CSA 2017: End of Season Letter from Mark


CSA 2017: End of Season

Dear CSA members, It is with a mixture of sadness and joy that we have finally come to the end of the second year of our vegetable CSA. Sadness because we will miss the beautiful summer days spent outdoors in the garden, and joy because we are moving on to another season of meaningful work with a sense of accomplishment from the summer’s endeavors. The second season brought with it unique challenges so different from the first one. Instead of a lack of rain we had lots and lots of rain! This was very helpful to some crops but not so much to others. We also encountered some new pests – namely cucumber beetles and tomato hookworms, that made growing some things a challenge. All in all, however, we feel it was a successful season and we managed to produce some top-notch vegetables.

It was a busy summer for us indeed. Along with our bigger CSA program, we also expanded our pastured chicken business under the Artisanal Chicken Program run by the Chicken Farmers of Ontario. This enabled us to grow more than the usual 300 birds a year, which is good because we are finding the demand for our products is stronger than ever! We also expanded our grass-fed beef and pastured pork production. In the garden we grew more vegetables than ever, having grown our CSA by about a third and attending another market – the Port Elgin Farmer’s Market – every week. On top of all this, Emily spent the summer carrying the newest addition to our family: little Owen Thomas Zettel was born on October 9th!

Happy chickens on pasture


With so many exciting things happening, it is easy to forget to take time to appreciate all the blessings we have. We are so lucky to be able to do the work we do: work we are passionate about and love doing. We dreamed of being full-time farmers one day, but we never thought we would be able to work full time on the farm all summer so soon. It is important for us to recognize that all of this is made possible primarily by one thing: the wonderful people who buy our products. We would like to thank you, our CSA members, for helping to make this dream a reality for us. It is encouraging to see so many people making the extra effort to eat local, healthy food. We think it is things like this that are changing the world for the better, and it gives us hope for a better world in uncertain times. We are starting to see more and more lovely folks eating organic, seeking out ethical and local food, and investing in the future health of their family and the environment. This is good news not only for us, but for everyone.

Now that fall is upon us, we still have a lot of work to do. We will be cleaning up the greenhouses and garden, growing a few leafy greens in our hoop house, and getting our animals comfortable for winter. I will be going to work at the butcher shop, and Emily will spend the winter looking after our son and planning everything out for next year’s (even bigger!) garden. We want to wish you all the best, and we hope our CSA program was everything you wanted it to be. We will be sending out an email around January to invite everyone to sign up, and existing members will get an early bird discount. Please keep us in mind if you need any meat products, which we have available year-round, or potatoes, which we have lots of in storage. We deliver for free!


Mark Zettel

November 5th, 2017.

Potato harvest

Port Elgin Farmer’s Market

Overhead irrigation of carrots, beets, and salad mix

Walkerton CSA dropoff

Bounty of peppers

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