Wrapping it up

October 22, 2014


During the summer, the weeks and months become a blur: the picking never ends; we pack boxes twice a week; inexorable nature waits until winter to let up and hibernate.  While many of you mourn the passing of fresh, tender produce, we as farmers take a moment to exhale, reflect, and celebrate.  We have weathered the threatening storms, hefted the 10000 bushels, navigated the normal unpredictable eventualities.  The process is simple yet mysterious, grueling yet beautiful, and it is time to prepare for the next go-round.

We get here to the end by virtue of grace and generosity.  We succumb to the finality with peace and plenty.  It is a wonderful year indeed when we approach winter with bountiful provisions: the squash is piled high; the garlic is both stored and planted again; the onions and sweet potatoes are prepared to provide for months to come; the parsnips and carrots reside in the soil’s protective embrace; and the hardy greens welcome frozen nights to come.  For this, for being here to give thanks for our continued nourishment, we count ourselves blessed indeed.

Thanks for choosing to know your farmer.  Thanks for believing that such knowledge matters.  Thanks for the work that you have put in, be it weeding, picking, transporting, planning, washing, chopping, cooking, praying, forgiving.  Thanks for sharing in the joy of admiring, smelling, tasting, indulging.  Together we work, and together we strive.

I truly believe in Community Supported Consuming.  Much of what plagues our globalized world is our distance from what feeds us.  When we don’t know the hands and backs that break and bend for us, we can make of them an abstraction or, worse, forget they even exist.  If our luxury is the product of exploited and suffering people, what kind of luxury is this?  When we live too far from the places on earth that are cultivated to satisfy our desires, we lose sight of the nature of the demands we make.  If our sustenance results in poisoned waters and desecrated skies, what is being sustained?  We are made more whole by being more wholly aware of our getting and spending, by recognizing the connections that bind us to the interconnected world we live in, by appreciating what makes us belong to each other and this planet.

Although it might be more convenient to be a bystander, to consume with less consciousness and more “freedom,” to let others concern themselves with these acts of creation, the path of participation is greatly gratifying.  There is a plainly palpable pleasure—an enlivening intimacy—in knowing the food, in knowing how and where it comes from, in plunging our thirsty roots down deep into the rich network of soil that gives us life.

A journalist we met through the Healthy Foods, Local Farms conference wrote this piece, in which our little family makes an appearance, about our neighbor and friend Wendell Berry.


Thanks again, and keep up the good work.


Summing up the summer

October 1, 2014

I sit down to write a newsletter, produce a few paragraphs, get pulled away from the process, sit back down, weeks have passed, and the news has become old.  It has been a full and fruitful year: from one bountiful harvest to the next; from one monumental weeding job to the next; from one feeling of accomplishment to two of things undone; from one energetic toddler to the other fledgling explorer; from one late night to the next early morning; from births to deaths and the madly spinning world between them.

A farmer’s world from spring to fall does not allow many still moments of reflection.  The list never contracts.  The race is always on to the next demand.  We are consumed by the farm, and we love it.  A parent’s life from morning to evening does not allow many quiet spells of perspectivizing.  We may at times sit spellbound by the unfolding of consciousness, the constant discoveries and epiphanies, the purity of essence, the beauty of being.  But time furtively propels forward, and when at last perspective strikes we realize the child has grown older, the baby is no longer a baby.  We lose ourselves to our children, and we love it.  And so it goes under the unfathomably distant stars, on this ever-revolving earth, eon upon eon, where both no thing is new under the sun and every thing is always new.

Amidst these immutable facts, seasons change and annual crops come and go.  Year ten of A Place on Earth CSA has been a great boon.  The weather has been as close to perfect as can be, and our bushel baskets have run over.  It has been a long haul seeing this farm from worn-out and neglected to fertile and forgiving, and still there is so much work to be done.  But, it is becoming more and more clear that the land responds to loving care.  Where once even weeds were hardly fit to grow, beautiful food now flourishes.  We have made this happen as a community, and, in a world convulsing with war and pestilence, this place on earth—little as it is—harbors great hope for healing, resilience, cooperation, and the power of love.

Just as in 2005 it would have been impossible to foresee where we would be in 2014, we cannot imagine how this farm organism will evolve over the next ten years.  If the creek don’t rise, however, we can only continue to grow in health and integrity as we work together through each successive trial and triumph.  It has been a great honor to work this land, to tend to these plants and animals and microbes, to believe and be believed in, to celebrate and mourn, look and leap, wonder and imagine with you, as bedraggled and bewildered as I may sometimes be.

I cannot adequately express my gratitude for my companions in the field and home and spirit.  Whatever the circumstances, you are here, and you make light in darkness, fun in hardship, laughter in loss, learning in confusion.  I frequently feel I do not give as much as I take.  I wish there were some way to repay what I know I owe.  Know that your presence is a gift I’ll sing of and give thanks for to the grave.  Our family is unspeakably richer with you in it.

