Great Song Farm Newsletter

May 4, 2011: Volume 1, Issue 1

Greetings friends and neighbors! Welcome to the inaugural Great Song Farm Newsletter. We have a lot of exciting news to share: some insight into the farm these days, an upcoming 'meet the farmers' session and tour, a thank you celebration and open farm to begin our season together, some info for folks planning their gardens, and a note on our share prices. CSA season is just over a month away!

Happenings around the Farm

With all the rain we've received recently and the rain currently tap dancing on the roof, I'm reminded of the old time saying 'April showers bring May flowers'. If this line holds any water, boy are we in for some fantastic blooms! The precipitation has kept us keenly aware of the moisture in our soils and how and when we can work them. Our horses, Kate and Sunny, have helped us sneak in on tip toe and get a lot of work done. They're settling in well and we're getting them (and us) in shape, both physically and mentally, for the upcoming season. We're up to date on our field seeding (peas, carrots, beets, spinach, radishes, turnips, arugula, lettuce, braising mix, raab, parsnips, etc) and our transplants (scallions, onions, kohlrabi, chard) are being watered in as we speak (or type). The greenhouse is bursting with young plants excited to make their way into the fields soon to be able to feed and sustain you. On the animal front, we have plans for a few laying hens (for the homestead) come the end of the month, and then meat chickens (let us know if you are interested in procuring any from us this summer) soon to follow. Maybe a Cow as well if we come across the right lady. We haven't forgot egg shares; they're in the works and a note will be sent out soon. The wild birds and bees are fluttering and buzzing about busily, and our small pond has a plethora of inhabitants including a family of turtles, a snake, a couple types of frogs, and some other unidentified creatures that sing us to sleep each evening. Come by sometime and check things out!

A grand old tool to help keep our crops weeded

CSA Shares still available!

First, Thank You to all that have decided to become part of the Great Song Farm family, your support has and continues to be inspiring. We are well on our way to reaching our shareholder goal for this season, but we still have some spots we'd love to fill. Please let your friends, neighbors, colleagues, dog-sitter, house painter, bank teller, ... know that we are here and we want to share our beautiful farm and delicious food with them this coming season. Such things might not always slip right into everyday conversation, but an easy step we'd greatly appreciate would be forwarding this newsletter to any mailing lists or groups you think might be interested and/or posting a link (Great Song Farm's Inaugural Newsletter) on your blog or facebook page to introduce people to us.

As for introductions, we have one more 'meet the farmers and the farm' session and tour coming up, this time on a Saturday, May 14th at 2:30 pm. We'll introduce ourselves and the farm, move through how our CSA works, and answer any questions you might have. Following our presentation we'll take a short tour of the farm, visiting our greenhouse, horses, and the fields slowly filling with vegetables. Won't you join us?

The power behind GSF: hay and 8 hooves

A Celebration of Gratitude / Open Farm

Our other upcoming event is a celebration to begin our season together and give thanks to all that makes and has made this venture possible, especially you!  Sunday May 29th (Memorial Day Weekend) at 2:30 we're opening the farm to anyone and everyone, current shareholders, those that might be interested, and folks just looking for a good time down on the farm. We'll have food and beverages to share, a farm tour, a working horse demonstration, and time to sit down and enjoy each others company. For those interested, here's a rough schedule of the day: 2:30 people arrive, 3:00 Welcome, 3:15 – 4:00 Farm Tour, 4:00 – 4:30 Working Horse Demonstration, 4:30 onward Eat Drink and be Merry and Grateful. Just to emphasize before moving on, this is an open community event to anyone who would like to attend, not just shareholders, so please invite your friends and bring the whole family!

Come experience the horses working at our Gratitude Celebration/Open Farm.

Do You Garden?

We know some of you have home gardens in addition to being CSA members, and so we thought we'd help you with a little info if you're getting started soon. We have a list of vegetables we grow on our website to help you plan what to grow and to know what to expect throughout the season. If I were a home gardener and a member of our CSA, I would probably grow a few favorite tomato varieties to savor fresh and warm, basil and other culinary herbs right outside the kitchen door, pole beans, sweet corn, a green like kale for those times between pickups when you might have run out, and some potatoes to dig early. If that doesn't satisfy your garden cravings, come on out and lend a hand here!

What's growing in your garden?

The True Price of Food and Community

Please let us take a moment to be Frank. (We get tired of being Great Song Farm all the time)

We increased our Share Prices.

We weren't/aren't trying to dupe anyone by not clarifying this earlier. We believe it may be a sensitive issue and were wrestling with how to bring it out.

Those who have already signed up and committed to a share price and a seasons worth of vegetables in community need not pay anymore than you have committed to - though you are of course welcome to!

Why the increase? The short of it is, in setting the original share prices, we undervalued what we are offering. We strive to ask a fair price from our members, while working towards providing ourselves a livable income.

Our Shares are still priced with a sliding scale. As this is unfamiliar territory for many (why would anyone pay more than the lowest price?), and as such is often difficult to comprehend, we'll take another quick try at making it clearer. With the sliding scale, you have the opportunity to choose how you value a farm where you come weekly to take home just picked vegetables that are grown with care for the earth, a farm with an interest in fostering an inclusive community, a farm that invites you to explore its fields, meadows and woods, to walk the land, pick some vegetables, visit the animals, and say hello to your farmer!

So, maybe that's why you're here (and we thank you!), but, you ask, why don't you just tell us to pay a higher set price?

We can certainly make a suggestion for you if that would make it easier. As an example, our Peck Share is priced with a sliding scale of $375 - $475. Our suggested price is $425. If you feel the value of our share is worth $475 or would like to (and are financially able to) support a fledgling farm out of the nest, please pay toward the higher end. If money is especially tight around your house these days, perhaps you choose to pay toward the lower end, even though you'd really like to pay more.

If $375 is not affordable, please speak with us. We want to feed you vegetables and have you as part of our community! We have some funds in our 'Share the Harvest' account, generously donated by fellow community members, to help us help you!

Many hands make light work - Thanks for your support!

We also acknowledge that some folks who have signed up recently, or who are thinking about signing up, might feel it unfair that others have paid a lower rate, and that they do not have that same opportunity. This is the really tough part. That is why we are writing this note, to help us all come to an understanding regarding this matter of pricing. We welcome your feelings and thoughts on the matter either way, and would like this to be and become a conversation as much as possible. Please do not hesitate to contact us. We want this farm to be transparent, inclusive, and community orientated; we're planning on publishing our budget (as soon as we get it organized for general consumption) so you know where we are spending the money that you've worked for and have gifted to us to allow us to sustain ourselves, this farm, and our community, and will again welcome your comments and questions.

We thank you for your kindness and understanding, and for reading this far! We're looking forward to having you be part of our farm.

-Anthony and Jen, Great Song Farmers.