Own (a Piece of) Your Own Farm: Happy Harvest CSA Set for Growing Season

By Braken Mayo via Murfreesboro Pulse

James Colwell

Area families who want to eat farm fresh produce but do not have the land, the time, the knowledge or the means to grow it themselves, can obtain an incredible variety of vegetables this season through a project called community supported agriculture.

James Colwell and his family produce far more vegetables than they need at their Coffee County farm, and many families in the area are not able to produce nearly enough, so it seems like a natural arrangement for a farmer to sell shares, or subscriptions, to his produce for a season. The investors divide up the produce among themselves as it is grown, and share some of the risk, as well as the expense, with the farmer.

That model is the concept behind community supported agriculture, a system that has grown in popularity across the U.S. over the past couple of decades. This year, Colwell plans to serve more than 100 regular subscribers. He says he has the ability to produce enough for 200.

“Beginning the last week of June, and continuing through November, everyone gets 20 pounds of produce each week for about $20 each week,” Colwell tells a prospective client. “When it comes to CSAs, we’re dirt cheap, no pun intended; some may charge as much as $25 for only 10 pounds of produce.”

Throughout the season the weekly basket will vary, based on what is in abundance during a given part of the year.

“Generally speaking, everybody gets the same thing. We allow one substitution per week,” Colwell said.

Some may be able to grow a particular vegetable in their own yard and not have a need for more of it.

“We work with people as we need to,” Colwell said. “If they really don’t like broccoli, we’ll get them something else.”

He added that his agreement would not, for example, provide a single client with 20 pounds of tomatoes every week.

But participants in the Happy Harvest CSA can expect to get a great variety of fresh-from-the-dirt Tennessee vegetables each week.

“I put 3,000 potato plants out the other day,” Colwell told the Murfreesboro Pulse on May 30.

Other crops subscribers can expect include cabbage, corn, carrots, peas, tomatoes, watermelons, broccoli, cantaloupe, cauliflower, onions, potatoes, peppers and more. Pumpkins and winter squash will come later in the season.

“Corn comes in middle of June,” according to the farmer. “Aside from corn and squash, Tennessee produce typically comes in middle of July.

“Some weeks I’ll even be able to add in some surprises we didn’t grow, from other local farms: apples, grapes, peaches,” Colwell said, adding that there will be a pickup location in Murfreesboro. June 29 is scheduled as the first pickup day.

When one really stops to consider the complicated international network of mass-scale food production, transportation, sorting, processing, marketing, packaging and sales, its mystery ingredients and modifications, a shelf life of who-knows-how-long, chemicals, pesticides, semi-trucks, gasoline, crates, trains and supermarkets, it doesn’t seem like such a far-out idea

For more information on Happy Harvest CSA or to sign up, call (931) 954-0235, or look for Colwell at the Murfreesboro Saturday Market on the Square each week, or at the Nashville Flea Market each month. Find the farm online at producefreshfromthefarm.com.

Shared from Murfreesboro Pulse