Hey guys, we are almost full on our Spring/Summer CSA—which we deliver straight to your door!—but we do have just a few spots left that we would love to fill!
If you are in the Lawrenceburg, Frankfort, or Versailles, Kentucky, areas (aka Bourbon country) would like to sign up you can click here OR (to save on the credit fee) send a check to us at 1295 Gilbert’s Creek rd. Lawrenceburg, KY 40342.
The cost is $360 for 15 weeks (or $648 for a large family 15 week share—a 10% discount). Of course, don’t be intimated by the price, we can work out a payment schedule if you cannot pay all at once—we want to feed you and your family.
Also, you can read more about our CSA here, too, or email us at email@example.com with any questions you have!
Over our six years as an actual farm entity, we have really taken to the term Farmsteading.
Farmsteading is not really a word (my spellcheck abhors it), but it’s has become very real to us.
Farmsteading is an obvious portmanteau of homesteading and farming yet it’s also more than that. For us, farmsteading is about making a good simple living off good simple living, where our business life and personal life are not actively separated but intentionally made to be symbiotic. We grow food for our family, and more so we can feed others. And it is no accident that we are not Rough Draft Farms, or Rough Draft Gardens. We are, wholeheartedly, farmsteaders.
And in the spirit of that, a couple months ago we started putting up videos (below) about how we do things on the farmstead. The goal here is simply to show how we grow food, offer some advice, and hopefully inspire some of you to do the same. Our systems are always evolving, but we thought it would be fun to share what we have going on and how we do it. So maybe you want to farm or you’re just curious about how we do things! Check ‘em out and let us know what you think. And as always, subscribe to follow along!
So let’s just get right into the big news and then we’ll break it down: starting this summer I—with a massive amount of assistance from Hannah, of course—will be taking over as the head chef and executive farmer of a new restaurant in Versailles called Spark Community Cafe. I will still be a full-time farmer at Rough Draft Farmstead, but I will also be a chef. Let me explain.
FIRST, WHAT IS SPARK? Spark Community Cafe is a nonprofit, pay-what-you-can restaurant opening in downtown Versailles, Kentucky (this summer), and Hannah and I are beyond excited to be a part of it.
It is estimated that 17 percent of Kentuckians and 22 percent of Kentucky children are food insecure—that’s roughly one and five of our fellow citizens. Food insecurity exists in every county in Kentucky, and every county in the United States. Spark’s pay-what-you-can model is a brilliantly simple way of addressing this issue head on.
HOW IT WORKS
Patrons can pay the suggested price, or more, or less, depending on their financial circumstances. Payments are kept anonymous so no one knows how much anyone else pays. Patrons who cannot afford a meal are able to volunteer at the restaurant and earn meals that way. One can also volunteer his or her time to donate meals so others may have a meal. Ultimately, the goal of Spark and the many other restaurants like it is to end food insecurity in the community—to make sure kids and adults, single parents, poor, or just cash-strapped people alike can get a good, nutritious meal when they need it – and can dine with dignity.
Offering food to those people who may not have access to a nutritious meal every day speaks to Hannah and me as citizens, but also as farmers. Hannah and I have always struggled with how expensive our produce is. There is no easy way for us to grow it cheaper, sell it cheaper, and still make a sufficient living. So this pay-what-you-can model presents a very exciting opportunity for us to get our produce to those who may not normally, or regularly, be able to afford it while still making a living for ourselves. This is especially true as Spark’s founders seek to pay a living wage to their workers and support local farmers by paying a fair price for the food.
My role will be to create seasonal menus and train the staff on how to prepare them. I will likewise be utilizing ingredients from our farm and others (so if you’re a farmer or artisan in the area, make sure to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can have your info—I will be actively looking for people to provide certain crops, meats, etc..). The goal will be to use as much local foods as possible, with an emphasis on farms and artisans closest to the restaurant and within Kentucky first, and pay what the crops are actually worth.
This project will certainly be extra work for us, but it’s something we believe is not only important, but in line with our values, goals, and faith.
Ultimately, almost a decade ago now, when we looked around and asked ourselves how we could affect the most change, Hannah and I chose farming. Now through Spark, we will be able to amplify that goal.
Of course, Rough Draft Farmstead will still be running our CSA (SIGN UP HERE). We will still be selling to other restaurants, but Spark will be our other exciting (ad)venture this year. So we hope you will check out and follow Spark!
If you would like to get involved, volunteer, donate, or just learn more, check out Spark on Facebook, Instagram or at sparkcommunitycafeky.org. We hope you will come support this cause while we all work to eradicate food insecurity in our communities.
Last week Hannah and I ordered the bulk of our seeds for this year’s CSA and we are EXCITED about this upcoming season!
CSA members will be getting over FIFTY different types of vegetables in our CSA this year. That’s a lot of good, healthy, vegetable diversity, organically grown and delivered straight to your door.
But I wanted to take a few minutes to explain how CSA works and answer some frequently asked questions.
