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ICYMI: What's New at Maple Hill Farm!

Posted 10/10/2017 8:58am by Stefanie Jaeger.

Greetings from Maple Hill Farm!                  

Fall is really here in full tilt, and I think I’ve forgotten just how unique the fall colors here in the North really are. This week’s letter is a little departure from the status quo; allow me to introduce myself! I’m Cate Airoldi, daughter to Tom and Connie Cogger and sister to Matt Cogger, the co-owners of Maple Hill Farm. I currently live in Ashland, Oregon but head home as often as I can to visit family.           

People often ask me what it was like to grow up on a small farm. That answer is….complicated! Like many things in life, growing up a farm daughter may be one of those things I come to appreciate more as I’ve gotten older. I can say that I have many, many fond memories of dashing out to the garden for some fresh beans or peas whenever I felt like it, watching baby lambs and pigs being born, and appreciating the freedom that comes with growing up in the country. The barnyard, garden, woodpile, and adjacent forest lands were as good of a playground as any child could want! Did I love every minute of weeding, tomato picking, wood cutting, chicken butchering, or hay bale stacking? Certainly not, but I do continually realize just how unique my upbringing was the older I get. Having insight into the inner workings of small scale agriculture really is a rarity in today’s society. Where do those fresh washed veggies, eggs, and chicken breasts come from in the store? What really goes into producing a week’s worth of food for a big family? How much effort does it actually take to cut and stack 10 cords of firewood for a winter’s worth of heat? These are all aspects of rural life that, growing up, I considered completely normal. I now realize that with the dwindling populations in rural regions around the country, and the relative scarcity of small farms, these are all in fact very unusual skill sets to have!                 

Having lived in a multitude of places since leaving home for college and work, I have to say I’m quite envious of those of you lucky enough to partake in the Lake Superior CSA. Although Oregon is a temperate state with a year-round growing season, none of the CSAs I have encountered thus far offer anywhere near the quality, diversity of products, or value of your CSA here. This model of business- Community Supported Agriculture- not only benefits the growers and producers immensely in sustaining their livelihoods, it provides what I view as a critical connection between producer and consumer. Not everyone grows up on a farm, and nor do I think everyone should! We need teachers, doctors, and mechanics in the world too. However, I think that groups like the CSA benefit the community far beyond the immediate and obvious value of receiving high quality, locally produced food. An opportunity is presented for people to “vote with their dollars” so to speak by supporting small scale sustainable agriculture, hardworking growers and producers, and a fast-disappearing lifestyle of community investment.                

Hoping you take time to see the fall colors and enjoy the bounty of your Fall CSA boxes!              

Cate