Our new orchardists, Yoann, Alex, Terry & Ingrid – The Orchard Keepers – are settling in to life on the farm and are excited to open up their Community Support Agriculture (CSA) shares to Harcourt & Castlemaine region subscribers. The Orchard Keepers inherited the fantastic CSA program that Ant established and are making some changes in an attempt to build up stronger local connections to & distribution of their fruit. Hello friends of HOFC,
We are so excited to join this dynamic community and are loving getting to know the orchard and the community working on and connected to the farm. We are keen to build stronger local relationships and increase the local distribution of our fruit. In terms of the CSA we will be offering fewer shares than Ant had – bringing the number down to 80 – mostly to ensure there is enough fruit for the weekly Sunday morning Pick Your Own we’ll be trialling this season (yum!) We’re also working to bring our membership to as close to the farm as possible. This means we will no longer be offering CSA shares in Melbourne – but we’ll still be at the Coburg Farmers Market (sign up to the OKs newsletter here for market alerts here) so Melbourne won’t be totally missing out 🙂
At the time of writing we have 20 CSA shares left!
How does the CSA work?
CSAs vary all around the world, but essentially we are seeking to break with more traditional systems of sales and distribution and build closer relationships between customers and farmers. Customers sign up by buying an upfront share in the coming harvest. This means that you are joining a community that can collectively share risk, as opposed to all of that being on the farmer alone. This means that you are in with us and get to share in adversity as well as abundance.
We invite members to pay an amount within a reasonable range for a share – in exchange you get a weekly fruit box over the season. Our season averages 22 weeks and includes cherries, apricots, nectarines, peaches, plums, apples and pears – amongst which there are almost 100 varieties! We offer 3kg and 4.5kg boxes at a suggested price of $500 per season for 3kg box (which is around $7.50 per kilo of fruit) and $700 per season for a 4.5kg box (which is $7 per kilo). We invite members to pay what they can in a range from $420 – $700. Those that can afford to pay more will be supporting others to pay less while still ensuring that the Orchard Keepers are also sustained in their stewardship of the orchard.
We are aiming to have 80 CSA members this season as local as possible to the farm and will be offering collection points at the Farm Shop in Harcourt as well as in Castlemaine and Maldon.
If you would like to learn more see the Orchard Keepers website here and if you are ready to SIGN UP FOR A CSA SHARE please click here!
We really look forward to meeting you!
Alex, Yoann, Terry & Ingrid – The Orchard Keepers collective