2011 CSA

2011 CSA, Fall 2011 CSA, farm fun, greens galore, newsletters, recipes

The Word on our 2011 Fall CSA


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Ben’s Produce offers vegetables, strawberries & flowers of the highest quality and taste in the Triangle. Our mission is to strive for healthier people, community, agriculture and planet by growing and sharing the best tasting food we can. Our farming practices may surpass organic guidelines but we choose not to be certified because we are confident the quality and taste of our produce, as well as our direct relationship with you, speak to our commitment to healthy food and holistic agriculture. 2011 will be our second year farming as Ben’s Produce, though we have been farming with family and friends for many years.

CSA is a mutually beneficial relationship between us. By making a seasonal investment in our farm with a CSA share, you become a seasonal farm member who shares the rewards and risks of the harvest season with us, your farmers. Your investment allows us to afford annual start-up costs, to pay ourselves fair wages, and to share the many risks in growing food. In return, we provide you and your family with abundant, fresh, healthy and local food. Our food not only tastes better and lasts longer, it’s also helps us all nourish local agriculture, economy and environment.  Taste the difference!
Is CSA right for your family?
It is good to be aware of the rewards and challenges involved in CSA. If you and your family want to explore the wonderful tastes of our farm-fresh food by eating it straight from your CSA pickup bag or transformed in a delightful dish you cooked, CSA is for you! If you want to expand your taste-bud horizons and strengthen your skills at cooking and preparing fresh food, CSA is for you! If you want to be surprised with new vegetables, CSA is for you! If you want to eat healthily and enjoy eating, CSA is for you!

Please understand that nature’s abundance varies. What you receive is based on our harvest schedule which is subject to the weather, pests, disease and a large myriad of influences. Some weeks your CSA share may be less than the retail farmers market value we try to maintain. However, we usually provide more bounty than you could buy at market value. If you find yourself with too many items, do not despair, share the bounty with others! .

Members Receive:

  • About two grocery bags of at least 7-10 seasonal organic vegetables and herbs (more for large shares).
  • A weekly newsletter with produce information, cooking and storage tips, recipes and segments about life on and off the farm. 
  • Exclusive access to an online recipe-sharing site. 

Members Also Enjoy: 

  • Convenient pick up locations and times throughout the week. 
  • Adds ons including, bread, cheese, coffee, tea, pork, chicken, lamb and beef. 
  • Access  to our farm for volunteering, exploring and relaxing. 
  • Invitations to on-farm events, such as our second annual OktoberFEAST. 
  • New friends who share your interest in good food and good farming.

How It Works
Join Ben’s Produce CSA by purchasing a CSA share at the beginning of the season. You then visit the pickup site of your choosing to pack your own vegetables from the harvest table. We will post a guide at the stand explaining what each share contains that week. The Fall 2011 CSA harvest season runs for 10 weeks from  early October through December.

Pickup Sites: We have three weekly CSA pickup sites – 

Raleigh Five Points CSA – Tuesday evenings from 4:30pm to 6:30pm, 1911 Bernard St., Raleigh 27608. 

Please consider signing up with the Raleigh Five Points CSA Yahoo Group through the link above, to access information regarding the pickup site and opportunities to support the other farmers who attend as well as local food events and information.

The Farm, Wednesday evenings from 4pm to 7pm, 1000 McLemore Rd., Clayton 27520

Western Wake Farmers Market, Saturday morning from 8am to 12pm at the1225 Morrisville Carpenter Rd, Cary 27519.

Sharing with others: If you choose to split a share with family or friends, please let us know on your registration so we may avoid confusion.  
Flexibility: We know you may miss pickup for many reasons. We prefer 24 hours notice, if possible. You may send friends or family in your place to pickup if you wish. Missed pickup is forfeit of that weeks share but we will try to make other accommodations if possible.

