2017 Austin Area Farm Share CSA with Home Delivery

Blessing Falls LLC grows natural, safe, healthy vegetables and fruit using organic methods and practices and delivers the harvest throughout the greater Austin area. Our family farm was established in 2010, each year adding more garden space and different varieties of vegetables, herbs, fruit trees, berries, and animals.  Partner with us and enjoy the health and taste of natural produce in your weekly farm share conveniently delivered to your home or workplace. Fresh flowersGrass fed beef and pasture-raised eggs from organically fed hens are also available with your weekly order.

“Community Supported Agriculture”, or CSA, means farmers and supporters partnering together for the sake of healthy, nutritious food. Some farms call this a weekly “farm share” or “veggie basket” program.  Supporters join as members, paying the farm expenses early in the season when costs are highest. As the crops mature, all members enjoy sharing in the harvest. This community of farmer and members benefits everyone – costs and risks are shared and none of the harvest is wasted but goes directly to waiting members as soon as it’s harvested. You may think of it as a subscription to fresh, natural food. Costs are paid early and the bounty is enjoyed every week. Click here to join our CSA now or continue reading for all the details.

Season Schedule

Spring/Summer Produce: 16 weeks March 29 – July 14

Spring/Summer Flowers: 12 weeks April 26 – July 14

Eggs and Beef are available every week

Plans for Fall and Winter seasons to be announced during our Summer season.

Weekly Shares

Members decide if they want a full share or just a half. The full share works well for 3 to 6 adults/teens, while the half share works best for couples and families with only young children. To give you an idea, here are four full shares from a past CSA …

Two Full Shares from early and late Spring 2016

Two Full Shares from early and late Spring 2016

Two Full Shares from mid Summer 2016

Two Full Shares from mid Summer 2016

For more examples, see our “CSA at a Glance” showing shares from every week of harvest during a previous season.  Note these are all Full size shares, with Half size shares generally having half as much produce each week.

The harvest varies throughout each season. Here’s what we’re planning this year:

Spring: asparagus, lettuce, kale, Swiss chard, radish, Chinese cabbage, sunflower sprouts, red and green cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, mizuna, spinach, carrots, cilantro, peas, beets, onions, dill, cucumbers, yellow squash, blackberries, zucchini, green beans, dandelion greens, broccoli raab
Summer: onions, dill, cucumbers, Swiss chard, Malabar spinach, yellow squash, tomatoes, cabbage, zucchini, green beans, cantaloupe, jalapeños, basil, various squash varieties (spaghetti, scallop, acorn), eggplant, watermelon, sweet corn, okra, bell peppers, butternut squash, sunflower sprouts

Delivery/Pickup

We’ll deliver your weekly share to your home or workplace in the north and east greater Austin area – From North Austin to Georgetown; Wells Branch to Elgin; Taylor to Brushy Creek and points between we’ve got you covered.  No need to meet us at a specific time and you do not need to be home. If you won’t be home or don’t want to be interrupted just leave an ice chest and we’ll deliver your produce between 9:00am and 5:00pm on your scheduled day. If you’d prefer to pick up your share, Svantes Restaurant is partnering with us as a pick-up location where you can pick up from 4pm until 10pm Wednesdays or Fridays.  Rise Martial Arts in Pflugerville is a pick-up site Wednesdays from 4pm-8pm.  You can also pick up at the farm. Most items you’ll receive will have been harvested within the previous 24 hours. Some are harvested the same morning we deliver so your share is as fresh as possible.

Cost

No price increase – our costs are the same as 2015 and 2016.  Weekly cost for a full share is $36 and a half share is $24. Home/workplace delivery is $4 per week and there’s no charge for picking up at any of the regular sites. You can mail us your check or go online and pay with your PayPal account or any credit card.

Ready to Join Us?

Simply fill out this form and we’ll get right back to you with a confirmation and details on how to make your payment.

