2018 Farm Share Memberships are Available!
by Vincent Frary
February 12, 2018
When I was growing up the month of February often caused me to contemplate whether raising children in upstate New York could constitute abuse. I mean if you really cared about your kids how could you expect them to thrive in an environment characterized by short, grey days, bitter cold, and a daily trudge through the “wintry mix” of precipitation that is so familiar to those in the northeast? My strategy of playing Jimmy Buffett albums on repeat and tuning the TV to reruns of “Flipper” did little to influence the subconscious of my parents that Florida is an actual place that you are allowed to visit.
Since I started farming full time, however, I’ve learned to love this time of year. Why? Because now is the time where my anticipation builds as I finalize plans for the farming season to come. How many broiler chicks should we order? Was Louis able to harvest enough non-GMO soybeans and corn to feed all of our animals through the coming year? Should we go ahead and split that tractor in two and replace the clutch or is it time to fork out the money for a machine that wasn’t built a decade BEFORE the Beatles showed up on Ed Sullivan? I love it - picture a painter with a blank canvas and a palette full of paints. Only instead of a canvas I’ve got open fields and empty freezers. And when I put down the paintbrush I get to eat.
Still, though, the late winter and spring can be a stressful time for farmers. We’ve pretty much worked our way through our winter savings, earlier than planned as usual. And almost half of our annual expenses are incurred before the first opening bell is rung at summer farmers markets!
As a small farmer in New England, however, we’re very fortunate to be feeding a community that is astutely aware of the seasonal nature of local food production. And many are willing to support farmers with their pocketbooks through unique financial agreements known as Community Supported Agriculture or Farm Share programs. These programs encourage customers to purchase a “share” of the farm prior to the growing season and redeem their share of the farm’s harvest throughout the summer and fall. For farmers these programs are critical as they provide working capital at a time when it is most needed without the risk of traditional high-interest bank loans. In return, many farmers offer a benefit or discount that reduces the cost of farm products to farm share members. More importantly though, share members are rewarded with the satisfaction of voting with their dollars for healthy and humane food production practices and conservation of farmland and open space in their communities.
We’ve opened our farm share for memberships this week. We received much positive feedback on our new farm share program that we debuted last season, and as such have kept the program largely unchanged for 2018. As you think about which size share is the best fit for your family keep in mind a few key points:
Please click here for details and to sign up, or stop by and see Gretchen or Elizabeth at Hingham and Lexington winter markets. As always, we greatly appreciate your support of our farm.
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