Homeowner SMUrF member Christine Clark takes home her share in her vintage harvest carrier...
South Metro Urban Farmers is an urban CSA, what some people call Neighborhood Supported Agriculture, multi-site urban farming, or backyard farming. The SMUrFs work in south metropolitan Denver, and have all of our current sites within a few blocks of each other in south Littleton. Homeowners allow us to use their land, and water under a consumption agreement, and receive a share of vegetables, and a beautiful garden to show off to visitors, and the experience of directly supporting local agriculture. We currently have five sites, and are entering our sixth season with shares in 2016.
What Happened in the 2015 Season
2015 was our most challenging season yet. The spring saw us get 4x the average rain, and this completely upset all our plans. Soil that is this wet cannot be worked without causing lasting damage. We still had a productive season, but it was not what we were hoping. Damage was also done to Eric, which his naturopath describes this way: intense stress leads to the awakening of long dormant Epstein Barr virus, which causes adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue is a syndrome characterized by intense fatigue and confusion, and difficulty motivating. Which is, obviously, very difficult for farming. This has led us to seek more committed help on the farm, which was long overdue anyway. So Ashley Cleveland, one of our working members last year, and a person who has a strong interest and background in urban agriculture already, has stepped up to be the Lead Grower, which will allow Eric to step back and heal, and also to attend to many housekeeping chores that have gone undone.
What Happened in the 2014 Season
What a strange year of weather. I have burned up outdoors doing this work for years, so I could never imagine that this wish would cross my mind or lips: "Could I just have 5 clear hot sunny 90 or 100 degree days in a row, please?" Absolutely bizarre amounts of rain and cold, cloudy days slowed our production on many popular items. We dodged two major hailstorms completely, one early in the summer that decimated plants in downtown Littleton, and one a few weeks ago that decimated Highlands Ranch. We remained unscathed in a hail season that wiped out many of our fellow farmers. Hail is the great wild card of CO vegetable growers, there is little that can be done to prevent damage. We had twenty full shares total this past season, 16 full and 8 half. We had our first Harvest Celebration Potluck, and that was a great time sharing food and camaraderie with 15 folks from the farm, homeowners, shareholders, and working members. We have gained a 5th yard, directly adjacent to two of our existing yards, so future production is looking good.
What Happened in the 2013 Season
2013 was a great year for us. We had 7 full shares and 3 half shares, 4 shares for our homeowners, and 5 for working members. Here's some of their thoughts on the season:
"(My wife)and I enjoyed your vegetables this season. What we liked: the personal contact with you - you're friendly and very knowledgeable; actually choosing the vegetables (based on your limits) - so we could adjust amounts when necessary; vegetable quality - excellent; proximity - ten minute drive from our house; I loved learning about purslane, and that you gave us some of it - we ate it." R.H. and A.H., Centennial
"Thanks again Eric! I loved it and thought it was well worth the money." J.P., Cherry Hills
"Eric and SMUrFs, We appreciated both the quality and presentation of the produce. They tasted very good....We really looked forward to our regular share of such wholesome goodness! Christine & Doug Burtt"
"Hi Eric, Thanks so much for a wonderful grow season. We loved all of the delicious fresh vegetables and fruit! We also appreciate your organization, professionalism, and knowledge.We'll definitely sign up again next year and tell our friends. The Wirth Family"