Valley Press Article
Read the article from the March 13th Edition of the Valley Press below
Hein Farm launches CSA program
By Jennifer Senofonte
FARMINGTON – With the unpredictable New England winter weather, it’s hard to imagine the local produce season just around the corner.
At Hein Farm in Farmington, they are ready. For the first time, farmers David and Martha Hein have launched a Community Supported Agriculture program to offer shares to the community. Participating members will receive a basket each week of fresh, local and seasonal produce and products.
“With the push to start buying more local, people are really starting to realize the risks involved in buying imported produce. I think there is a real push for the local products,” Martha Hein said.
A variety of vegetables and herbs are grown at Hein Farm like peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, sweet potatoes, beans, squash, cucumbers and sweet corn, which has been referred to as “the best tasting corn.”
Martha Hein explained that her husband uses integrated pest management and works with the state to see what insects are around. In turn, he only sprays when it’s absolutely necessary instead of incrementally like unfamiliar, nonlocal farms may do.
“It’s based on what is truly needed – a reduced amount of pesticide,” she said, which is more safe and cost effective. CSA will prove cost effective for the Heins this year, helping them with initial seasonal costs, but the benefits ofstarting CSA at their farm go far beyond.
“You establish more of a connection with your customer, having them feel more of a part of it,” Martha Hein explained. “Dave gets a lot of fulfillment in his customers appreciating what he does.”
The benefits for the customer grow even taller. Besides enjoying fresh-picked, locally grown produce, customers are promoting sustainability for local farms, which in turn support the local economy. In addition, Hein Farm offers free recipes, which utilize the best products from their farm, and helps customers incorporate the produce into every meal.
“It allows the CSA member to feel some form of attachment or connection to the person growing the food and enhance the feeling that they are a part of this,” Martha Hein said. “This will be our first year. We’ll be taking a lot of suggestions from members and offering offering CSA member activities to let people meet each other.” David Hein has been farming on the same 100-plus acres at 303 Meadow Road in Farmington for over 40 years. He has a degree in plant sciences from UConn’s Radcliffe Hicks School of Agriculture.
“Farming has always been in my blood,” he said. “I grew up on this farm and knew that I wanted to continue its legacy and the important service it provides to our community.”
Each year, the Hein Farm stand opens in June offering not only produce, but also a variety of flowers and vegetable plants from their greenhouses.
“It’s kind of fun to be offering something to the community that we really feel is so positive, that sense of community as well as the health aspects of it. We’re very enthused and hoping for a good year,” Martha Hein said.
Hein Farm is offering three different membership options: summer, fall and year-round applications are all available on its website at heinfarm.com, and it is limiting the program to 30members for the first year.
Download a PDF of the article here.