CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. A CSA creates a direct relationship between the consumer and the farmer. The consumer invests in the crop/farm before the seeds are planted or the orchards are blooming. He/she then accepts the same risks and rewards as the farmer. In this system the consumer buys a package or prescription which the farmer then fills over a set period of time. The consumer then shares in the failures and the bumper crops.
Hoch Orchard has been producing tree fruit for two generations. In the past couple decades we have diversified into berries, grapes, stone fruits, and a few other unusual fruits. In 2007 we added a commercial kitchen and a cider pressing facility. In 2014 we got our Minnesota Farm Winery License so we could start selling the wines and ciders we had been developing at the hobby level for many years.
In 2015 we expanded our vegetable gardens and experimented with biodynamic farming methods. In 2016 we are expanding our vegetable production a little more and offering our first full season of CSA shares.
Our farm is certified Biodynamic by Demeter USA. This agency complies with the standards of Demeter International. Biodynamic farming was initiated by Rudolph Steiner in Germany in the 1920’s. This early farming system was developed by Steiner at the request of farmers who were already seeing the negative impacts of early European Industrial Farming systems. The development of organic farming followed many of the concepts initiated in Biodynamics.
Our fruits and vegetables are certified biodynamic and organic. Our value-added products are either certified organic or made with all organic produce from our farm. We do not buy produce or value-added products from other farms. Everything in our CSA boxes is grown or made on our farm.
A biodynamic farm strives to become an individual or independent system. Off farm inputs are reduced or eliminated by working with nature to develop strong soils and balanced ecosystems.
This balance requires the presence of animals on the farm to complete the cycling of nutrients and help break pest cycles by consuming dropped fruit and waste products from packing and processing.
Transitioning to biodynamic farming has helped us to create a great diversity of crops, products, and some meats. This gives us the opportunity to give you a great balance of products in your CSA box. And you know how and where all the products were produced because we do NOT supplement our production with produce from other farms.
Biodynamic farming advocates for following the seasonal cycles of the earth, the moon, and the stars. BD farmers and researchers have been comparing and testing the old methods developed over thousands of years by subsistence/peasant farmers. These old ways followed the phases of the moon and the movement of the constellations to help with the timing of planting, harvesting, and processing foods. We have decided to break down our seasonal CSA shares according to the solstices and equinox.