We farm organically because we don’t think that it really makes any sense to farm any other way. We wanted the farm to be safe for our kids, and didn’t want them touching a bunch of pesticides for their whole young lives when they harvested the vegetables, or have the dog roll in something and then expose the kids when they pet the dog. Ralph spent enough time in a Simazine haze as a kid while helping his dad with outside stuff. He doesn’t feel the need to be exposed to any more of that stuff now.
Also, we have always hired people in their 20s to be the summer farm help. If they get cancer 20 years from now, how will I know it wasn’t from my farm? (For this same reason, I also tell them to where sunscreen!) No one should end up getting cancer from some lousy minimum wage summer job, that’s just foolish.
Now when I go to talks where people include a discussion of conventional methods I am always shocked at the number of diseases they spray for, both relative to the number of problems they have and the number of problems they have to know how to successfully treat. Not having the problems to begin with is a whole lot easier. I had no idea how many diseases lettuce gets, and it’s been one of our major crops for 15 years!
I’ve never really questioned whether or not to get certified. Certification is required for an organic farm, so you get certified. We probably have a different relationship to regulations than most farmers because we have both worked with industry. When I designed landfills for paper mills and tanneries I absolutely wanted them to follow the regulations, so it would be totally hypocritical of me to not follow them when it’s my business.
Ralph worked in the piping industry where typically 10% of the welds are inspected by x-ray to verify quality. This is done by bringing in an independent third party inspector to do the verification, just like MCS does for organic farms. If you have to fill out the paperwork and get inspected, you’re much more likely to follow the rules. Filling out the paperwork requires that you’ve at least read the rules. Without the regulation and inspections, no one really knows what they’re getting.
What We Offer: Our summer CSA provides a wide range of MOFGA Certified Organic vegetables, the same vegetables we deliver to our restaurant clients in Freeport and Portland. Summer CSA runs from the beginning of June through the end of October, a full 22 weeks, one of the longest in southern Maine. Whenever possible, we offer choices like “choose chard or kale” or “choose 3 of the following 5 vegetables” so that you can customize your share. We have pick your own peas, herbs, and flowers as part of your share. Cost is $450 for a half share or $550 for a full share. Winter CSA provides winter storage crops plus fresh vegetables from our greenhouses. Winter CSA runs from November through May, with pickups twice a month. Summer Share members have priority on Winter CSA memberships. General availability begins October 1.
How You Can Get It: Summer: Weekly pick up is at the farm on Thursdays from 2 to 7 pm or choose delivery to Portland for an additional $50. Winter: Pick up is at the farm on Thursdays from 2 to 7 pm; delivery to Portland may be available.