Communication: Our main mode of communication is email. We will send all members weekly emails usually a day or two before pickup. Our emails are meant as pickup reminders and usually include farm updates, a list of that weeks veggies, a link to our latest blog entry and any notifications regarding pickup. Our blog functions as our farm newsletter that includes farm news, anecdotes, reflections, recipes, photographs and more.

 COLLABORATIVE CSA ADD ONS
We offer our collaborative CSA service to bring you the best food from farmers and producers who attend Western Wake Farmer’s Market with us. We will send you an email detailing this service after you sign up for our Fall CSA. We strongly urge patronizing these folks if you pick up at market instead of using this service. 
  •        Fickle Creek Farm, Efland NC – Pork, Chicken, Lamb
  •       Smith Angus Farm, Snow Camp NC – Angus Beef 
  •      Funderburk & Pate, Meadow NC – Bread & Baked Goods made with their own grain
  •        Hillsborough Cheese Co., Hillsborough NC – Cheese
  •        Muddy Dog Coffee, Morrisville NC – Coffee, Tea, Grits

Vegetable Availability
October:  Scallions, Bok Choi, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Collards, Kale, Kohlrabi, Mustard, Napa Cabbage, Tatsoi, Beets, Carrots, Daikon, Radish, Turnip, Arugula, Chard, Fennel, Lettuce, Spinach, Peas, Herbs
November: Scallions, Bok Choi, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Collards, Kale, Kohlrabi, Mustard, Napa Cabbage, Tatsoi, Beets, Carrots, Daikon, Radish, Turnip, Arugula, Chard, Fennel, Lettuce, Spinach, Herbs
December: Scallions, Bok Choi, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Collards, Kale, Kohlrabi, Mustard, Tatsoi, Beets, Carrots, Daikon, Radish, Turnip, Arugula, Chard, Fennel, Lettuce, Spinach, Herbs

  
Pricing
Small Share – $125
Our Small Share is the same size as the Regular Share but is distributed every 2 weeks instead of every week.

Regular Share – $200
Our Regular Share is a suitable amount of produce for a small household of 1 to 3 people, or one well eating vegetarian to eat for one week. 
Large Share – $300
Our Large Share is a suitable amount of produce for a large household of 4+ people, or a couple of well-eating vegetarians to eat for one week.
Payment Options
Our CSA is first come, first serve. You must send payment to secure a share. We prefer you send us Full Payment but our Payment Plan of a deposit and consecutive payments are accepted for your flexibility.We will use your CSA share payments to purchase much needed materials for building three high tunnels. These high tunnels cost about $800 a piece and we will construct them ourselves. They will serve as unheated greenhouses and will allow us to provide you with nutritious, wholesome food throughout the year. It will also allow us to provide you with early spring and summer crops. Please consider paying for your CSA share in full as soon as possible, if this is feasible for you. We thank you for your support! 

Full Payment – Enclose a check for the total due.
Payment Plan – Enclose a deposit to secure your share. Please send the amounts listed below 30 days and 60 days after the date of your deposit.

Due Date
Small Share
Regular Share
Large Share
Deposit
$50
$75
$100
30 days
$50
$75
$100
60 days
$25
$50
$100

You can find our Fall 2011 CSA brochure here. Please use the brochure to sign up with us. Please enclose a copy with your information and payment. We hope you will afford us the honor of being your farmers in 2011 and we are looking forward to a great year. We wouldn’t be able to be farmers without you and your support!
Sincerely,
Benjamin Shields & Patricia Parker
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2011 CSA, bok choy, cilantro, dandelion greens, dill, kale, leeks, lettuce, scallions, snow peas, strawberries, swiss chard, tat soi

Week 3, May 9-15 CSA Share Contents


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Howdy do, folks? It seems I’m communicating with all of y’all via the blog and newsletters these days. I’m sad to say that I still haven’t met everyone in the CSA yet, since I’ve been staying home studying for my prelim exam – but that’s only going to be the case for another week and a half and then I’ll be right there with Ben at the drop sites!

