Thursday, March 3, 2011

Fresh This Week from Summer Creek Farm: CSAs

I know it has been a cold winter. Up here on the farm this weather makes everything we do tougher and we spend more time cutting wood just to stay warm. It makes everyone just want to crawl under the covers and wait for spring! But while everyone is in their long winters nap the world is a changing. What has been going on in Egypt is just the tip of the change. Much of us do not realize that in other countries people spend a much larger percentage on income on their basic food. In the US we spend about 9.8% of our income on food, and a fair percentage of that is the cost of pre-prepared food. In Egypt they spend about 40% of their income on food, and it is not microwavable dishes either. On top of that they have experienced 17% food inflation just this year. No wonder they march in the streets.

World food prices have risen sharply and yes those prices are coming to your neighborhood store soon. Not only that but the price of fiber, cotton, is rising to its highest price ever! Your jeans are going up too. This is caused by many items, weather, currency devaluation of the dollar by the fed (most world commodities are priced in dollars on traded exchanges), fuel costs and increase worldwide demand, especially from China. As third world countries become more affluent through trade they want more diversified diets that include more meat. A bland diet of mostly rice is just not acceptable anymore. This raises the cost of corn and soybeans especially. This has created increased demands on the food production systems, raising costs.

As a CSA member you are a valued customer, a partner in each season. It is our desire at the farm to buffer these price increases to you our preferred customer. While we are seeing significant price increases in seed, fertilizer and supplies it is my goal this year to provide about the same amount of produce to you this year as last for your CSA membership fee. I want to help buffer these costs to you, but you’ve got to sign up! Our CSA is around 30% full at this time and the need for us to continue purchasing the supplies for this year is ongoing. Your CSA membership help gets us there. It also helps us provide jobs for local people too. I already have three part-time people working to get things ready for the year. So if you are thinking about joining again, get the form in. The number of memberships is finite, don’t miss out.

This year we also are planning to run a couple of seminars at the farm on how to preserve food for storage. Canning, drying, and freezing are time-tested methods and becoming lost skills. This is to help you take advantage for bulk discounts during the peak of the season and eat our healthy products longer into the winter months, as well as to help buffer your budget. Stay tuned for our summer schedule; this and other new events are to be included.
So as our latest employee at the farm, Henry the Cat, is long asleep in his winter nap. Don’t get caught napping and miss your chance at fresh food all summer long. We are blessed to live in an area that provides such a bounty of local food. Sign up and partake in the bounty!
-- Farmer Rick

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