Community Supported Agriculture, commonly known as CSAs or Farm Shares, began here in Massachusetts at Indian Line Farm in 1985. CSAs are a direct partnership between a farmer and community members who purchase “shares” of the harvest before the start of the growing season. This support helps farmers with the up-front cost of buying seeds and equipment and minimizes the impact that extreme weather can have on a farm’s bottom line. When the farm has a good season members benifit from an abundance of fresh produce. When the season is bad the farm is protected from disaster by the support of its members. By carefully choosing which CSA you belong to members can rest assured knowing the food you’re buying is the best for your health and our environment.
SEASON – Through our farm and a partnership with The Farm School, members will enjoy 20-weeks of organic vegetables picked and delivered to the Hillside at the peak of freshness and flavor from June through October.
CHOOSE ONLY WHAT YOU LIKE – Rather than providing you with a box of pre-selected items from the farm, we offer a market-style CSA. We pack as much variety into our crop plan as possible, planning weekly harvests of up to 20 types of vegetables at the height of the season.
VARIETY – You can use this handy chart to see what variety of produce will be available and when. Early in the spring, you can expect a lot of salad greens (arugula, kale, lettuce). Mid way through the year, fruiting crops (tomatoes, eggplant and peppers) make it into the mix and in fall, many the storage crops (winter squash, cabbage, onions) arrive. We rotate through more than 120 varieties over the course of the summer and strive to have roots, greens (cooking and salad), alliums (onion family), herbs, fruiting crops and a specialty items (heading veggies like broccoli) at every pick up.
PASTURE RAISED MEAT AND EGGS – Members may choose from a section of Farm School meat available á la carte available during weekly pickups. All beef is grass fed and finished Red Devon. In summer, the herd is rotationally grazed on our pastures. In the winter the cows eat haylage (pickled hay) from neighborhood fields. All pigs are pastured in our forests and fed non-GMO/pesticide free grain and food scraps from organic veggie fields. All eggs are non-GMO and free range. Laying hens nest in a mobile coop on wheels that moves amongst pastures, where they range freely. In addition to grass, food scraps, and insects, our hens enjoy GMO-free grain and scratch.
LOCAL PICK UP – Because we’re a neighborhood CSA, pick ups are steps from your front door. 2017 distributions will be on Tuesdays from 5:00 – 7:00 at our house (75 Capen St. in Medford) and they can often be a lively affair. Please bring your dogs, kids, recipes, instruments and appetite. Samples are often on hand.
SIZE – Our weekly share is designed to feed a family of 4 (with 2 kids) or 2 veggie-happy adults (like us). If that feels like too much produce, you’re welcome to split the share with a neighbor, however, there will be certain items that may be difficult to divide. Each week, members will have the chance to choose a between 9-11 items. Depending on the veggie in question (and the point in the season), an ‘item’ might be defined as:
- A pint or quart of something (blueberries, cherry tomatoes, snap peas, strawberries)
- A generous bunch (greens, carrots)
- 1-2 pounds of something (eggplants, cukes, slicing tomatoes, peppers, onions)
- A head of cabbage or lettuce
- 1/2 lb of salad mix
- One melon
COST – A share in Plough & Stars 2017 CSA can be purchased for $775. We’re also happy to accommodate households who’d like to split a single share. Please read the membership agreement carefully to understand if this option will work for you. The cost for a split share is $800 ($400/household) due to additional administration.
VOLUNTEERING – We will send out periodic volunteer opportunities by email. The work could be transplanting 2000 onions. It could be weeding broccoli. It could be helping plan a harvest party. It will ALWAYS include helping with harvest or wash up (at our house). Though it is not mandatory, we hope people will consider giving 4 hours of their time over the course of the season. Many hands make your farmers very happy. Volunteering is a great way to get to know each other. And we assure you, you’ll experience your food differently once you’ve had a hand in growing it.
Sound good? We’d love to have you along for the season. As always, call, email or shout across the fence if you have any questions.