So, I did a little something different this week with the pictures of the share contents. I know a lot of CSAs use boxes and that’s something we haven’t really been doing. We don’t use the boxes for a few reasons. The most important reason is because we prefer to keep the produce nice and cool so when you come to pick it up it’s in great condition. Heat works wonders on these veggies and once they wilt, it’s all over. Another reason, which will become pretty apparent once you check out these pictures, is that the produce just won’t fit in one box – at least not a box with a lid on it. I took pictures of each of the items in the box and I also tried to include everything in the box, so y’all could get a nice view of what it would look like if you did get a box of your share.

So, without further adieu…

Here’s the box with the contents of this week’s share all together (minus the dill and cilantro – it seems I forget to take a picture of something every time!)
Broccoli
Dandelion greens
Rainbow chard
Strawberries (one quart for small and regular shares; 2 for large shares)

Berry close up
Snow peas
Close up
Baby leeks

Bok choy
Kale
Kale close up
Red bibb lettuce

Green romaine lettuce
Tatsoi

Scallions
The baby leeks are on top, scallions on the bottom here.
My, that sure is pretty!

Alrighty. That’s all folks! See you in a week or two. Take care and thanks for stopping by!

2011 CSA, beet greens, bok choy, cilantro, dill, lettuce, newsletter, recipes, scallions, spinach, strawberries, tatsoi

Week 2, May 2-8 Share Contents


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Hi folks! I have pictures of the share contents for Week 2. To avoid forgetting to take the pictures, I photographed the produce pre-wash, so you’ll notice soil on the veggies. They’ll be nice and clean when you pick them up, of course. But it’s always good to give them another cleaning before you use them. The only thing we don’t wash at the farm are the strawberries, as they should only be washed right before eating them (to maintain their “shelf” life).

I also just printed out this week’s newsletter. You can expect more in this newsletter compared with last week. This week we’ve included Michele McKinley’s description of Farm It Forward, an idea Ben and I approached AHA (Advocates for Health in Action) in February. We’re having our first fundraiser this Sunday at Market Restaurant. For more info on that, please see the preceding post. We’ve also include some basic information (storage and cooking instructions) to help members make good use of your weekly shares. We’ve highlighted bok choy, rainbow chard, lettuce and dill. And finally, Ben wrote a little segment we’re calling “Farmer Musings” to let members know what’s going on here on the farm. We hope you find the newsletters helpful.

Okay, now, for the pictures!

Here’s a regular/small sized share. Everything is pictured here but the chard and the herbs.
Items in this weeks share include: strawberries, bok choy, tatsoi, beets, dill and cilantro, lettuce, spinach and scallions.

This is a green bib, called Nancy.

This is a red romaine, called Marvel the Four Seasons.
A recipe for tofu stuffed lettuce rolls is in the newsletter.

Tatsoi

Bok Choy. The newsletter includes a recipe for Stir-Fried Bok Choy with Cashew Sauce.

Spinach. We like to steam it all and eat it with eggs for breakfast.

These are scallions. The difference between scallions and green onions, is that green onions are basically baby (bulbing) onions, while scallions will not bulb.
Detroit Red Beets (for full shares only – but many more are on the way for all share sizes)

You can steam or saute the beet greens too!

Cilantro and Dill (a recipe for dill and horseradish biscuits is included in the newsletter)

Yummy, yummy strawberries! This variety is called Chandler. 

Here’s Ben about to wash all of the produce. This week I completely forgot to get a picture of the Rainbow Chard, but I think y’all know what it looks like. And if you forgot, you can always check the Week 1 CSA Share post. We included a recipe for Swiss Chard Gratin in the newsletter.

Washing the spinach.

Well, I suppose that’s it for now! If you have any questions or suggestions for how we can make your membership experience better, please feel free to send us email or give us a call.

Also, we would really love it if members would contribute some recipes of your own so we can share them with everyone.

