CSA model leads to success for one Wisconsin farm

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(WKOW) — On pickup days at Blue Moon Community Farm, owner Kristen Kordet gets busy preparing for a steady stream of customers.

“We have everyone come and visit our farm every week. We don’t deliver off-site at all,” Kordet said.

Customers flock to the farm in Stoughton to get organic vegetables, herbs and fruits and to pick fresh flowers.

“It’s overwhelmingly wonderful,” said Leigh Caro-Leverich, a regular customer. “We can’t believe how wonderful this place is.”

Community Supported Agriculture or CSA is the heart and soul of Blue Moon.

It’s a way to buy local food directly from a farmer. Customers purchase shares in the spring, usually for several hundred dollars, and become farm members.

“If you divide that into weeks, you’re probably spending maybe $30 a week on organic, beautiful food. It’s actually inexpensive,” Caro-Leverich said.

The money helps farmers with operating expenses and customers receive a portion of the produce.

“The up-front capital.. super important,” Kordet said. “About one-third of our operating expenses go out the door before we put a plant in the ground in April.”

Kordet started Blue Moon Community Farm in 2004.

“Our first year we had 20 families in our CSA. At this point in time, we have over 300,” Kordet said.

She describes her farm as a lean operation. Deliberately small. It has grown slowly over the past 15 years from one acre to six.

Kordet says the CSA model is the backbone of the farm. It has allowed her to expand at a time when many farmers are struggling.

“Its what’s provided the stability to be able to plan for the future and to mitigate some of the changes we’re seeing in the last few years.” she said.”

“I’m an every other week share, so today I came to get sald greens, scallions, beets, carrots and cucumbers,” Caro-Leverich said.

Caro-Leverich says it’s important to her to support a place like Blue Moon to help small farmers.

“Because you’re becoming part of a community. You’re supporting a farmer in good times and bad,” she said. “So if there’s a plethora of vegetables, you’re going to benefit. And if it’s a hard simmer. A drought or whatever, we’re all in there together. Farmers don’t go under.”

“It’s healthy. It’s arm to your own table,” said Lily Postel, who now does some work at the farm. “You don’t have to go to a restaurant for farm to table. Do farm to table at home. Plus, it makes you a better cook,” she said.

Postel started coming to Blue Moon for health reasons.

“I’ve had breast cancer 15 years ago. A lot of what they tell you to do in that sort of lifestyle is watch your eating. Get exercise,” Postel said.

“All of our members are taking home a bag full of produce and they may not know what to do with it,” Kordet said. “But they’re excited to eat what’s fresh, what’s local, what got picked yesterday and this morning here on this farm.”

 

 

George Smith

George Smith

Anchor, 27 News at 5, 6 and 10

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