While the rest of us are wondering how we can keep from freezing during this week’s cold spell, at Green Edge Gardens in Amesville they’re harvesting fresh greens and other tasty edibles, as they do all winter.
For a decade Kip and Becky Rondy have run the farm, nestled in a picturesque valley, and for most of that time they’ve employed an innovative distribution model in which many of their vegetables are sold via subscription to area residents.
Growing food during the cold months is made possible by 10 long greenhouses made of plastic over tubular frameworks. The plants are covered until the warmest parts of the day, when the tarps are pulled back and they receive sunlight – which also warms the ground between and around them.
“While we sell wholesale to restaurants, we’re also a CSA,” explained Claudia Barshaw, who handles that part of the farm’s business. What is a CSA? “It’s community supported agriculture,” which in this case means that people may buy subscriptions, called “shares,” and once each week they receive a delivery of freshly grown vegetables and other locally produced foods.
“People can also get half-shares – they receive the same sized bag of food, but it’s once every two weeks,” Myers said.
It’s a model reminiscent of the day when neighborhood farms sold food in their immediate areas, when it was more local than the prevailing food distribution system is now. At Green Edge Gardens the arrangement is called the Athens Hills CSA.
The farm’s service area concentrates on Athens, Belpre, Marietta and Columbus, she said. And being local and relatively small, the farm is more attentive to customer wishes and comments.