Frost will soon creep in and kill back much of the labor we lavished on this place this year.  I hope your bellies and freezers and larders have been filled and that you are still hungry for another spring and another go-round through another growing season, another journey in an endless effort to right our relationships with each other and this precious planet.


A time to plant, and a time to pick

May 17, 2014

Favorable weather and timely work add up to a garden ready to be picked. It’s a manic time of year on the farm: planting, weeding, seeding, tilling, mowing, watering, more planting–and now harvesting. So thank goodness for a super-reliable, super-capable crew of working shares and our most generous, flexible parents, who all together allow us to “make vegetables while the sun shines.”
Clark is turning into quite the little farmer. He prefers to go by “Daddy” lately, and his most frequent excuse for why he’s not ready for bed is that he has more work to do. Campbell is not exactly helping just yet, but he is often trying to negotiate his way outside, where he has a penchant for moving mulch (usually away from where it belongs). Courtney was supposed to be done with school shortly, but, with the abundance of snow days this winter, still has several weeks to go. Carden feels he is more appropriately deemed a juggler than a farmer and mostly enjoys the wide array of hats he dons through the days.
Although the world is nearly too much with us, we, in moments allowing some reflection and appreciation, feel beautifully blessed with family, friends, health, earth, light, growth and grandeur. We look forward to seeing you very soon and sharing the hale harvest of this verdant place on earth.
Thanks for joining us for another induplicable, unpredictable, joyous journey through the seasons.

Planting and planting

April 26, 2014


Daddy’s little helper

March 14, 2014

Planting season has arrived!

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Falling into Fall

September 29, 2013

031The year of the hospital

I guess it was my turn.  Clark had his two week stay in the NICU in 2010.  Between Courtney and Campbell we had five hospital stays in January and February of this year.  Two weeks ago, I was taken to the emergency room with a concussion and broken right arm after I fell from the ladder while picking pears.  As if farming and raising two young children were not enough, now I’m learning to do these jobs with one functional (and non-dominant) arm.  For my next trick, perhaps I’ll try a blindfold.

I’m of course leaning on good help more than ever.  Thanks so much to wonderful working shares, parents, friends and neighbors for keeping us in business here, albeit slowly and awkwardly on my end.  I don’t think I lost too many marbles in the fall, and the pain in my wrist has greatly subsided.

Typing is of course also slow and awkward, so I’ll keep this newsletter brief.

Season extension

The last deliveries of this 25-week season will be October 30 and November 2.  We’ll do like last year and offer three more 2013 deliveries, November 16, 30, and December 14.  Cost of this extension will be $90.  The high tunnel (if we can control the mole problem) may allow us more harvests into 2014, but we’ll wait and evaluate where we are in late December.  Let us know if you are interested or have any questions.

Crops will include: storage veggies like garlic, onion, sweet potato and winter squash; roots like carrot, beet, salsify, and radish; a wide array of hardy greens like kale, arugula and bok choy.  Egg deliveries will continue on through the Winter as well.

Another picture-perfect potluck

Thanks to all for another successful potluck.  It was a beautiful afternoon with delicious food and delightful people.  Visit our website, aplaceonearthcsa.com, for my dad’s awesome collection of photos from the day.  If you haven’t made it out to the farm before, know that you are always welcome to come for a visit.  Just give us a heads-up and head on out.  This is a community farm, and we love to share it with you.


APOE news, 8-25-13

August 25, 2013

So much for the perfect growing season.  The mild temperatures and timely rains have given way to our typical late August burn-out.  I’ve seen these same cracks in the earth before, these same shriveling fruits and plants, these same clouds of dust drifting.  Still what a pleasure it was to enjoy “Nature’s first green” prolonged upon the scene, as if it could last for so much longer than an hour.  So each season’s rise and fall, so the toddler’s play gives way, so we embrace come what may, “so dawn goes down to day.  Nothing gold can stay.”  

Last year we jumped into drought and intense heat very early, but August brought relief in rain and cooler temps, which ushered in a beautiful, bountiful Fall/Winter harvest.  This year, as you well know, the Summer has been a bonanza.  Time will tell if these late crops can somehow thrive in stiff heat, without water.  It is no small comfort to have a barn full of garlic, onions, pumpkins and winter squash, plus two long, healthy-looking rows of sweet potatoes yet to be dug.  One way or another we will make it to the finish (lord willing and the creek is certainly not rising); it sure would be nice, though, for these last couple months of the season to match the bounty of the first four months.

The days are never long enough to get done what we want.  This is ever more so with Courtney back in school.  She gets home 4:30 or so and my day begins again, sometimes stretching way too late into the night.  It is a wild time in our lives—no time to think, hardly time to eat or drink.  We are always and eternally grateful for all the help and love so generously bestowed upon us.  As crazy as it gets, we rarely lose sight of what a blessing this life is and how wonderful it is to share it with you.

Last chance for chicken

Our last processing day will be this coming Saturday.  The birds have feasted on lush pasture all Summer long and turned out really well.  We do still have birds that are unspoken for, so just tell us how many you would like, and we will deliver next weekend. 