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

Where exactly can you deliver?
Areas include:
Austin – Domain, Wells Branch, Parmer East areas
Round Rock, Georgetown
Pflugerville, Hutto, Coupland, Taylor, Thrall
Manor, Elgin

Our current pick up sites are the farm (located between Thrall and Elgin), Rise Martial Arts in Pflugerville, and Svantes restaurant in downtown Round Rock.  More may be added depending on the locations and schedules of members who join.

Am I guaranteed plenty of produce each week? What if crops fail?
Our goal is to deliver an abundance each week, so that you have plenty and even some left to share with friends and neighbors. However, the harvest can vary according to weather, insect pressure, etc. It could even fail due to a hailstorm or other uncontrollable events. (In 2016 we have a severe thunderstorm with high winds and hail.  We had to delay the harvest a couple weeks to let the garden recover and then we resumed deliveries and extended the season for two weeks so everyone received all the shares they paid for.)  If the harvest is low on a given week, it will usually bounce back the next. A cold front or storms can affect the harvest but it usually comes back strong. If harvest lags significantly, we’ll supplement shares with healthy, safe, natural produce we’ll buy from other local farmers we know and trust. If we were to have a ruinous failure affecting the whole season such that we are unable to continue harvesting, we will credit your undelivered shares toward the next season.

Can I pick and choose what I receive in my weekly share?
Members do not choose specific varieties for their share but will receive an assortment of whatever is ripe for harvest during the week. We’ll make sure you have enough of a particular variety so you can prepare a whole dish with it. We focus on growing the usual, typical, mainstay vegetables and also some that may be unfamiliar. We publish recipe ideas each week and have more ideas from previous seasons. We trust you’ll enjoy the adventure of trying a few new things each season. In the rare event that you receive something you don’t like or can’t use, please share those with friends.

What other farm products are available?
We have farm eggs and grass fed beef that you can add to your weekly produce share. We offer baked goods and honey on some weeks and are planning to raise holiday turkeys to be ready in November. Our members will be notified when these extra items are available. Simply mail your payment, pay online, or leave it with your delivery cooler to cover the cost and we’ll deliver these when we bring your weekly share.

Can I visit the farm?
Certainly! As a valued member and partner you are welcome to come see your produce as it grows, along with the farm cattle, chickens, and turkeys.  During May we’ll have an open farm on a Saturday (date TBD).  You’re welcome on other days too – just contact us first so we can be sure we’re on the farm that day. You can always come pick up your share at the farm Wednesdays at 1pm, even if you are normally receiving deliveries, and have a look around while you’re here.

What if I’m not home to receive my delivery?
20150122_184519_resizedSimply leave an ice chest near your front door or some other designated shady spot. A medium sized 48 quart chest with a couple freezer packs or frozen water bottles will hold a full share, eggs, and beef and keep it cool all day and possibly even overnight.


If I am out of town for a week, can I skip my delivery or pickup?

Since the produce harvest keeps coming and cannot be stored more than several days, we cannot skip or defer CSA produce shares. We will gladly deliver your share to an alternative address within our delivery area. Your share could be a welcome gift to a local friend or you could have them pay you for it. We can also donate your produce share to a community food pantry.
Since eggs and beef are more easily stored and preserved, we can defer delivery of these. For example, if your weekly order includes a full share of produce, 2 dozen eggs, and 2 pounds ground beef then we could deliver the produce to a friend and keep the eggs and beef. When you return the following week you’d get 4 dozen eggs and 4 pounds of ground beef. So you would not lose any eggs or beef you’ve paid for. Of course, you can have us deliver the eggs and beef to your friend – your choice.

How do members and the farm stay in touch?
In addition to the farm website and Facebook page, we’ll email our members weekly reminders. The email will remind you of your day of delivery and give more details on the items in that week’s share. To contact us you can simply reply to these emails or contact us through the website or call the phone number we make available to all our members.

More questions? Just let us know. When you’re ready to join us, simply fill out this form and we’ll get right back to you with a confirmation and details on how to make your payment.