Thanks for stopping by! Ben will see you at the pick ups and at market. I’m MIA for the time being, working on my doctoral exam (prelim) for global sociology. I take the exam Monday, May 16th. After that, you’ll be seeing my face around a whole lot more! Ben told me a lot of folks from market wished me luck – thank you! I can certainly use it!

P.S. If you know folks that are interested in joining a CSA and you are happy with us, please let them know we are still accepting CSA members. We will prorate new members to account for missed pick ups.

2011 CSA, arugula, bok choy, cilantro, dill, lettuce, spinach, strawberries, swiss chard, tat soi

Week 1, April 24-30 CSA Share Contents


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Hi again folks! Last year, particularly at the beginning of the CSA season, a lot of the newbies were unfamiliar with some of our CSA share items. So, this year, we’re going to try our best to post pictures of all of the items in the shares each week. We’ll see how long that lasts! With all of the other happenings on the farm, photographs are definitely a low priority. But, we will do our best, because I think they are helpful.

And, just to reiterate one more time, it is not too late to sign up for the Summer 2011 CSA with us. We will pro-rate your share if you come on board late.

So, you will notice one MAJOR thing missing from these pictures – strawberries! They’re in the shares, but we forgot to take the pictures in time. We’ll be sure to include them in the photos next week.

Here’s a shot of the regular share box.

And here’s another.
Tat Soi
Arugula
(for large shares only – large shares will also receive twice as many berries, spinach and lettuce, compared with regular and small shares)

Dill and Cilantro (just a little for now, but much more to come!)

Red Russian Kale

Swiss Chard

Bok Choy

Spinach

Red Salad Bowl (an Oak Leaf Lettuce)

And here’s Bocephus. He’s not included but he wanted to say, “Hi!”
2011 CSA, beans, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, peanuts, squash, strawberries, tomatillos, tomatoes, vinaigrette, Western Wake Farmer's Market, zucchini

Strawberries and Summer Crops


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Last weekend we participated in the Western Wake Farmer’s Market Strawberry Festival. We made a creamy strawberry vinaigrette with a tossed salad, topped with fresh-picked, sustainably grown strawberries. Sadly, we didn’t have any strawberries to sell at market last week, but hopefully we will have enough for market this Saturday. We shall see. We are giving first priority to our CSA members, but any left overs will be available for market customers.

Since we ran out of vinaigrette recipe cards last Saturday, we told folks we’d post the recipe on the blog. So, here it is:

Spring Greens Salad with Creamy Strawberry Vinaigrette 
For Vinaigrette
·         1 cup chopped strawberries
·         ½ cup walnut oil
·         ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
·         2-3 Tbsp heavy cream
1. Puree or smash strawberries with a potato masher.
2. Add oil, vinegar, and heavy cream.
3. Mix well. Taste. Adjust to taste. You can add salt and pepper or you can add sugar if you like. We just keep it simple.  
Salad Ingredients 
·         Use your favorite salad greens
·         We use mesclun mix, mizuna, frisée, spinach and arugula – but we adjust according to what’s available
·         ¼ to ½ cup chopped walnuts
·         1-2 cups (depends on how much strawberry you want in your salad) chopped strawberries
1. Wash and spin salad greens.
2. Chop salad greens.
3. Add vinaigrette, chopped walnuts and strawberries.
4. Toss ingredients (or you can place strawberries separately on your plate after you’ve tossed the other ingredients to highlight the strawberries in your dish).
5. Enjoy!

As usual, we’ve been keeping fairly busy on the farm. We’ve been planting a lot of our summer crops, including cucumbers, squash, zucchini, watermelon, corn, peanuts (our first time doing this, so it may just be a personal crop), and green beans. We’ll be transplanting tomatoes, tomatillos, eggplant and peppers soon – likely later this week.

We’ve also been busily cultivating. Above is a wheel hoe. I went through the potato plants with it to keep them good and free of weeds.We also planted some flowers, which of course, are not yet ready – but here are some pretty flowers that are currently in bloom.

