CSAs on an Upswing

There’s a front page story in today’s Press Herald on the increasing popularity of CSAs in Maine.

The number of CSAs in Maine has roughly doubled to 140 in the past three years, said Melissa White Pillsbury, organic marketing coordinator for the Maine Organic Gardeners and Farmers Association. The public’s increased familiarity with CSAs and the growing number of farms in Maine are some of the reasons cited for the trend.

The CSA approach is also being applied to business beyond the farm.

Others involved in food production are also adopting the concept and tailoring it to meet their needs. In Maine, apple orchards, sheep farms, fishermen and bakeries are among those using the CSA model.

Saskatoons, Rare Books and the 4th

According to today’s Press Herald, Old Ocean House Farms will be selling Saskatoon berries at the the Saturday Farmers’ Market in Deering Oaks. Today’s paper also includes a note about a new rare book catalog from Rabelais, and an article about the traditional Independence Day meal of salmon and peas.

Salmon and peas on Independence Day is an old Maine tradition that hearkens back to the days when wild salmon were plentiful in the state’s rivers, and peas were a tasty summer holdover of the traditional English diet. Old-time Mainers didn’t plan to celebrate the Fourth this way; wild-caught salmon and home-grown peas were simply the foods that were available at this time of year after a long, hard winter and cool spring.

Out on a Limb Apple CSA

Rabelais Books and Out on a Limb in Palermo, Maine are teaming up to bring a rare apple CSA to Portland this fall. Shares are $120 and will bring “30-40 varieties of rare, interesting and highly flavored apples over the course of the season” and “will be accompanied by a newsletter with descriptions, history, tidbits and lore about each variety, as well as recipes and ideas for how to best use them.”

Bear Garden

Shown in the photo above is Craig Howard hard at work tending The Great Lost Bear‘s new rooftop vegetable garden. Howard has beans, tomatoes, tomatillos, shallots, onions, cucumbers, zucchini, and a variety of peppers as well as lemongrass, and mint under cultivation—all destined for use in the GLB’s kitchen. If the rooftop concept works out, the hope is to expand it in the coming year.