Saturday, December 12, 2009

Peacework Farm

This fall, I spent a few Sundays at the Genessee Valley Organic Community Supported Agriculture's Peacework Farm in Newark, NY. The GVOCSA was initially begun in 1989 by Elizabeth Henderson, author of Sharing the Harvest: A Citizen's Guide to Community Supported Agriculture. Greg Palmer and his wife Ammie Chickering partnered with Henderson in 1998. Each year the farm also recruit apprentices to work during the growing season. This summer, the farm had three full-time apprentices, all graduates from Green Mountain College and one part-time apprentice who also works at Small World Bakery (more about the bakery soon).

The organization of a CSA varies from farm to farm. Membership with Peacwork Farm involves a fee in the spring (ranging from $300-680 depending on an individual's desired food quantities) and 2-3 4-hour shifts of work on the farm, along with 1-2 2.5-hour shifts at the distribution site at Abundance Co-op in downtown Rochester.

Farm shifts are on Sundays and Thursdays. I went to the farm on three chilly Sundays to photograph the farmers and members working together on harvesting vegetables to prepare for distribution.

Toby, a friend of the apprentices, collects a bundle of pea shoots. (Pea shoots are delicious in a salad!)
Apprentice Allie pauses from digging potatoes to embrace a member's dog.
Farmer Greg sorts squash in different bins for distribution.
After the work is complete, the farmers and members gather for a wonderful potluck meal inside the barn. The food varies each week, but generally includes a salad of leaves and vegetables gathered fresh from the farm, cheese from a Mennonite store down the road, homemade bread, soup, and desserts (which I provided when I attended! I baked chocolate oatmeal cookies the first week, chocolate zucchini brownies the next, and chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese icing. The farmers greatly appreciated my chocolate contributions!)The apprentices were kind enough to let me come to their home and photograph some of their surroundings. I love to find these instances when modern technology (stereo) and age-old traditions (garlic braid) converge.
At the end of the season, the farm held a potluck dinner at St. Mary's Church in downtown Rochester. Attendees were asked to bring a dish with 8-10 servings, a note card listing ingredients, and their own place settings. The desserts went fast!To learn more about GVOCSA, visit their website or attend a sign up meeting, held on Wednesday, February 10, from 7-9 PM and Saturday, March 6, from 2-4 PM at the James P. B. Duffy School 12, 999 South Avenue, in Rochester.

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