Thursday, December 15, 2011

Low Income CSA shares!

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) brings together a community of farmers and customers who pledge to support these farmers' operations, sharing the risks & rewards of food production.

Generally the CSA model relies on customers to pay in full before the harvest, which provides growers with the financial security to cover seasonal startup costs. So what happens when a community member wants to support a farmer but lives with a limited income, receiving SNAP (food stamps) benefits?

We have an answer.

Fresh Start Farms is working with Cultivating Community to sign up SNAP recipients for CSA shares for the 2012 season.

Why sign up? There are two major perks:

  1. pay once a month as you receive food, instead of paying upfront

  2. pay half the price: thanks to a doubling program through Wholesome Wave, we are able to match SNAP dollars on CSA purchases--meaning SNAP customers pay for two weeks of every month and Cultivating Community pays for the other two.

Only one catch... we only have a limited number of these low income CSA shares available, so register as soon as possible to reserve your spot!!

Look through the winter gray toward the light at the end of the tunnel, and you will find juicy ripe tomatoes in your future :)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Winter Market & SNAP

Hopefully you're all gearing up for the Portland Winter Farmers' Market opening this Saturday 9am-1pm at the Maine Irish Heritage Center!

Did you know that we will be accepting VISA/MC, as well as SNAP food stamps?? In fact, every time you swipe your food stamps card, you will get DOUBLE the number of tokens... absolutely free! That's right, we'll charge $5 to your card and give you $10 in tokens!

Wondering what you can buy at the indoor market? There are tons of options!

  • Root & greenhouse vegetables

  • Storage crops

  • Dairy products

  • Eggs

  • Honey

  • Breads, grains, flour

  • Tempeh

  • Jams & preserved foods

  • Meats

  • and much more!

Speaking of root vegetables, we stumbled upon a fun video from the Austin Farmers' Market all about TURNIPS. Get some ideas for this often under-appreciated crop!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Getting more out of your fruit & veggies!

Our friends over at the Lewiston Farmers Market compiled an excellent list of storage tips to help you get more out of your fruit & veggies!

"We tend to think of our refrigerators as a magic box that preserves food. However, it can dry vegetables out, causing them to shrivel. Some produce items in fact, store longer when not put into the refrigerator. "

Check it out and give your veggies the care they need.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Video--Portland Farmers' Market

As we get ready to enter winter, let's remember our summer days at the Portland Farmers' Market. This season, a fan created a video that highlighted the outdoor markets, Maine farmers, the SNAP program, and why it's important to eat local food. Check it out!

Farmers' Perspective on Local Food

Remember that Portland's Indoor Farmers' Market begins December 10th at the Irish Heritage Center, located at 52 Gray Street (one block from Mercy Hospital on State St)!

Friday, November 4, 2011

End of Season!

It's officially the end of our CSA year, the end of most of our markets, and the end of the general growing season...

...but for Fresh Start Farms growers, it's the beginning of the important off-season, full of workshops and trainings, and making plans for next year. For Rosy (in blue)- this marks her first full season with NASAP, so we celebrated her last market of the year with a celebratory cake and many warm congratulations :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Celebrating the Harvest

A big thanks to everyone to came out to the Harvest Festival this weekend! We were fortunate to have a mostly sunny afternoon with crisp Autumn air - the perfect climate for a feast on the farm and a tribute to everyone who has worked so hard this season.

It was a time for producers and consumers to gather together, to learn about one another and to celebrate the common love of good food.

It was a time for Fresh Start Farms growers and Cultivating Community staff to rejoice over a successful season growing cooperatively and sustainably.

It was a time to honor the commitment and compassion of our youth and introduce these strong food justice leaders to their community.

And a time to see the land where our food is grown... on a hayride!

It was a time to share stories, to laugh, to dance and sing...

and of course, it was a time to EAT!

As we wind down for the season, let's give thanks for every seed that's grown up healthy, and continue to nourish the sprouts that are still coming of age :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Chances are, whenever you pick up your CSA share, the hustle and bustle of market makes it difficult to actually talk with the farmers...until now!

At our annual Harvest Festival, you'll be free to chat with all of Fresh Start Farms growers and walk around the fields to see how and where your food is grown. Plus, there will be tons of food and music!

The address is 76 Littlefield Rd., Packard/Littlefield Farm, Lisbon ME. If you need directions or have any other questions, feel free to send us an email at or call us at 761-4769.

Is driving an issue? Let us know and we can arrange a ride for you!

Looking forward to seeing you all there :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Cabbage Salad and Slaw!

You may know that cabbage is a nutritional powerhouse, but did you know just how versatile it is in the kitchen? CSA shareholder Annie Seikonia generously offered two of her harvest recipes this season!

Cabbage Salad

Rinse and spin lettuce,

chop up cucumbers, carrots, cabbage, etc.

Then add cherry tomatoas and a homemade dressing of oil, vinegar, and garlic!


Chop up the cabbage

stir in some Vegenaise mayonnaise and a tablespoon of sugar.

You can also add some shredded carrots, sliced onions, and salt & pepper to taste!

--If you're interested, try substituting yogurt for the mayonnaise and adding some cider vinegar, honey, lemon and brown sugar for flavor. It's delicious!

We'd love to hear about all of your creations - we'll post what you send us!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Autumn is upon us!

We are one week deep in the Autumn CSA season and would like to welcome all of our new shareholders to Fresh Start Farms!

Supporting Fresh Start Farms makes an impact on multiple levels:

You are receiving fresh produce to nourish yourselves and your families.

Your farmers are accessing income that allows them to build and expand small-scale farm-based businesses. This is essential for the immigrants and refugees who participate in our New American Sustainable Agriculture Program (NASAP) to become more self-sufficient.

Our community benefits from local purchases by keeping Maine dollars circulating in your region. Your investment also contributes to the development of a vibrant local food culture!

Our planet will continue to be cultivated using sustainable agriculture practices that protect and preserve its health and vitality.


Keep checking back for updates on what's growing and who's growing it!

And also look out for an invitation to our Harvest Dinner on the Packard-Littlefield Farm in Lisbon! This is where most of the farmers grow their produce, and come mid-October, the farmers will put on their chef's hats and cook a delicious feast!


Friday, August 5, 2011


and if you think our produce sometimes looks funky: Mutatoes

Collard Greens! What To Do!

You might have found Collard Greens in you CSA this week.

They look like the picture on the right.


Please post a recipe you love below

Monday, May 16, 2011

Please visit the Cultivating Community website for more information and to sign up for your CSA:
Looking for fresh broccoli? Consider joining our CSA!

Top ten cauliflowers and broccoli producers—11 June 2008
CountryProduction (tonnes)Footnote
People's Republic of China8,585,000F
United States1,240,710
United Kingdom186,400
No symbol = official figure, F = FAO estimate

Source: Food And Agricultural Organization of United Nations: Economic And Social Department: The Statistical Division

May 16, 2011

Hi All,

This is the blog maintained by the staff of Cultivating Community to share the work of the Fresh Start Farmers and their CSA. We will try to update the blog weekly.

We are looking forward to a break in the rain to get more planting done.