like to contact Moonstruck Farms, here's the link. Don't miss one of Rowena's recipes in the Garden Goodies section today.




Kale Chips


  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt


Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a    non insulated cookie sheet with parchment paper.
With a knife or kitchen shears carefully remove the leaves from the thick stems and tear into bite size pieces. Wash and thoroughly dry kale with a salad spinner. Drizzle kale with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning salt.
Bake until the edges brown but are not burnt, 10 to 15 minutes.  

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Virginia said...

Liked the CSA article...very inspiring!

michael and rowena mcdermott said...

thank you so much! That was a wonderful blog. We truly appreciate your time and support.