The content of this journal entry is from an eNewsletter sent to existing CSA Shareholders this past week.
After surviving such a difficult growing season in 2013, we have been doing a lot of soul searching, that is in terms of our lifetime goals and expectations. We want this farm to not only to be sustainable from an environmental and healthful perspective, but also for the farmers, in terms of planning for retirement.
As many of you readers are aware, because we made farming our career choice, we haven’t been able to save towards our retirement due our low paying job. That is the reason for working towards building a “Farm Vacation Cabin Rental”. Offering farm vacations is something that, as we age, we feel we can manage physically as opposed to tending to five acres of row crops.
This year we are making one of the most difficult and significant changes to our business since the inception of Mountain Harvest Organics. We hope these business changes will allow us, not only to continue paying our annual bills, but also make progress towards building the cabin rental.
Last year our hope was to be able to juggle building the Farm Vacation Cabin along with production but that proved to be impossible. The weeds grew up around the unused sawmill which was a reflection of us not making progress towards our long term goals. We have finally faced the reality that as long as we focus our production on the CSA, that it becomes our exclusive focus during the growing season, just to assure that we are delivering quality produce each week.
Our plan for this upcoming season, is once per week, to process and pack a limited number of shares for the CSA with the majority of our harvest intended for market sales. Harvesting once per week, rather than twice, should save a substantial amount of labor on production. That means we will only be attending the North Asheville Tailgate Market and also means that we will not be delivering to the Waynesville area for our 2014 growing season. This decision is very difficult for us because our Waynesville shareholders have been very dedicated and a core part of our farming operation for the past 14 years. We are also offering a “Market Style CSA” this season, rather than the traditional CSA shares where the farm determines the share contents, which will help reduce our stress in not feeling pressured to have an abundance of diversity each week throughout the season.
We contemplated attending the Waynesville market, rather than going to Asheville, but have determined that we can’t earn enough from Waynesville market sales to cover our living expenses. This season we will be offering a limited number of CSA shares and relying on market sales for the majority of our income. Our market sales in Asheville are very consistent, compared to Waynesville, only because Asheville is a much larger city.
We appreciate everyone’s support and understanding as we transition the farm from one that is production oriented towards one offering Agri-Tourism events.
Options for the Waynesville CSA Shareholders?
We are thrilled that within the last 14 years the Haywood’s Historic Farmers Market has grown to offer an abundance of organic vegetable choices. While we know that most of you will be unable to pick up at the North Asheville Tailgate Market, also realizing that many will want to continue a CSA membership, it is our understanding that both Balsam Gardens and The Ten Acre Garden offers CSA subscriptions. While we are not certain that these farms deliver shares to the Waynesville Market, we do know that our area farmers’ are very willing to work with customers, in providing easy access to fresh food. So please ask them because it probably is an option!
Follow Us During 2014!
We offer several ways for you to keep in touch with the progress of the cabin. Like our Facebook page because we post updates weekly. We will also continue to send out eNewsletters each week throughout the season including recipes for produce in abundance and for the rare and unusual items. We hope that you wish to receive our eNewsletters, so please email or facebook us, just to let us know you wish to remain on our eNewsletter distribution list so that you continue receiving newsletters! We will be hosting our annual Killing Frost Celebration, and for those who are not able to continue their CSA membership, we hope you will join us for a fun filled day at the farm in October for $12 a person or $25 for a family. You may reserve your space for our Killing Frost Celebration using our online store, which is currently under construction.
How will our market style CSA Work?