As the inches of snow continue to accumulate and the temperatures hover below freezing, I remain snug by the woodstove with my mind’s eye on the varied shades of green comprising a summer garden. If you’re a gardener yourself, you know that this time of year is one of planning, taking stock and anticipation. Perusing seed catalogs for old standbys and new and interesting varieties is a favorite winter pastime, looking back through our farm journals from previous seasons reminds us of what works and what doesn’t, and of course, as a gardener you are forever the optimist, holding in your imagination a season full of sunshine, timely rains, few insect and disease problems, and lots of luscious vegetables.
This 2011 season will mark our tenth consecutive year at Hope’s Edge Farm, growing food for you, our community of shareholders. There are a few of you who have been members since the beginning, while for others, last season was your first. But wherever you find yourself on this continuum, now is the time to consider recommitting for another season. For those of you who have been members for at least two seasons, you have experienced the dearth of produce coming out of the 2009 garden and the abundance of produce from last season’s garden. What will 2011 be like? There is obviously no way to tell for sure, but if all of us imagine a bountiful year then chances are that is what we will have. By purchasing a share now you are expressing your vote of optimism.
The Tenth Anniversary Edition of the Hope’s Edge CSA flier is a somewhat condensed version of our original with a few more graphics added. CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD. Let us know what you think. One of the major changes affecting you is the increase in the price of a share. In my ‘end of season’ note from last October I had mentioned the fact that a price increase was imminent, so perhaps you are not surprised. In our first nine seasons of operation, I consciously made the effort to keep prices down. During the span from 2002 to 2010 our prices increased by 14.5 percent, an average of a little more than 1.5 percent per year. This recent price increase is 14 percent over last season – a significant jump. I could provide a lengthy defense for this increase but choose not to do so here. Suffice it to say that we have found it unsustainable to keep prices down while nearly all our costs continue to climb. (If you are interested in seeing the numbers, the 2010 and proposed 2011 budgets may be found on our web site, www.hopesedgefarm.com).
All things being equal, a share in Hope’s Edge CSA is still a good deal. The half share price of $350 for 20 weeks of vegetables works out to be $17.50 per week for some of the freshest food available. In addition, the recently released USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans advises that we: reduce our consumption of sugary drinks, fill our plates with fruits and vegetables, and cut down on processed foods. A share in Hope’s Edge CSA gives you plenty of opportunity to satisfy two out of three of these guidelines. When announcing the release of these new guidelines, a government spokesperson even went so far as to say that “eating healthy will likely cost more.” Fresh is best but it is more expensive. So, when considering your own or your family’s health, the aphorism “put your money where your mouth is” takes on a literal meaning of added significance. Purchasing a share in Hope’s Edge CSA is an excellent way to accomplish this.
And with that I will wish you the best of the rest of winter. We hope that these snowy cold months have been as rejuvenating for you as they have been for us. And of course, we hope to see your name on our list of members that third week in June when the strawberries are plump and red, the lettuce is tender and sweet, and when the scallions radishes, spinach and peas will all be waiting for you.
Your Farmer, Tom