It is time to vote, order season is upon us………….

Each winter we reflect on things done well during the previous season and new things we want to try in the coming season.  Once this analysis is complete we bring it back to you to choose what you like.  By choosing to support the farm, you are choosing to vote for sustianable agriculture and growing food in a manner that heals the earth while healing our bodies.  Each time you support us, you are telling us what you like.  We are thankful that over the years you have voted to make our farm a full time operation.  So few family farms today can say that.  We are so thrilled to be working on bringing you good food with all of our energies now.  In saying this, we are able to offer even more options for you to “vote” for.  My goal this week is to get your good food craving juices roling so you can think about how the farm can best fit into your meal planning this year.  I will highlight some of the ways you can help us grow good food so that in the coming weeks when the order forms come out  you are ready to make the final vote. 

Lets start with why we love the late winter ordering season.  Your early feedback and orders give us a picture of what we need to grow.  We want to grow just what you are looking for.  The majority of farm expenses, from natural fertility, seeds, livestock, to feed costs hit us early.  Your early orders and CSA sign ups help us cover these costs.  They help us ensure that we can grow your food.  By ordering ahead and choosing one of our payment options you help us not need financing and thus we are able to pass along the savings back to you.  If CSA or Community Supported Agriculture is new to you, please visit Local Harvest to learn all the reasons why you might want to support the farm in this manner. 

Lets start with what worked well last year.  Last year we enjoyed having an order season where you could place an order for an estimated years worth of meat and egg options.  Don’t worry, we are happy to help you figure out what might meet your needs best.  We used to only offer this plan for bulk purchased items like 1/2 pork, but last year we opened it up to be able to choose individual cuts as part of the plan.  If you really like just chicken thighs we can make it happen.  You chose to either pay upfront in full for a 10% discount or pay a budgeted amount monthly for a 5% discount.  We then provided your patured meats and eggs as they came available or by a predetermined plan.  This worked so well for us that we will be doing it again.  If you ordered in this manner last year, we will be emailing you a suggested order form based on last year and then you can fine tune it to meet your needs this year. 

Another thing we greatly enjoyed last year was a pilot Educational CSA.  One of our regular patrons wrote the following on the end of season evalution form, “The educational opportunities at This Old Farm have been a delightful and valuable experience for the whole family.  Our eyes have been opened to a whole new world with endless possibilities and a bright, healthier future.”  We appreciated her kind words!  This Year we are moving the workshop times associated with this CSA option to Saturday to make it more readily available.  This Old Farm is launching a workshop series to be held Saturday afternoons, from 2 PM to 3:30PM at the farm or other location upon notification.  Jessica Smith will share information about different aspects of farm life from organic gardening to raising chickens to preserving the harvest.  Whether you are new to growing your own food or a seasoned veteran, there will be something for everyone.  They make a great addition to your home school curriculum.  Unless otherwise advertised each class will be $15/ a piece or $25/ family.  A $5 discount will be given for any good quality garden implements donated to the farm (ie shovels, farm rake, hoes, hand tools, gloves, hose)  If in doubt, ask if we need it.  All class topics will be posted in the calendar.  If there is something you would like to learn about and you don’t see the topic, please let us know.   These classes are also part of an educational CSA.  This is intended to be a hands on CSA.  As a CSA share owner you will be registered in each of the available workshops.  As is standard with a CSA, you will receive a share of the harvest each week representing a basketful of produce intended to fulfill the needs of a family of four.  Each Educational CSA is $550 payable in two installments.  Though we encourage you to take part in the education part of the CSA we will provide CSA baskets for the same price without the educational opportunity if you are tight for time. 

Egg Subscriptions have been yet another sucessful way to support the farm for years now.  Good pasture raised eggs can be hard to find.  To ensure a consistent supply for your family, we supply egg subscriptions.  You could think of this as us raising the number of chickens it takes to supply your eggs.  You own that supply.  We ask you how many you want per month and then your subscriptions are the first to be supplied each month before other deliveries are made.  We appreciate your consistent order and you benefit by knowing where your next eggs are coming from.  Right now we are brooding 400 pullets to provide a good egg supply for the coming season starting in May.  Get your name on the list now and consider yourself owners of organically raised egg layers.  

Cow and or Goat Shares:  Sale of raw milk is not legal in Indiana.  Because some desire to have and drink raw milk we offer boarding of your goat or cow at our farm.  We take care of helping you find an animal and of boarding and milking your animal in exchange for a monthly fee.  We have been running a waiting list for cow and goat shares as we searched for good dairy animals.  We are hopeful that this coming spring we will have a few new additions to the farm to supply your dairy needs.  If your name is not on the list, it is a good time to get it there. 

Now that we have touched on lots of opportunities that have been successful in the past, it is time to unveil one last option, new this year.  We are especially excited about this option for those new to cooking with whole, natural foods.  (Although I consider myself a seasoned cook now and still have greatly enjoyed this methodology.)  I have been asked by many to help with menu planning and an easy way to cook good food for your family.  Instead of having to create it, I have been so excited to have found an online menu subscription that walks through a weeks menu, outlining natural foods and daily tasks needed to accomplish feeding your family for the week.  It is in a perfect format for us to use as a recipe log for our new CSA Meat Shares.  Not only can we help you source great meats, we can help you with your menu planning.  We encourage you to utilize the menu service offered by “Cooking Traditional Foods” at  http://www.tfrecipes.com .  To view a sample menu look at the side bar on the left for a menu sampler.  This meal planning service walks you through an in season meal plan with all the recipes and groceries needed.  By utilizing this service you can make ease of your all natural meal planning and then we will help you source the wonderful meats that you need to make it complete.     For $25 per week we will provide 2 meat options/week for a family of 4.  For $40/week we will make available all meats needed for your meal plan for a family of 4 with the exception of seafood.  We may have to make substitutions at times and will supply substitute recipes if needed.  All meats provided will be raised in a sustainable manner following all principles we subscribe to.  Only the best will be provided.  Billing will take place upfront covering 3 months at a time.  Buying our meats, makes your place a good place to eat!  Email Jessica for a sample menu and listing of what meats would be included. 

Hopefully, I have succeeded in showing the wide breadth of possibilities for your to support the farm and ensure a food supply for your family into the future.  Your vote counts!  While we love those who make the commitment to order ahead through one of our CSA type options, we appreciate all of our customers.  If a CSA is not right for you, we appreciate your support in any way.  We are happy to get you started in your quest for good food through providing meat by the cut.  Watch for the order forms in the coming weeks!