To sign up, click HERE or you can also send a check to the farm (which saves you 3%). And of course, email us if you have any other questions. How long does your CSA last?
This year we have shortened the duration of the CSA from 20 to 15 weeks, starting some time in may (depending on weather).
How much does it cost?
The price of the CSA is $360, which works out to be $24/week, part of which pays for the home delivery.
What if I can’t pay it all upfront?
Hannah and I want to feed people who want good, healthy food and for that reason we are happy to work out the payment plan that’s right for you—don’t let the price be the reason you avoid our CSA! The reason we ask for the money upfront is so that we can budget for the year and buy all of the seeds and tools we need (which so far is about $2000 we’ve already spent). Your early investment in the farm is what pays for us to get the food growing! So we ask that everyone pay as much as they can before the season starts so that we can get a sense of how much money we have to work with for the year. Preferably, our members would be fully paid by the time the seasons starts BUT, you can pay in installments. Email us and we’ll work out a payment plan that works for you and your budget.
Oh, you deliver?
Yes! Straight to your door. So long as you live in Versailles, Frankfort, or Lawrenceburg, we will deliver straight to your door every week.
How much food is in a single share?
The single share is designed for a single person or couple who cook several meals at home per week, or for a small family who likes to cook a few from scratch. Larger families, especially those who cook a lot, may prefer the double share (at a 10% discount) as a single share might not be enough food.
So wait, do I get to choose what goes in the CSA?
Yes and no. Via a member survey, every year we make an effort to figure out what our CSA members liked and didn’t like, what they want more of and what they could do without. So in some ways you will get to help guide our planting decisions year after year, but we also have to plant the garden based on the season, so some of what you receive, and the amounts, are left to us so that we can grow foods that perform best at that time of the year. Different crops have different seasons, and by planting based on when they will perform best we 1) save water, increase biodiversity, and take advantage of seasonally sensitive crops and 2) ensure that you’re getting the most healthful and flavorful version of each veggie. This diversity of vegetables can be a cooking challenge, but we will help you there, too, giving you tips on how to store, prep, and cook your veggies with our weekly newsletter and YouTube page .
What happens if I go out of town?
Don’t worry. We are fairly flexible here, too. In that situation, if you would like, we can double up on a week to make up for the missed week, or we can offer you extra of certain items throughout the share to compensate. Some members like to give their share to a neighbor or friend for the week they miss. Whatever works for you, works for us!
What if I have an allergy or don’t like a certain vegetable?
We always encourage our customers to try vegetables that they may have disliked in the past, but we are not going to force anything on you! There are people who just can’t handle say, cilantro, and we are sympathetic to that—we will always substitute where we can! If you are allergic to something such as nightshades, the CSA is perhaps not going to be worth the cost for you as potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant are a large part of the offerings. We will happily work with you, but we will also always be honest because, more than anything, we want to get more people eating locally and diversely: if our farm is not the right fit for you we will recommend one that is!
Last week I posted this video about five reasons I think everyone should join a CSA just in case you need more convincing!
Even before we had children, Jesse and I discussed schooling. A lot. We went back and forth, between decrying the evils of public schools to the merits of diversity in public education and the fact that both of us (public school kids) turned out just fine! We still have mixed feelings – for example, there are many things wrong with our education system, but if we opt out of the system entirely how will it ever get better? And isn’t it just out of my place of privilege that I can choose an option other than public school – is my child better than other children who don’t have the choice? BUT for now, since Further is only 3 and he is already home with us all day, we are trying out a very loose homeschooling curriculum.
My main goals for the year are to establish a rhythm of school and work within our days, to introduce Further to structured learning, and to basically just see if this is something that is going to fit for our family and for Further and my relationship. That’s it! No real pressure on him or me.
So far, our days have ended up being mostly play, outside time, reading, art, and anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour of actual, structured “school.” It is pretty free and relaxed – I have been trying to take cues from what Further is interested in, what his body language tells me (as in: sitting down for a craft vs. turning him loose outside to get the crazies out), and involve him in practical life skills tasks (as in: just doing our normal life stuff like chores, farm work, cleaning, cooking). That being said, I have very much appreciated having a curriculum to guide my days and give me structure: we are using The Peaceful Preschool along with resources from Simply Learning. I’m stretching the “one letter a week” units to two weeks per letter, so that I have lots of flexibility for those “nope not happening” sort of days.
Essentially, I have no idea what I am doing. Within just these first two weeks I have had days of feeling like “This is amazing and I am a rockstar and Further is a genius and the online homeschooling community is so inspiring and helpful” to “I am failing and we are accomplishing nothing and why can’t Further count correctly and the online homeschooling community is a horrible, dark place of shame and guilt.” FUN! I would love to know your thoughts! Are you homeschooling? Public school? Private? I obviously have no judgement on choices either way – we hope Further likes it but also want to respect his choice if he someday wants to go to school. I hope to hear from some of you!