Member Letter Spring 2017
Small, sustainable agriculture; an endeavor that is purposeful, vital to life and full of challenges. It is rewarding and invigorating while also uncertain and dependent on uncontrollable variables. Agriculture requires the ability to change and adapt with weather and, as in any small business, with the needs of our community and business. This was certainly a year to hone our skills in each one of these areas. We at Holmes Farm have had our share of struggles, changes and adaptations this season. We sincerely thank you, our reason for being here, for also allowing us some growing pains, for continuing to support local agriculture, and most importantly for continuing to be a part of the Holmes Farm community. We believe that the changes we are making will serve to strengthen our involvement in each others’ lives and will continue to make Holmes Farm a resource and invaluable part of our community.
This past season we increased our membership base to over 60. Our marketing has been minimal and we owe the increased awareness of Holmes Farm to our customers telling their neighbors, friends and family about the great food they find at the Farmstand. We were able to support more than 5 local farms by supplementing our produce with theirs. These farms include Golden Rule Farm, a certified organic farm owned and operated by a Manomet resident; Four Town Farm, a 150+ acre, fifth generation farm in Seekonk, MA; Langwater Farm, a certified organic 1900s revived farm of now over 120 acres supported by the town of Easton; Elliot Farm, started and run by Ken Elliot a veteran in agriculture of more than 30 years and now joined by his two children who at 30 and 31 have almost as many years in the industry; C.N. Smith Farm and Orchard, a 100 year old farm that has specialized in nearly everything over its history but now focuses on orchard fruit (they are the suppliers of those amazing peaches so many of you crave!); and other local farms as we find ones that have specialized products we think you might enjoy at the stand. By working with other local farms we are better able to provide our customers and members with a diversified offering as well as more securely support a strong local economy. This next season we will do a bio and highlight the farmers that we work with so you can get to know them as well as I do and “know your farmers”. You can also find information about the farmers we work with on our NEW website!
The 2016 Season Wrap-Up
As many of you are aware, New England and specifically southeast MA is experiencing a severe drought, according to SEMAP (Southeast MA Agricultural Producers) the worst since the mid 1900s. Though we were not able to save all of the spring planted crops on our unirrigated newly leased field in Chiltonville, we did put in a well in late July and are prepared (but doing moderate rain dances so this drought ends) for planting this next spring even without Mother Nature’s consistent rain. In 2015 we decided to give the fields at Holmes Farm a well deserved rest for the 2016 season. The winter rye has been mowed flat for Spring 2017 to again plant yummy veggies, greens, herbs, and of course beautiful flowers. We have also reorganized our management delineations so that we can better focus on the multiple areas of expertise we each have and can be more productive in our many endeavors.
Programs for 2017
~ Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
Amazing vegetables you have come to know and love available in the Farm Stand starting with the availability of a spring cut baby lettuce mix, spinach, and more for our members already signed up. We will have a few days we will be open prior to the official opening day that you can get these items.
~Workshop series: (each is a 3 part series, enjoy one or the entire series)
Gardening and Homesteading: garden planning, planting, and prep
Enjoying the Harvest: food preparation and preservation
Animals: care and learning about a few of our favorite animals
~Kids/Youth program: We are working with local moms and dads to create some great on the farm programs for the kids. More info to come soon. Interested in helping? Let us know
~Farm to Table Events: a dinner, a pig roast, and a member potluck are all in the works.
~DIG IT! Volunteer Days: want to get your hands dirty or know more about something we are doing on the farm? Come to a volunteer day or just volunteer some time to DIG IT!
And to make sure you have somewhere to find out what’s going on….A new website! (BUT I GUESS YOU ALREADY FOUND IT IF YOU ARE READING IT HERE!) :)
The new website is to facilitate bringing you more information about who we are, what is in season, events on the farm, highlights and information about local, regional, and federal news and events we think are important, recipes for seasonal offerings, and a place you can go to for information on farming, gardening, etc as we continue to expand the site. If you are interested in helping us develop and add content to the site please don’t hesitate to ask. If you have great photos we can add to the site we would love to add those to the photo gallery. Got a great recipe? Can we share it?
