Jones' Farmer Blog

Behind the scenes and lessons at Jones Family Farms in Shelton, CT

A Great Year of CRAFT

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CRAFT (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training) has continued this fall with two more meetings. At the end of October, we visited Holcomb Farm in West Granby. Holcomb Farm is a Learning Center as well as a CSA.

They provide many programs and events for children and the community. Their Learning Center even includes an indoor turtle pond and a live skunk! Their CSA program is different from the usual “box type” CSA, in which members receive a pre-packed box of produce each week. Holcomb Farm’s CSA allows its members to fill a CSA bag each week with whatever variety of veggies they would like, giving the member more choice in what they receive. It was interesting to see this different way of handling a CSA, as well as learning about this community non-profit farm.

The last CRAFT meeting of 2010 was held in the beginning of November at Marble Valley Farm in Kent. It was a chilly day and we were all bundled up in hats and gloves. I couldn’t help but think back to the summer meetings when we were looking at fields of tomatoes and greens and then enjoying potluck meals outside in the barnyard. This day we were looking at Jerusalem artichokes and other late fall crops as well as turned ground newly planted with winter cover crops.  We were all very thankful that Megan Haney of Marble Valley Farm invited us in to her warm house for our potluck on this day. It would have been a little chilly in the barnyard!

Marble Valley Farm is completing its 4th year as a CSA. Megan took a lot of time to tell us about how the farm started and the challenges and successes that they have had. She had print outs of their financial records for us to look at. This was very helpful for a group of apprentices like us, many of which would like to start their own farms in the future.

I have really appreciated the opportunity to participate in the CRAFT meetings this year as an apprentice at Jones Family Farms. It gave me the chance to meet other apprentices and to hear about their experiences. It also allowed me to visit other farms and to learn about a variety of agricultural activities and practices in the state of CT. Participating in CRAFT allows the apprentice to receive an even broader learning experience than is available by working on one farm. It has been a great year with CRAFT!

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