Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

This morning, I did yoga in our yard for the first time. Except for feeling like the neighbors were watching, it was excellent. The sun was rising, the birds were going crazy, the wind was swirling and clouds were moving pretty fast in the light blue sky. There was so much life around me, it was energizing. I left Lucy inside with Dan because she'll wander off but Baxter laid down beside me until I was done. After I finished, I let Lucy out and we played fetch for awhile before going up for our breakfast.

View from Scotty's

I finally found a CSA! Dan and I went to check it out, about 20 miles away on the north shore. Before we left, we had lunch in town, at Scotty's Beachside BBQ and watched the 6 to 8 foot waves crash (on the east side, there is a high surf advisory and the beaches are closed) as the rain moved in from the ocean.

Mahi Mahi sandwich 

By the time we got to the farm, it was raining pretty good. Jillian, the owner, came out and cheerfully gave us a tour and introduced us to her team. Not only do they run an organic farm and provide a CSA (a lot of her clients are personal chefs with famous clients), but they work with the community. They have a garden where children, ages pre kindergarden through second grade, plant veggies. Her goal is for them to make one meal, just one, with the produce they grow. If they seem more into it, she will do more meals hoping to eventually have an Edible Schoolyard. They also collect green waste (tree trimmings and such) from the community, then they mulch it and sell it. Lastly, they have a Seed to Table course. It is a "12 week service learning program with a focus on intensive beyond organic vegetable, flower and herb farming techniques in Kauai". It's mostly for students but, she is going to take me! How fortuitous this CSA turned out to be for me! Starting Tuesday, I will be going to school of sorts. I am to spend 15 hours a week on the farm where I will work in the garden, help with the CSA, attend workshops and class room instruction. Her classes are small (with me it'll make 5 students) and she tailors her curriculum so it's based on the needs of those involved. I am really excited, in fact as she was telling me what I'd learn, I broke out in tears! I have been wanting to do something like this for so long! I imagine, when I am finished, I will have a garden here at home and use the produce for my personal chef business, our personal food, and to sell at the farmers market. Hopefully, I can network with some of the personal chef's that use Jillian's farm, and maybe get some of their overflow business. Long term goal? Dan and I have some property, and on that property is a farm (e i e i o) and on that farm we have 2 dogs (ha!) and on that farm we grow produce. I'll use the produce to feed us and create a CSA with neighboring farms so I can also provide fruits and flowers. I also want a cafe that sells simple, honest food, using the seasonal produce from our farm. Things like salads, sammies and maybe soups. I want to sell my produce at the cafe as well, kind of like a market, maybe I'll also sell things like local, organic goat cheese and honey or whatever, as long as it's local and sustainably made. I may also sell our produce at the farmers market(s), depends on how much we need the money and how much extra produce we have. So, that's the plan, so far, things will probably change! The class is a $500.00 investment. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays I'll spend all day there. Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays, I'll be cooking for money or looking for people who will pay me to cook! Dan is creating a handy man business that includes computer repair and software installation. In fact, the other day he was talking to our landlords property manager (Jimmy has 6 properties) and she referred Dan to Julie, a property manager for the Remax rental properties. She oversees 190 properties. I guess the other guy left and there is an opening. The great part is that if it gets too busy or if it's a 2 man job, Dan can get Phil to help. So, things are looking up as far as income goes in the Lane household!

Jillian in front of some cabbage ready for harvest

They have goats, mostly for the fertilizer, they eat the damaged or overripe produce. Her family of 5 drink the milk.

She has chickens and sells eggs when they are in abundance. Right now they are producing about 5 dozen. Mostly, her 3 kids go through a dozen eggs in a sitting, asking for kale and eggs for breakfast!

These 3 baby wild boars were given to her, the mama escaped. She does a luau about every 3 months, plus, provides some to the personal chefs.

There are 5 total gardens that they rotate through, plus one for the kids. 

After we left the farm we headed up to Hanalei to check out the waves. We stopped at the pier in Hanalei Bay, because we'd heard it's a great place to learn how to surf. We left shortly thereafter, the rain coming down harder and drenching us! 

Overlooking Hanalei Valley and the taro fields

Hanalei Valley at ground level

I asked Dan to take some shots of me for use on my flyer or website

Not sure which one I should use

The pier at Hanalei Bay

even though it looks cold, it wasn't

a lot of people were out, Dan thinks this is a great wave to learn on.

The houses along Hanalei Bay

The point on the north west edge of the bay

Produce from Jillian's farm, except for the giant avocados, they were from Nok. We also came home with some local honey from a car on the side of the road (hopefully to help Dan's allergies), fresh goat cheese from a local dairy and the best coconut chips!

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