Our first DIG IT! volunteer learning day will be to re-cover the greenhouse before the 2017 season begins. This will be a Spring project you can look forward to and volunteer to help with! The anticipated date for this event is April 29
****So Aren’t You EXCITED!!! Don’t Delay!!! Sign -up to Be a MEMBER Today!!!****
Your membership ensures you are supporting your local farm. A CSA consists of a community of individuals who pledge support to a farm operation so that the farm becomes the community's farm, with the growers and consumers providing mutual support of food production. Typically, members or "share-holders" of the farm pledge in advance to cover the anticipated costs of the farm operation. In return, they receive shares in the farm's bounty throughout the growing season, as well as satisfaction gained from reconnecting to the land and participating directly in food production.
Early membership sign up is essential to our operation. Early memberships provide a financial boost during a time when we are generating less income because the season of vegetable sales is dwindling yet we need to purchase all of our seeds and pay farm laborers to help seed, prep and maintain plants getting ready to for this year’s harvest. It is also helpful to our planning process. I liken it to event planning, it’s much easier to plan the shopping list if you know how many people are coming to the event. Memberships provide the backbone to our seed purchases and planting. Early membership also gives you the benefit of being able to participate in our early season vegetable offerings. Last year we were able to offer spinach, salad greens, kale and asparagus well before the farm stand opened to the public.
Early Member EXTRA benefits Sign up by March 1st to receive:
~5-10% added to your paid amount to spend on your card! (over $40 in free food!) (Half Share = 5% Full Share = 10%) **added value decreases this year as we get closer to the season so stretch your dollar and sign up today!
~Invitation to our early Spring Greens purchasing days (Member$ can be spent)
~Use your member$ to buy plants at our seedling sale and Springfest May 13
Additional Member Benefits:
*Member Days: Use your base discount (5% or 10% ) on specialty non-fruit and veggie items in the farm stand once a month.
*Free Pick Your Own Flowers and Herbs at Holmes Farm (over a $110 value!)
*Advance notice of PYO fruits and vegetables
*Weekly member specials
*Invitation to the Member Appreciation Day this Fall (Fun and Free Food!)
*Priority registration for the Farm-to-Table Dinners this summer
*Discounts on workshops and events including our new movie and popcorn series
~You will again receive a debit card that will automatically track your balance. It is reloadable if you run out of money before the season is over.
More Reasons to become a member:
*You can shop frequently and when you need food!
One of the best parts of our CSA is the ability to be able to shop 5 days a week or whenever we are open (see below for hours) as many times as you want. For example if you have a party coming up and need extra corn, you can spend as much as your balance as you would like. That same week you can come by again to shop for your daily vegetables. There is no limit to how much or little you spend and how often you come by. Basically you can come by anytime we are open!
*Awesome benefits/ Value for your dollar
Our membership includes benefits that most other CSA programs charge extra for. Most CSA programs include only the fruits and vegetables grown on that farm. For example, we don’t grow apples or peaches but we commit to provide those items in our farm stand and include them in what you can purchase with your farm card. (As a note, due to our increase in memberships and community support coupled with the sometimes limited supply of locally grown fruits we may have to have a daily or weekly limit on farm card purchases for those items.) Flower shares often cost extra, up to $150 for a 10-week season. Cut-your-own flowers are included in your share. Cut-your-own herbs are also included, allowing you to decide what you are cooking and picking the variety and quantity of herbs you need. This we hope also allows you to feel freer to experiment with including herbs in your cooking adventures. We also provide daily Facebook messages on what is available for purchase, what is coming up in the season and recipes or menu ideas.
Being a member demonstrates a commitment to the community of Manomet and Plymouth supporting green spaces and local food production.
CSA MEMBERSHIPS AVAILABLE TODAY!
Sign up pay online or for even more bang for your buck pay in cash or check (you still sign up online).
CSA Membership dollars will be added to a gift card that can be used any time the farm stand is open. All fruits, vegetables, pre-cut herbs and flower bouquets can be purchased with the card. Bread, oil, honey, maple syrup and other local products not produced by us are cash or credit card only. There will be Member Days when Half Share Members will get 5% and Full Share Members will get 10% discounts on those cash or credit card only items…look for special days coming this season!
Sign up for your 2017 Membership today at our online Farm Store! Here’s how:
Go to our new website www.homesfarmmanomet.com
Click on the Menu link at top right. From there you will click on the link to go to the online store. All orders (credit card, check and cash) should go through the link. Thanks!
WE ARE SO EXCITED TO SEE YOU SOON!!!!!