Dear Farm Friends,
As I wind down for the year, putting away irrigation and tools and beginning to develop the 2014 crop plan, I am so very thankful for the members of the Piney Mountain Orchard’s Community Supported Agriculture program. Because folks are willing to support me before I am even able to get crops into the ground, I am able to run a small business without debt! So, this email is meant to thank my members and to give a snapshot of our farm at the end of its second season, November 2013.
Piney Mountain Orchard doubled its market presence and is now at Carlisle each Wednesday and Camp Hill each Thursday from May to October. We also increased the CSA membership, growing from 7.5 to 16 members and offering two share sizes. Our total income grew by 150% while our expenses only increased 20%. As far as infrastructure and capital improvements go, there were a number of projects completed this year. We built and utilized a walk-in cooler to store harvested vegetables, bought a 6′ rototiller implement for the tractor to increase efficiency when building vegetable beds, and bought a new farm truck for markets, deliveries, and everyday use. We even built a yurt (a 24′ diameter round living structure), for farmer Megan. The business is growing strong.
And we still have big dreams and exciting projects that will inspire and challenge us through the winter months! This winter we will build a 30×72′ hoop house to extend the growing season, based on funding from the Natural Resource Conservation Service. We aim to grow the CSA by increasing membership to between 20 and 30 members and by adding an egg share to the operation. Our long term dreams will work to further diversify the farm operations, and include raising a few pigs each year and growing our flock of sheep for wool. And because the base of this all is literally the ground beneath us, we will continue to increase the soil health and productivity of the current farm acreage through sustainable growing practices.
I wish you all a happy fall and winter – you will hear from me about the 2014 CSA program in February or March.