Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Ramchandra, Peter, myself, and my friend Erin traveled to Kimberton CSA yesterday to visit Former-Intern Tom, who has ascended in the world to the position of Kimberton Farm Manager.

I last blogged about Tom and Kimberton here:

Kimberton is located near Phoenixville, Pa., about an hour and a half from Howell Farm. We listened the whole way to Ram’s CD of Nepali pop music, which is distinctive in that many songs run longer than 20 minutes. (Think Green Day’s “Jesus of Suburbia” times two, or, for older generation readers, significantly longer than "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.")

Tom’s farm is about ten acres, seven of which are under cultivation for vegetable and fruit production. This year the CSA has about 200 members, with an average share price of $750. (At a yearly pledge meeting, some returning CSA members pledge more than $750 in order to subsidize lower share prices for other members.)

I was curious to see what a weekly share at Kimberton gets you, and by my estimation it’s quite a haul. Here is the fresh produce members will receive in their box this week, in addition to U-pick blackberries, beans, and cucumbers:

- 4 tomatoes
- 1 garlic
- 1 cabbage
- 1 eggplant
- 3 beets
- 1 lettuce
- A whole lot of edamame
- 1 cantaloupe
- 1 watermelon
- 2 bell peppers
- 3 zucchini
- 3 yellow summer squash
- 1 rosemary sprig
- 1 lb. of onions
- 2 cucumbers

I asked Tom what are some of his standouts this summer. He said it’s all good, before adding, “The garlic is freaking huge.” He also highlighted his “really good” seedless European cucumbers.

Tom is the guy who first got me really thinking about why someone would prefer to use horses on his farm instead of a labor-demolishing tractor, so I was interested to hear how its been for him using the tractors at Kimberton. Apparently, he broke the first tractor he touched by running it out of fuel and clogging the fuel injectors. I was about to tell him, “Well, your last mistake is your best teacher,” but instead I just let it go.

Tom said he hopes to eventually bring a team of horses to Kimberton, so I also asked him if he thought he’d have the time and ability to accomplish with 4 draft horses all the same work he’s been getting done with the tractor. He sounded optimistic, while realizing the tractor would still have some special duties. More precisely, he said:

“Mostly yeah, except without a front-end loader it would be difficult to do some compositing and stuff. Stuff like moving around dirt when you need to.”

Here are some photos from the visit: