Earlier this month we started our first deliveries for our Community Supported Agriculture project from our 22 acre property, ‘Near River’, in the Hastings Valley on the Mid North Coast of Australia’s eastern seaboard.

First CSA harvest 12.08 004

I need to say that it has been a very anxious time!

Not too dissimilar to being expectant parents, but in this instance people had put their trust in us, and parted with money, and now we had to deliver what we promised – fresh, wholesome and nutritious vegetables to their door each week.

So many questions and variables came up; would the produce still be fresh and un-wilted by the time we delivered the boxes to our Sydney clients 12 – 24 hours later? Would the handful of hares and wallabies that have yet to discover our crops suddenly realize what they are passing up? Would our customers perceive the amount in each week’s box to be of value to them? And why are the chooks going broody so often and messing with the egg laying schedule we’d been expecting?

The first Thursday in December arrived, and the harvest began. Up early with the sun to pick the leafy greens first – rocket, baby beetroot leaves, and stands of silverbeet and rainbow chard; rinse, and bunch them and then into the fridge to remove the field heat. Then some onions and leeks, move through the zucchini beds,and lastly some beetroot. Later in the day, the herbs and flowers were picked, and similarly, they were washed and packed before storage in the fridge too.

The night before had been filled with activity, taping boxes into shape, stamping our logo on each side, placing a clean sheet of butchers paper in the base, and then the sourcing of recipes and other material to include in the first of our fortnightly newsletters.

And along the way, take a few photos to share here on the blog!

First CSA harvest 12.08 007

And the response has been most favourable. It seems we’ll become known for our extra tasty beetroot, and a few clients have suggested that we need a warning label on our extra zesty rocket. The recipes have gone over a treat, and the hares and wallabies are still happy with their grasses and weeds. The situation with wilting silverbeet will be addressed in the New Year with the purchase of a small refrigerated van, and an additional flock of chickens is due to arrive in the next couple of weeks.

But it’s not all plain sailing by any means – will the weather stay relatively cool and moist for this time of the year? Will a seasonal hailstorm set us back a few weeks by wiping out the lettuce and other soft leaf veggies out in the open garden? Will the schedule we are using (‘imported’ from the US) work here in Australia?

So yes, it’s a huge learning curve. Are we enjoying it? You bet. Is it fun and exciting? Oh yeah. Do we want to shut up ‘shop’ and head back to the ‘rat race’? I DON”T THINK SO!

    • There are studies that show/prove TRUE oagcnirs have more vitamins, and trace minerals for you. Sorry, I recieve a lot of agricultural type periodicals, since I’m a small farmer .you will not have access to them, and most would be hard for you to track down.The oagcnirs that are mass produced for the big box store market are really not that different from the conventional stuff. Just a bit fewer chemicals on them. True oagcnirs, grown by small farmers, and gardners are a world of difference, when done correctly. We live on a permaculture farm. Everything is returned back to the soil. Our soil is not being robbed of minerals, and nutrients. We have a THRIVING microsopic bacterial life on our farm .same as in nature. Even animals that die on our farm are composted, and returned to the soil. You can look at the soil of a conventional modern farm. The soil is greyish, and if you take up a handful, you will be hardpressed to find life in it. Our soil is black, and smells rich and moiste. You will have many critters you can see, and many you cannot see wiggling about in your hand.You can take anything we grow, and compair it to ANY grocery store, or mass produced organic .even a laymen will be able to see, SMELL, and taste the difference. If you hold a grocery store tomato (organic or not) right up to your nose, you MIGHT smell the tomato. On our farm, you can walk out the door on a warm day, and be hit immediately with the strong scents of the vegtables. You can open our regrigerator, and be hit with a blast of delicious smells of all the fresh (but chilled) vegtables inside.TRUE oagcnirs are completely different from anything most people ever eat. The yokes on our chicken eggs are orange (beta carotenes). The fats in our eggs are actually GOOD for you, unlike the fats of the mass raised, grain fed chickens.I’m sorry I cannot dirrect you toward actual scientific articles .I can only tell you that REAL oagcnirs really are better for you.~GarnetHomesteading/Farming over 20 years

Near River Produce - Real food direct from our farm located on the NSW Mid North Coast