The Great Sunflower Farm Food Experiment

| 8/16/2012 2:11:58 PM

Tags: organic gardening, CSA, self sufficiency, Cam Mather,

Ever notice how everything gets blown out of proportion these days? Everything has to be a big deal. You can’t just cycle across the country like people did 20 years ago, now you’ve got to come up with a cause, and a slogan, and a Mission Statement, and at the very least, an impressive name.

So this year we’re running “The Sunflower Farm CSA” which is an okay name, but I’ve decided I need to turn up the hyperbole on it. So I’ve been experimenting with other names. “The Most Totally Awesome Food Growing Vision” … that sort of thing.

But I think I’ll settle on “The Great Sunflower Farm Food Experiment.” It was an experiment on a number of levels. First off, I was checking to see what it was like to be a market gardener after all these years of giving my food away. It’s a whole different can of worms charging people for your produce. It’s even tougher when you’re growing organically since most people spend much of the year buying conventional produce that looks pretty darn… pretty.

That part of the experiment has gone well. So far the feedback has been great. I was paranoid for the first weeks but have mellowed out a bit as each week we’ve been able to fill each box with cosmetically appealing, and healthy and nutritious produce.

We supplemented our produce with strawberries from John Wise and blueberries from John Wilson (since we don’t grow enough of either of these to share with the CSA.) I also have a friend called John Wordsworth. It seems strange me to that I deal with three people named John “W” on a regular basis, but I digress.

The second aspect of this experiment was to determine if our water would hold out in a drought. It has. This is a huge relief. It was pretty close to the wire and I was almost at the point of having to let some stuff die, but we’ve had a few rains lately and we’re past harvesting some of the stuff that I had been watering, so the pressure off on our water system has eased somewhat.

john ranta
8/19/2012 12:17:13 AM

I very much appreciate your tip about clearing Zombies with highway plows, but I have to disagree with your opinion that you have to have 100 acres to raise beef. One beef cow needs (depending on quality of pasture) 1 to 5 acres. And in two years, will weigh 1,000 pounds. That's a lot of meat from an acre or two of pasture. We buy lamb and goat from local farms, which raise 25-50 sheep or goats on 1-2 acres of pasture. Meat can be very sustainable (and tasty)! Just don't let the zombies get it....jr

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