We are happy to have incorporated these chickens into the farm, for not only do they provide a delicious protein for us meat-eaters, but they also deliver a knock-out fertilizer directly to the fields, with no need for a combustion engine or manure spreader.  As our neighbor, Wendell Berry, has succinctly stated, when we (as a society) took animals off the farm, we created a fertility problem on the farm and a pollution problem at the feedlot.  We know that, in the long run, if we want this place on earth to remain fertile and productive, we need enough animals here to properly enrich the soil.  And so, in many ways, these chickens are an important addition to our farm.

Last 2013 potluck

The equinox is fast approaching.  Join us Saturday, September 21, at 3 PM for our 9th annual Autumnal Equinox Potluck.  Good food, good people, good music, good earth—what more could you want?  See you then, if not sooner.


Summer scenes

August 18, 2013


Spring scenes

May 31, 2013


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Green means go

May 2, 2013


Life is abundant and new and green at A Place on Earth.  It is Spring, and green means go.  Time hurries forward much faster than before.  Campbell, 4 months old, sings and smiles sweetly, like his loving big brother Clark, now 2 ½ years old.  Amidst diaper changes, trips to the potty, feedings, book readings, greenhouses, chicken coops, tractor work, seeding, cultivating, watering, digging and so on, the weeks and months pass by, fully engrossed, mostly delighted.

We are rooted into this place now, watching trees grow, observing familiar phenomena cycle back around.  While “watching” and “observing” sound as if we are sitting on the porch, taking it all in, the truth is a bit more hectic.  This year presents an even greater challenge to maintain focus through the blur of activity, to pounce on small windows of opportunity, to live and not simply be swallowed by life.  We deeply need moments of quiet, time to reflect, a way to make sense of things inside the incessant swirl of responsibilities.  I need to be writing these newsletters as much as anyone needs to read any of it.  Life is too brief and precious to constantly be buried under busyness.

The Omnivore’s options

We are pleased to announce our partnership with two other farms in Turners Station.  Now in addition to our own offering of chicken, we are able provide other local meats to complement your vegetable shares.  Sweet Sixteen Farm is located just a couple miles from us, and they raise pigs and goats free range and rabbits in moveable hutches on pasture.  Their website,  www.sweetsixteenfarm.com, has a list of available cuts and pricing.  With a couple weeks advance notice, we can deliver any of these products to be picked up with your produce.  Our next door neighbors, John Grant and Bonnie Cecil at Dancing Star Farm (they also grow potatoes for us), raise sheep and sell them whole for $4/lb plus a $70 processing fee.  Let us know what you would like and when, and you can pay us upon delivery.

More from Phyllis’ kitchen

Phyllis Fitzgerald, our resident cook and home economy expert, is doing a class in Louisville called, “How to Use Your CSA Share” on Wednesday, May 29, from 6:30-9:00 at Cooking at the Cottage.  The cooking will be done by Lelia Gentle from DreamCatcher Farm, and a meal is included.  Phyllis will still be providing her written guidance through the year, but this is an opportunity to join her in the kitchen and learn firsthand.  For more information, visit www.cookingatthecottage.com.

And keep in mind as the veggies start flowing that her website, www.phyllisfitzgerald.com, is brimming with food wisdom specifically catered to CSA eaters.  She also hosts a weekly radio show with Sarah Fritschner on crescenthillradio.com called, “La Vida Local.”

High tunnel still in progress

The Winter months, with the birth of Campbell and four subsequent hospital stays, were not the most productive on the farm.  The bare necessities were attended to: firewood was cut, hauled, stacked, and fed to the woodstove, and the chickens were fed, watered, and their eggs gathered.  With freer minutes, I dug a drainage ditch on the lower side of the driveway, so that it is now navigable after a rain.  The high tunnel, with its warmer climate, took to growing a lush carpet of grass.  Heavy Spring rains clearly indicated that the tunnel needed its own drainage ditches.  In the last weeks we have dug a 150 foot long, two-foot deep trench to the tunnel for a water line.  Lots of digging, lots of slow, primitive work.  But the soil down in this bottomland is beautiful, and we are filled with visions of future, robust harvests.  As we remarked while pounding, prying, and grinding at rocks in our way, this is surely the opposite of fast food.

Early start to the season

It appears as if our first harvest will be ready a week earlier than scheduled.  I will send out another email confirming this, but make a note that Wednesday, May 15, and Saturday, May 18, will be the first deliveries—that’s just two weeks from now!  Spinach, lettuce, kale, radishes, green garlic.  Getting hungry?



This farm is a collaborative effort and never more so than this year.  Thanks for a wonderful crew of working shares, for grandparents’ childcare and meals, for generous neighbors and dependable friends, for encouraging words and creative talents.  Thanks for your patience and understanding of the numerous needs tugging at our pant legs.  We are blessed to belong to such a supportive community, and hope we can be as good to you as you are to us.  Thanks for joining us on this fruitful journey.  May the rewards be bounteous!