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Pasture Raised Pork Available – Spring 2017

Red Wattle pigs at Blessing Falls Farm

Red Wattle pigs at Blessing Falls Farm

Our heritage breed, pasture raised hogs were born in late 2016 and have been on the farm for about 6 weeks.  We expect them to be ready for processing in late June or early July. These are the Red Wattle breed and have been raised with full time access to our pastures where they can graze, root, run, and just lay around – to be a true pig. They are kept in with electrical fencing which we move regularly to give them access to fresh grass. Pigs cannot live on grass alone so we supplement their food with conventional (non-organic) hog feed.

As with our beef, our pigs are free of antibiotics, synthetic hormones and implants. These are not vaccinated and have had no drugs of any kind. They are handled gently, never hit or abused in any way. They were born a few miles away on a local farm that practices these same humane, natural, sustainable methods.

Pigs naturally raised on pasture at Blessing Falls

Pigs naturally raised on pasture at Blessing Falls

We expect these to weigh around 250 pounds at processing. We’ll sell them by the half or whole. A half should give you about 60 pounds of packaged pork in your freezer. You can have it processed any way you like, including cured ham and bacon, pan and link sausage, along with pork chops, ribs, roasts, hocks, lard, etc.  Our price is $4.25 per pound (plus processing costs paid to the butcher), based on hanging weight. A half hog’s estimated hanging weight should be around 75-85 pounds. When your half is ready, you’ll pick up directly from the butcher – at either their main shop in Westphalia (15 minutes east of Temple) or from their Hutto shop for an additional convenience fee. For more on processing costs and hanging weight vs. live or packaged weight, see details on our grass fed beef. The processing costs are similar to beef though hogs yield a higher percentage of packaged pork vs. hanging weight than beef does, typically about 75%. You’ll get even more usable pork from a pig if you can use the feet, lard, head, and organs.

We have a limited amount of pork this year. You can reserve a half with a deposit of $80, or a whole with a $160 deposit. Just contact us and we’ll get back with you regarding the deposit details.

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Getting a Milk Cow

We’re 6 years into the farm experience and our practice has been to not start too many new farm/ranch ventures at once.  We started in 2010 with a small garden, added a few laying hens, then three beef cattle a few months later.  In 2011 we planted our orchard and focused on the beef herd with 3 calves being born that year. 2012 saw our first major garden expansion, with another in 2013.  We started raising turkeys in 2014 and 2015, and finally pigs in 2016.  With this years’ turkeys having been served for Thanksgiving and the pigs (grown to hogs) off to the butcher and safely in freezers (our own and several customers), we are looking toward 2017 and ready for the next project.

One of the most demanding animals to add to a family farm is a dairy cow.  The rewards are great – fresh, healthy milk daily – but the requirements are rigorous as well.  Daily milking, supplemental feeding of hay and dairy ration, a location for milking that will work regardless of weather, susceptibility to illness, plus breeding and calving.  So we waited a good while to take on this adventure, studied it quite a bit and waited for the right cow. This week we finally did it.

milkcowWe now have a 3 year old Jersey cow and her 5 month old calf.  She was already a family milk cow and not your typical commercial dairy cull cow.  She’s been a delight so far and we are learning to milk her and adjust her feeding.  It’s been a big help to have several years of experience with beef cattle.  This dairy cow is much tamer than the beef cattle (though they are really gentle and easy-going) and is almost like a pet.  But we already know how to fence her, read her body language, tell if she hungry/stressed/content, and understand how she relates to her calf.  We’re enjoying about 3 quarts of milk daily, leaving the calf with her for about 6 hours a day to ‘share’ the milk.

We’re thankful to be off to a good start.  Our beef cattle experience has been helpful but these videos help too – especially with the milking and care for the milk.  The book Keeping a Family Cow is a great resource too.   If you’re thinking about getting a milk cow, definitely check out these videos and get the book first.  And visit a farm to see how the cows respond to interaction with the farmer, how they are fenced, fed, etc – even see if you can milk one.   It’s definitely a big commitment so do your homework first and you’ll be much more likely to have a great family experience.




