Prairie Heritage Farm 2011 CSA Programs

Prairie Heritage Farm is largely what is called "Community Supported Agriculture," meaning we sell "shares" of the products we produce to members. Here is some information on our three programs.

About Us
As many of you know, Prairie Heritage Farm is an organic farm based just outside of Conrad, Montana, about 60 miles north of Great Falls. It is owned and managed by us: Jacob and Courtney Cowgill. This is our third year farming in Conrad as well as our third year doing a Vegetable CSA program. 2011 marks the fourth year of our Thanksgiving CSA and the second year offering limited shares in a Whole Grain and Seed CSA. We'll get you up to speed on that later, but for now, a little bit about the CSA concept and what you can expect from us this summer:

What is Community Supported Agriculture?
Community Supported Agriculture, commonly referred to as CSA, is a unique arrangement between a farmer and customers. Customers buy shares in the farm’s crops, usually at the beginning of the season and in exchange, they receive goods throughout the growing season. By receiving money before the season begins, the farmer has much needed operating capital to buy seeds and other start-up inputs. In this arrangement, the customer shares in the benefits as well as in the risks of the farm. A CSA allows you to become more closely connected to where your food comes from, and by supporting a local farm, you are also supporting the local economy and our state’s agricultural heritage.

How Does the Prairie Heritage Farm Vegetable CSA Work?
Each week, you'll pick up a package of organic vegetables – whatever is ripe and ready for harvest that week. The CSA will run roughly from June to October, and you'll receive shares for a minimum of 16 weeks. We are working on season extenders, so we're hopeful we'll be able to offer you more but it all depends on the weather. Your first CSA share is likely to include early-season crops like spinach, radishes, peas, kale and like. By July, your fridge and pantry will be brimming with tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, greens, beets, summer squash, cucumbers and fresh herbs. Part of the beauty of the CSA is you will truly be eating in season.

Conrad-area customers will pick up their shares at our house in Conrad. This year it is unlikely we will attend the Great Falls Farmers’ Market, so Great-Falls area customers will pick up in Great Falls at a to-be-determined time and place.

Note: If there are weeks you are not able to pick up your CSA share, it is your responsibility to arrange for someone else to pick it up for you or you can request that we donate your share.

Our shares are sold on a sliding scale of between $400 and $500. And truly, we want you to pay whatever you can pay within that range. Again this year, if it suits you, you can pay half of the full price in February and half in August. Please specify your price and your payment schedule when you send in your check.

Half Shares:
We are offering half shares this year for $275. All of that amount is due up front. This year, rather than receiving half as many vegetables each week, you will get a full share’s worth every other week.

We ask that your first payment reach us by March 15 in order to reserve your membership (2010 shareholders have first priority). We are expanding this year, but there is a waiting list, so please respond as quickly as you can for the sake of those folks languishing in vegetable limbo.

Sign up now for the Vegetable CSA by sending your payment to:
Prairie Heritage Farm
Box 914, Conrad, MT 59425

Other Prairie Heritage Farm CSA Programs

Thanksgiving CSA
A few days before Thanksgiving, our Thanksgiving CSA members receive a package of winter squash, onions and potatoes as well as an organic, pasture-raised heritage turkey. Our turkeys continue to get rave reviews, many of our customers covering their surveys this year with phrases like "tastiest bird we've ever had" and "my guests were wowed" and many, many exclamation points.

The vegetables will cost $20 up-front for,
5-7 potatoes; 3-4 onions; 5-10 lbs. winter squash
The turkeys will cost $5.00/lb. Like last year, your up-front cost will be for an 8 lb. turkey. However many pounds over that, you will pay upon delivery. For example, if you receive a 12 pound turkey, you will pay an additional $20 (4 lbs. x $5.00) upon delivery.

The total up-front cost of the Thanksgiving CSA is $60 and a limited number of shares are available.

Sign up for the Thanksgiving CSA now by sending your $60 deposit to:
Prairie Heritage Farm
Box 914, Conrad, MT 59425

Grain and Seed CSA
With the Grain and Seed CSA, you receive around 100 lbs. of whole grains and lentils in the late fall, early winter, after we've harvest and cleaned the crop. In 2010, shareholders received:

10 pounds of Crimson lentils
10 pounds of Red Chief lentils
20 pounds of Sonora spring wheat
15 pounds of Khorasan wheat
15 pounds of Lucile emmer
15 pound of Bronze barley
2 pounds of milk thistle
Total pounds: 87 pounds.

A breakdown of costs is as follows:
$3/lb. for lentils
$2/lb. for spring wheat
$1.75/lb. for Khorasan
$3/lb. for emmer
$2.25/lb. for barley
$12/lb. for milk thistle

The 2011 share will be similar, but may include different varieties and amounts.

If you'd like to sign up, you'll pay a down payment this spring of $100 and then pay the rest of the balance upon delivery in the fall. The remainder will depend on what the 2011 share entails. Just to give you an idea, in 2010, the total cost amounted to $229.

A limited number of shares are available.

Sign up now by sending your $100 deposit to:
Prairie Heritage Farm
Box 914, Conrad, MT 59425

We believe that small family farms nourish not only the people who work them, but the people they feed and communities in which they live. We believe organic agriculture, diversification and a robust local food system are good for the health of our farm, our customers, ourselves and our planet.

We are so thankful for your continued support, whether you're a returning CSA customer or a one of our loyal farmers' market customers considering the CSA, you've been instrumental in making Prairie Heritage Farm work.

We look forward to serving you healthy, organic food again this summer. Here's to Spring!

Jacob and Courtney Cowgill

Do not hesitate to call or email with questions. We'd love to hear from you.

Reach us at:
PO Box 914
Conrad, MT 59425
E-mail: farmer at prairieheritagefarm dot com
Jacob at 406-396-1291
Courtney at 406-531-4794

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