Charlestown Township, Chester County, PA

 
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Established June 2, 1997
by citizens for citizens

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March 16, 1998

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What's new at Charlestown Cooperative Farm?
February, 2003

 
We are now preparing for the second year of the Charlestown Cooperative Farm. The farm is a nonprofit cooperative operated as a community supported farm. At the beginning of each growing season, families and individuals in the community purchase shares in that season's harvest. You can learn how to purchase a share by visiting the farm website at http://www.charlestowncooperativefarm.org.
The farm had a great first year despite the challenges of starting the operation and contending with a severe drought. We will be building on the progress and experience of our first season and are anticipating more vegetables, more shareholders, and more programs this year.
We started 2002 with an old tractor, no barn, no driveway, no well, and no irrigation system.
This year we have a new tractor with attachments ideally suited for organic farming, a barn, a driveway, a well, and an extensive irrigation system. John Good and Aimee Kocis, our farmers extraordinaire, have just returned from Costa Rica where they celebrated their engagement, while bird watching and working on an organic farm. They returned to attend the annual Pennsylvania Association of Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) meeting in State College. Soon they will be at work in the hoop house starting seeds.
In response to comments from our shareholders we will be making several changes this year.
  1. A number of members had no idea what to do with certain vegetables and some did not feel they were preparing certain vegetables in an optimal fashion. Consequently, Katy Andersen will spearhead efforts to educate all of us on how best to prepare the wonderful vegetables Aimee and John produce.
  2. We will try to extend the seasons of certain vegetables such as corn and tomatoes by starting seeds earlier and planting some varieties which mature more quickly.
  3. With help from a shareholder, we will improve the website and attempt to update it on a more current basis.
  4. We will begin to prepare an area for planting blueberries, raspberries, apples and peaches which will be planted over the next few years and bear in years to come.
  5. We will grow additional vegetables such as edible soybeans (edamame), cauliflower, and pumpkins plus a wider variety of vegetables grown last year including delicious and hard to find heirloom types.
We are also beginning work on an exciting plan for an organic grass based micro dairy. We have been working with Dave Griffiths of highly successful Seven Stars Farm in Kimberton to develop a model for a sustainable organic grass based small scale dairy which would include roughly 25 Jersey cows. The cows would produce milk on a seasonal basis (i.e. not in the winter months) and the dairy products would be distributed using the community supported farm format. Once we have finalized our plans, we will seek to enter into a long term lease or purchase a 30 to 35 acre site with good pasture and proximity to the Cooperative Farm so we can readily use the manure in the vegetable operation.
Please e-mail me (dha1@mac.com) or John and Aimee (goodaim@aol.com) with any questions.
 
Donald H. Andersen, M.D.
President, Charlestown Cooperative Farm
 

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