A gorgeous iris (not sure which variety – if anyone knows, please comment below).

This is crimson clover. Ben planted it all over the farm to help provide more nutrients for our soil. Clover is particularly helpful for fixing nitrogen in the soil. It’s also very pretty.

Well, I suppose that’s it for now. This week marks our first week of the Summer CSA. We’ll be providing CSA members with strawberries, lettuce, kale, bok choy, tat soi, spinach, arugula, Swiss chard, frisee, mizuna and dried rosemary. We’ll also include a weekly (hopefully!) newsletter with CSA shares for the first time this season. Members last year liked the blog, but wanted something a little extra. Our weekly newsletter will be an effort to meet that particular need.


If you’re interested in joining our CSA, it’s not too late! Please print out a copy of the CSA brochure (linked to the right of the screen) and mail us your first payment to Ben’s Produce;1000 McLemore Road; Clayton, NC 27520. If you miss the first week or two, we’ll prorate you, so no worries there. And, of course, if you have any questions, please email us at BensProduceNC@gmail.com or give us a call at 919.800.8898.

Have a fantastic week and thanks for stopping by!

2011 CSA, awesome, CSA, share, Spring, subscribe, subscription, Summer, vegetables

Announcing Summer 2011 CSA!


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Ben’s Produce offers vegetables, strawberries & flowers of the highest quality and taste in the Triangle. Our mission is to strive for healthier people, community, agriculture and planet by growing and sharing the best tasting food we can. Our farming practices may surpass organic guidelines but we choose not to be certified because we are confident the quality and taste of our produce, as well as our direct relationship with you, speak to our commitment to healthy food and holistic agriculture. 2011 will be our second year farming as Ben’s Produce, though we have been farming with family and friends for many years.

Community Supported Agriculture
CSA is a mutually beneficial relationship between us. By making a seasonal investment in our farm with a CSA share, you become a seasonal farm member who shares the rewards and risks of the harvest season with us, your farmers. Your investment allows us to afford annual start-up costs, to pay ourselves fair wages, and to share the many risks in growing food. In return, we provide you and your family with abundant, fresh, healthy and local food. Our food not only tastes better and lasts longer, it’s also helps us all nourish local agriculture, economy and environment.  Taste the difference!
Is CSA right for your family?
It is good to be aware of the rewards and challenges involved in CSA. If you and your family want to explore the wonderful tastes of our farm-fresh food by eating it straight from your CSA pickup bag or transformed in a wonder dish you cooked, CSA is for you! If you want to expand your taste-bud horizons and strengthen your skills at cooking and preparing fresh food, CSA is for you! If you want to be surprised with new vegetables, CSA is for you! If you want to eat healthily and enjoy eating, CSA is for you!

Please understand that nature’s abundance varies. What you receive is based on our harvest schedule which is subject to the weather, pests, disease and a large myriad of influences. Some weeks your CSA share may be less than the retail farmers market value we try to maintain. However, we usually provide more bounty than you could buy at market value. If you find yourself with too many items, do not despair, share the bounty with others! .