Keeping a Family Cow: The Complete Guide for Home-Scale, Holistic Dairy Producers

Price: $19.90

4.8 out of 5 stars (53 customer reviews)

43 used & new available from $11.85

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Austin 2016 Fall Farm Share/CSA – Week 10

This is the last week of our 2016 Fall season.  We’re ending 3 weeks later than originally  scheduled.  We suspended the harvest for 2 weeks in early October to let the greens mature after being held back by our warm September.  Then the storm damage a month ago knocked all the greens back again.  We’re glad all the typical late Fall crops recovered and it looks like we’ll be able to deliver all 10 weeks of the Fall season as planned!  Thanks again to all our members and your patience and understanding during this unusual season.

Here’s what to expect in shares this week:

Full Share: Lettuce (double portion), Kale (double portion), Mizuna (double portion), Chard, Broccoli greens, Broccoli or tomatoes, Cabbage, Cilantro

Half Share: Lettuce (double portion), Kale, Mizuna (double portion), Chard, Broccoli greens

Blessing Falls Week 10 Fall Farm Share: Cabbage, mizuna, lettuce, broccoli greens, kale, Swiss chard, cilantro

Blessing Falls Week 10 Fall Farm Share: Cabbage, mizuna, lettuce, broccoli greens, kale, Swiss chard, cilantro

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Austin 2016 Fall Farm Share/CSA – Week 9

We hope everyone enjoyed a great Thanksgiving holiday last week.  Thanks again to all who bought vegetables, eggs, a turkey, grass fed beef, or pork from us recently.  We’re glad to be part of your festivities and trust these added to your celebrations.

Here’s what to expect in shares this week:

Full Share:  Cabbage, Swiss chard, Tomatoes, Lettuce (double portion), Mizuna (double portion), Kale, Broccoli greens, Rosemary

Half Share: Lettuce (double portion), Mizuna (double portion), Kale, Broccoli greens, rosemary

Blessing Falls - Week 9 Fall Season Farm Share: Kale, tomatoes, lettuce, broccoli greens, cabbage, rosemary, mizuna, chard

Blessing Falls – Week 9 Fall Season Farm Share: Kale, tomatoes, lettuce, broccoli greens, cabbage, rosemary, mizuna, chard

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Austin 2016 Fall Farm Share/CSA – Week 8

The garden is slowly healing from the storm 2 weeks ago and we had a decent harvest this week.  We harvested beans and tomatoes before the Saturday night freeze and the greens are coming back.  This week’s bok choy, arugula and endive are from our friends at Bernhardt’s farm in Elgin.

We’re thankful for all our members and your patience as we recover from the storm.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Here’s our expected harvest this week, though shares may vary:

Full Share: Mizuna, Beans, Tomatoes, Kale, Arugula, Bok Choy, Endive, Rosemary

Half Share: Mizuna, Bok choy, Beans, Tomatoes, Kale, Rosemary

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Fall Season – Week 7 Storm Damage

Yesterday afternoon a severe thunderstorm hit our farm.  4 inches of rain in 45 minutes, fierce winds, and large hail.  Thankfully the large hail did not last very long and did not seem to damage structures.  Our laying hens, turkeys, and livestock are OK.  The wind and hail  did cause significant damage to our fall garden.

All greens are a loss at this point.  Maybe they will come back since the roots seem OK.  We were able to harvest some of the squash, tomatoes, peppers, okra and eggplant that were not too badly damaged.  We’ll deliver those this week to our farm share/CSA members.  The harvest will be much less than usual and we appreciate your understanding.  We will assess over the next few days and keep our members informed.

Here’s a look at some of the damage

Tomatoes

Tomatoes

Yellow Squash leaves twisted by high winds

Yellow Squash leaves twisted by high winds

Lettuce chopped by the hail

Lettuce chopped by the hail

Chinese Cabbage, hail and wind damage

Chinese Cabbage, hail and wind damage

Swiss Chard

Swiss Chard

Squash

Squash

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Austin 2016 Fall Farm Share/CSA – Week 6

Here’s our expected harvest this week, though shares may vary:

Full Share: Swiss Chard (double portion), Mizuna (double portion), Kale (double portion), Okra, Onions, Tomatoes, Sweet potatoes or pumpkin, Peppers (double portion), Rosemary

Half Share:  Swiss Chard, Mizuna (double portion), Kale, Okra or tomatoes, Onions, Peppers

Peppers this week are courtesy of our friends at Taylor Farm in Lexington.

