May updates…

So everyone wants to know how the farm and the farmers are dealing with this unbelievable weather.  Over the past few weeks we have been cycling between frustration, confusion, anger, acceptance, surrender, hope, and gratitude.  We are thankful that you, our members, are with us as a part of the farm and sending your friends our way to join the CSA.  We are thankful that our soils drain well, making it possible to plant potatoes, onions, summer squash, leeks, beets, carrots, flowers, greens, cabbage, broccoli, parsnips, radishes and tomatoes. The greenhouse is filled with even more crops waiting for the ground to warm.  And we have three hoop houses in the field filled with tomatoes.  We have four amazing women working for us this year and their spirits have not been dampened by the clouds.  Given the high number of natural disasters in the United States and abroad – this spring alone – we are grateful for all that we have.

Summer will come.  We may have to use our imaginations at this point. Long stretches of difficult weather this time of year can push farmers into tough spots. The process of growing a steady supply of produce requires tight scheduling of seedlings in the fields and greenhouse. Missed dates of crops sown directly into the fields means those crops will come in for harvest later. Missed planting dates for crops coming out of the greenhouse means those crops have to stay healthy and strong while they wait. Luckily we are blessed with great soils here at Crystal Spring that are sandy and fertile, meaning they dry relatively quickly when the sun finally comes out. We know many Maine farmers who have yet to be able to get anything in the ground.

Shares for 2011 still available! Many thanks to those of you who have sent your friends our way for a farm share.  We are so appreciative.  We have shares available.   Let us know if we can email you a PDF brochure for your office or neighbors.  Please see our last blog post for more info on why we love to grow for the CSA and what makes it a great value.

Fish and Lobster. Fish and lobster shares will be available staring in June. The Port Clyde CSF (community supported fishery) will be delivering fish share to Crystal Spring again this year on Tuesdays. You can order your share week to week and pay online. Check out their website

Fresh local lobster! Call in your order the same morning as your farm pick up and it will be here waiting for you!  It can’t get any easier.  New this year we are hosting the Interstate Lobster Co-op who will be delivering pre-ordered lobster to the CSA each week. This co-op is based in Harpswell and is made up of over 30 local lobstermen who land their catch right down the peninsula. They will be packing lobsters for delivery to the farm that have been landed that day. Look for brochures with more info at the farm. Their number will be posted on our website under the “buy local” tab.

The million dollar question: When we will start the farm harvest & distributions? We will email and give a phone call to let you know.  We’re still hoping for early June.

Why CSA?

CSA shares still available and we need your help!

This CSA lives and breathes because of you.  Thank you for being a fundamental part of our farm.  Farmers in Maine can choose from many models to market their fresh produce.  It is not just happenstance that we have chosen to make Crystal Spring Farm a CSA farm over other options in the market today.

So why have we chosen CSA?  For the past 30 years farms like ours have been a unique place for people to “know your farmer.”  But from our vantage point as the farmers, we value knowing our customers.  Knowing the people that put our food on their tables sustains us through this often challenging work.   You place your trust in us to grow food for your family that is plentiful, delicious, and good for you.  This compels us, in return, to produce the best possible organic vegetables.  We know each other and our relationship transcends a product or a single sale. Every week we watch you, your kids and your partners take home the fruits of our labor.  The next week you come back with questions, ideas and excitement about your food and this farm.   We see you at the schools, the library, soccer fields, and on Maine Street everyday.  We truly value the relationships we have with you in this community.

CSA is a unique experience. In an age when the internet allows us to buy anything from anywhere at anytime, the idea of paying a local farmer upfront for a product that doesn’t exist yet can seem a bit odd.  The fact that so many of you are willing to trade the choices you might find at the grocery store or farmer’s market for the quality, value and experience of being a part of our farm drives us.  Looking back at our records this past winter, we were humbled to see how many families have been members of the CSA since we started eight years ago and how many more have become loyal friends in the years since.

Every fall we look back at the previous season. Harvests are totaled up by crop and by quantity per share and from here we assign a value. This past year we offered each share 392 pounds of fresh organic produce. With a share price of $515 that translates into $1.31 per pound. Next time you are in the grocery store, look at the prices of the conventional produce as well as the organic. It’s hard to buy much of anything for $1.31, much less a pound of fresh organic arugula, baby lettuce, red peppers or snap peas right off the vine.

The unique experience of CSA is built around you supporting the farm by pre-paying for your produce and the farm supporting  you with real quality at a great value. We love sharing the food we grow this way and we are grateful that all of you, given the many local food choices you have, choose to join us in this annual adventure.

Here is where we’re asking for your help.  Each fall we begin our planning for the following spring.  We purchase seeds, order greenhouse soils, hire apprentices, and update equipment, all based on the target number of CSA shares.  This year we’re finding ourselves short of our CSA membership goals.  We know many people in our community seek out local food and there are many venues in which to find local products.  The Brunswick area seems to be a “Mecca” for local food.  However, we know that the vast majority of people even here continue to buy their produce from far away via grocery store chains.  As the supply of fresh local food has increased, we need the demand to catch up.  We are asking for your help by talking with your friends, neighbors and co-workers about your experience at our farm.  If someone signs up for a CSA share with your recommendation, as a thank you we will credit you $25 towards the local products we have for sale during our weekly pick-ups.  Our own lamb, local maple syrup, eggs, milk, cheese, blueberries, and apples are just a few of the great things we will continue to have available each week when you come to pick-up your share.  Please have your friends mention your name when they contact us so we can give you credit.  We are on Facebook at if you are inclined to share us with your friends that way.  Also if you “like us” on facebook, you’ll get our farm action photos and gripping farm posts.

Thank you for your support.  Look for farm updates & news coming later this week.

Best regards from your farmers,

Seth & Maura