Hello New and Returning CSA members!
It seems only fitting that we commence our journey into the 2019 growing season with a transition from a beautiful and sunny week to a weekend with forecasted snow, high winds, and a potential low temperature of 15 degrees. Not exactly what a farmer wants to hear after planting crops outside all week. But that’s the way it goes here in Montana. We love fresh vegetables, and it’s a short season, so sometimes you just have to push it a little bit.
We wanted to take a moment to welcome you all to the 2019 CSA! The Two Bear Farm CSA typically begins in mid-May, depending on the weather and how it affects crop growth. Once the share starts, it will continue for 20 consecutive weeks, usually ending in late-September or early-October. Starting today, we will provide weekly updates to keep you in the loop, and we will discuss all the general information and ground rules in a future email. Once the CSA begins, you will continue to receive a weekly email linking you to this site in order to receive your weekly newsletter. We highly encourage you to read these posts, as they provide important information about what’s in your share, as well as a less-important ramblings to inform you about what is going on at the farm, how your food is grown, and recipe ideas.
We’ve noticed a lot of new names on the signup this year, so in order to welcome the new members, we’ve put together a list of ten random, but hopefully informative, facts about the farm.
- 2019 marks the 12th year that Rebecca and I (Todd) have farmed together.
- We love being outdoors (although we find wind to be stressful), and we love growing nutritious vegetables.
- We believe that so many human issues (alarming health statistics and trends, climate change, decline of rural communities, etc.) all stem from how we as a society grow our food. We strongly believe that agriculture can be the foundation of healthy and vibrant communities (which includes not only humans, but the land and overall ecosystem as a whole), rather than a system that degrades the health of all these things ( like the industrialized system we currently have).
- We put an immense amount of care into the growing of our/your food. This includes mineralizing and amending soil to maximize nutrition, as well as avoiding all toxins (e.g. synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, and insecticides). We are Certified Organic, but our practices go beyond the minimum requirements.
- We believe soil has nutritive properties, and all our vegetables are grown in soil (we are not supportive of hydroponics) on 13 acres of cultivated land. This includes 5 High Tunnels that provide early and late season protection. We have an additional 87 acres that we manage for compost production and wildlife habitat, which includes a riparian area along the Stillwater River.
- While we are likely one of the larger vegetable farms in Western Montana, we only have a total workforce of 6 to 8 people. That includes us. Yes, I know, that seems a bit crazy.
- From our very first season, we have focused on running an efficient farm to maximize the number of people in our community we can feed, while at the same time providing high-quality produce and positive customer service.
- Sometimes Point 6 (there’s not many of us), and Point 7 (positive customer service) conflict with each other, but please know we are doing our best and we apologize in advance if we are slow to respond to an email or voicemail.
- We are passionate about conservation, and in addition to growing food, we work hard to be good land stewards by improving our soils, managing invasive weeds, and improving wildlife habitat.
- We find cooking our own meals with fresh, quality ingredients is gratifying as well as good for you. We will try to inspire you to eat new vegetables, as well as providing you helpful recipes and ideas. And we do most of our cooking in a single cast iron pan.
And if your name is Sam Wagner, you have won a prize, so please contact us at your earliest convenience. Just kidding, there’s no prize, we just don’t know what membership # to apply your payment to 🙂
Thank you all for joining us this season. We hope that in addition to the fresh vegetables, you get a good idea of just what is possible to grow here in our challenging Montana environment, which in turn helps to “ground” and connect you even more to this wonderful state that we all call home.
Todd & Rebecca