Blessing Falls Week 6 Fall Season Share: Rosemary, onions, okra, tomatoes, chard, peppers, mizuna, pumpkin, kale, squash

Blessing Falls Week 6 Fall Season Share: Rosemary, onions, okra, tomatoes, chard, peppers, mizuna, pumpkin, kale, squash

Recipe

Here’s a delicious recipe we love to make with our kale! You can substitute linguine for the bucatini pasta and bacon for the prosciutto if you can’t find those items. You can also add onion or tomatoes to this recipe.

Creamy Kale Pesto Bucatini

FOR PESTO
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
4 cups kale, roughly chopped and packed
¼ cup pine nuts
½ cup olive oil
½ cup ricotta cheese
½ tsp. kosher salt

FOR PASTA
1 lb. bucatini
1 tbsp. olive oil
4 pieces prosciutto, thinly sliced and chopped into fine pieces
½ oz. heavy whipping cream, at room temperature
Kosher salt
Black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil over high heat.
2. To a food processor, add garlic cloves. Pulse until finely minced. Add kale and pine nuts. Pulse until combined. With food processor running, slowly stream in olive oil through the top chute opening. Once mixture is combined, transfer to a bowl. Add ricotta cheese and salt. Stir to combine.
3. In a large sauté pan, heavy olive oil over medium heat. Add prosciutto bits and cook until slightly crisped, about 4-5 minutes. Add heavy cream, stirring constantly. Allow to cook, stirring occasionally, until the heavy cream bubbles up slightly.
4. Meanwhile, cook bucatini until al dente. Drain pasta, reserving about ½ cup pasta water. Add pasta directly to sauté pan with prosciutto and cream. Add ½ cup of the kale pesto and a few splashes of pasta water, stirring until combined. Add more pesto or pasta water if desired.

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Austin 2016 Fall Farm Share/CSA – Week 5

Here’s our expected harvest this week, though shares may vary:

Full Share:  Mizuna (double portion), Chard, Kale, 2 Onions, Rosemary, Sweet potatoes (double portion), Chinese cabbage, Pumpkin, Winter squash, Tomatoes, Okra

Half Share: Mizuna (double portion), Chard, Kale, Onions, Rosemary, Sweet potatoes, Okra

Blessing Falls week 5 Fall season share: (clockwise from top left) Kale, mizuna, okra, onions, Rosemary, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, chard, pumpkin, Chinese cabbage

Blessing Falls week 5 Fall season share: Kale, mizuna, okra, onions, Rosemary, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, chard, pumpkin, Chinese cabbage

Recipe

Mizuna is an Asian green and works well in a chopped salad or stir fry.  We also featured a recipe for Mizuna back in week 3 of the Spring season.

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Austin 2016 Fall Farm Share/CSA – Week 4

Here’s our expected harvest this week, though shares may vary:

Full Share: Sweet potatoes (double portion), Sunflower sprouts, Rosemary, Pumpkin or melon, Eggplant or tomatoes, Malabar spinach, squash, Basil, Peppers, Onions, Okra, Black eyed peas (double portion)

Half Share: Sweet potatoes, Pumpkin or melon, Rosemary, Basil, Peppers, Onions, Okra, Black eyed peas

Sweet Potatoes are from our friends at Fruitful Hill Farm.

Blessing Falls Farm Share, Fall 2016 Week 4: Onions, sweet potatoes, sunflower sprouts, tomatoes, squash, Rosemary, peppers, basil, black eyed peas, okra, Malabar spinach, melon (or pumpkin)

Blessing Falls Farm Share, Fall 2016 Week 4: Onions, sweet potatoes, sunflower sprouts, tomatoes, squash, Rosemary, peppers, basil, black eyed peas, okra, Malabar spinach, melon (or pumpkin)

Recipe

Sweet Potato Pie!

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