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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

2009 Community Supported Agriculture(CSA) Shares

What is a CSA? Community Supported Agriculture consists of a community of individuals who pledge support to a farm operation so that the farmland becomes, either legally or spiritually, the community's farm, with the growers and consumers providing mutual support and sharing the risks and benefits of food (or Fiber) production. Typically, members or "share-holders" of the farm or garden pledge in advance to help with the anticipated costs of the farm operation. In return, they receive shares in the farm's bounty throughout the growing season, as well as satisfaction gained from reconnecting to the land and participating directly in food or fiber production. Members also share in the risks of farming, including poor harvests due to unfavorable weather or pests. By direct sales to community members, who have provided the farmer with working capital in advance, growers receive better prices for their crops, gain some financial security, and are relieved of much of the burden of marketing.

Spinners End Farm is a small family farm in the eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Spinners End was started with the gift of a spinning wheel and three rescue llamas. We soon added a small flock of registered purebred Shetland sheep and a few English angora rabbits. Our children (ages 8, 6 and 4) assist us with some small, but significant tasks to help them learn about the responsibility, care and joy that comes from animal stewardship; the biology of the animal and the ecology of a farm.
Spinners End is a modest farm where the welfare of our animals is of the utmost concern. Our fiber animals are a part of our family- everyone has a name and receives daily individual attention and affection. It is our intention that they will live their lives out at our farm if at all possible. Our sheep are guarded by their companion llamas and we are a “predator friendly” farm. Our sheep and llamas graze in a small pasture during the summer months and are supplemented with quality locally grown grass hay. In our area, grass hay is generally harvested only once a season, allowing nesting grassland birds the opportunity to raise and fledge a full brood of young. During the winter months, grass hay is supplemented with treats of whole oats and roasted soybeans. Fresh water, mineral and kelp supplements are available at all times. Animals are vaccinated and examined for internal parasites and wormed if necessary. Part of our philosophy is we don’t believe in the routine application of chemicals or pesticides where it isn’t warranted. Shearing and processing wool is done here at the farm by hand! Sheep and llamas are gently shorn with hand shears and the wool is skirted, soaked, washed and dried on our back deck in the sun. English angora wool is harvested by gently plucking the loose fiber- ensuring a long staple wonderful for spinning. Wool is then processed and blended by drum carder into thick, soft, lofty batts that are wonderful to spin. If you choose the yarn CSA, all yarn is handspun and is double ply. By purchasing a CSA share, you become part of our extended farm family. The dollars you invest in our farm will help us provide the best possible care we can give to our animals in the form of high quality grass hay, mineral & kelp supplement, vaccinations and medications (when necessary), hoof trimming and shelter. This year, we hope to begin construction on a small New England styled barn to increase the comfort and security of the flock.

In return for your investment as a CSA shareholder, you will receive two pounds of spinning batts, or one pound of handspun yarn made from the animals on our farm. You can choose the colors and blends of fiber- Shetland wool is soft and luxurious and blends very nicely with small quantities of llama and angora fiber, or you may choose 100 % Shetland wool which “spins itself” and also makes a wonderful felt. Please contact us for the many choices available to you- there is a wide variety of natural colors to choose from! Based on your selection of fibers, you will receive information and photos of the animals that grew the fiber, and your name will be listed as a CSA shareholder on our farm blog where updates on the farm are regularly posted.
Shareholders will receive their spinning batts or yarn by the beginning of October (or sooner if it can be arranged) to ensure us the time to carefully prepare the fiber and hand spin the yarn. You will be contacted for the details of your fiber blends and colors or yarn preferences. If you wish to purchase a CSA share to sponsor our farm, and you aren’t a spinner, knitter, felt artist or fiber enthusiast you may donate the fiber back to Spinners End Farm and we could gratefully offer another CSA share. Shares will be limited to ten for the 2009 season and are $100.00 each. They are available to purchase through our Etsy store site, posted on the right side of this page.

Continue to visit our blog to learn more about the farm and feel free to contact us with any questions you might have and fiber options available- we look forward to chatting with you! Personal visits to our farm to meet the animals are also welcome.

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