How It Works
Join Ben’s Produce CSA by purchasing a CSA share at the beginning of the season. You then visit the weekly pickup site to pack your own vegetables from the harvest table. We will post a guide at the stand explaining what each share contains that week. The CSA harvest season runs for 20 weeks from late-April through September.
We shortened the length of our Summer 2011 CSA to 20 weeks because we found 23 weeks too long and fatiguing, for both you and us. We are also experiencing higher fuel prices as well as the need for livable salaries. Last year, we worked for minimal wages (in the case of Ben) to no wages (in the case of Patricia). Shortening the length of our CSA is our best solution to these challenges we faced in 2010.
Pickup Sites & Times: We have two weekly CSA pickup sites. Our main pickup is Tuesday evenings from 4pm to 7pm at the Raleigh Five Points CSA site, 1911 Bernard St., Raleigh 27608.  We also offer limited pickup every Saturday morning from 8am to 12pm at the Western Wake Farmers Market, 1225 Morrisville Carpenter Rd, Cary 27519. Please consider signing up with the Raleigh Five Points CSA Yahoo Group through the link above, to access information regarding the pickup site and opportunities to support the other farmers who attend as well as local food events and information.
Sharing with others: Some members find it enjoyable to split CSA shares with other families and friends. We also like to share food and enjoy such arrangements. If you choose to split a share, please let us know on your registration so we may avoid confusion.  
Flexibility: We know you may miss pickup for many reasons. We prefer 24 hours notice, if possible. You may send friends or family in your place to pickup if you wish. Missed pickup is forfeit of that weeks share but we will try to make other accommodations if possible.
Communication: Our main mode of communication is email. We will send all members weekly emails usually a day or two before pickup. Our emails are meant as pickup reminders and usually include farm updates, a list of that weeks veggies, a link to our latest blog entry and any notifications regarding pickup. Our blog functions as our farm newsletter that includes farm news, anecdotes, reflections, recipes, photographs and more.
Feedback: Your satisfaction is very important to us and our business. Please give us your feedback! Please give us your suggestions and tell us your concerns. We want our CSA to be fulfilling and pleasing for everybody!
Refunds: We will make no refunds after shares are paid in full. Shareholders are welcome to sell or give away their shares to others. We can provide assistance in transferring shares to others.
Weekly Share Contents
The available produce will change as the season progresses. Regular Shares will contain about 5 to 8 items each week and Full Shares will contain about 8 to 12 items each week.  Ben’s Produce determines the contents of each weeks share. We will try to include all the veggies listed to the best of our abilities.
Vegetable Availability
April:  Arugula, Asian Greens, Green Onions, Kale, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Peas, Radish, Rutabaga, Salad Greens, Spinach, Strawberries, Swiss chard, Turnips.
May/June: Arugula, Asian Greens, Beets, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Cherry Tomatoes, Sweet Corn, Flowers, Green Onions, Herbs, Kale, Kohlrabi, Leeks, Lettuce, Peas, Radish, Rutabaga, Salad Greens, Spinach, Strawberries, Summer Squash, Swiss Chard, Turnips.
July/August: Beans, Cherry Tomatoes, Sweet Corn, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Flowers, Herbs, Okra, Onions, Potatoes,  Summer Squash, Tomatoes, Tomatillo, Assorted Melons, Hot Peppers, Sweet Peppers, Special Hot Weather Greens.
September: Arugula, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Flowers, Green Onions, Herbs, Lettuce, Okra, Potatoes, Summer Squash, Tomatoes, Tomatillo, Assorted Melons, Hot Peppers, Sweet Peppers, Radish, Salad Greens, Sweet Potatoes, Winter Squash.
  
Pricing
Regular Share – $400
 Our Regular Share is a suitable amount of produce for a small household of 1 to 3 people, or one well eating vegetarian to eat for one week. 
Large Share – $600
Our Large Share is a suitable amount of produce for a large household of 4+ people, or a couple of well-eating vegetarians to eat for one week.
Payment Options
Our CSA is first come, first serve. You must send payment to secure a share. We prefer you send us Full Payment but our Payment Plan of a deposit and consecutive payments are accepted for your flexibility.
Full Payment – Enclose a check for the total due.
Payment Plan – Enclose a deposit to secure your share. Please send the amounts listed below 30 days and 60 days after the date of your deposit.
 
Due Date
Regular Share
Large Share
Deposit
$160
$240
30 days
$160
$240
60 days
$80
$120

You can find our Summer 2011 CSA Brochure here. Please use the brochure to sign up with us. Please enclose a copy with your information and payment. We hope you will afford us the honor of being your farmers in 2011 and we are looking forward to a great year. We wouldn’t be able to be farmers without you and your support!
Sincerely,
Benjamin Shields & Patricia Parker