Farm Horizons, April 2015

CSA farm in rural New Germany continues to grow

By Starrla Cray

Tim “Red” Kirkman didn’t come from a farming background, but that hasn’t stopped him from producing a thriving Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) business in rural New Germany.

“My grandparents lived on a farm, and that was my only connection to farming,” said Tim, who was raised in Detroit.

Tim studied English and philosophy in college, but when he graduated in 2004, he found that jobs were scarce in those fields.

His career swung in another direction, and he spent the next two years working at a wilderness therapy program designed to help youth who have drug abuse issues.

“I just kind of fell in love with the outdoors through that,” Tim said.

Inspired to learn more about agriculture, Tim took on a two-year farm internship in Wisconsin. While there, he learned about tractor work, gardening, seed starting, advertising/marketing, business practices, and more.

The experience solidified his interest in small-scale farming, and in 2009, he and his wife, Nina, purchased a home with 10 acres on County Road 122 north of New Germany.

“The timing worked out well,” Tim said. “It was about the same time organic food was starting to take off, and it was important to us to raise our family that way.”

While the Kirkmans’ farm isn’t certified organic, it adheres to all organic principals, including the use of organic seeds, applying organic fertilizer, and spreading compost appropriately.

The property, called Fox and Fawn Farm, currently has about four acres in cultivation for the CSA program.

“We grow 160 varieties of 50 annual crops, in addition to rhubarb, strawberries, and raspberries for our CSA members,” Tim noted. “We’re also continuing to expand our orchard area.”

A fruitful endeavor

Recently planted perennial crops, which will be available in later years as they mature, include:

• apple • apricot

• aronia • asparagus

• blackberry • blueberry

• cherry • chestnut

• cranberry • currant

• elderberry • fiddlehead fern

• gooseberry • grapes

• hazelnut • honeyberry

• pawpaw • peach

• pear • peashrub

• pine nut • plum

• seaberry • serviceberry

• numerous herbs

It’s in the box

Each year, about 100 families purchase produce through the Fox and Fawn Farm CSA.

“We start accepting members in late January, and we tend to fill up by mid to late March,” Tim said.

The first produce delivery is in June. From there, members receive one box each week until mid-October.

“Whatever’s in season is what goes into the box,” Tim said. “They get to try new things that they’re maybe unfamiliar with.”

The first boxes are heavy on salad mixes and greens, while later boxes can include cucumber, endive, hot pepper, husk cherries, pie pumpkins, potatoes, summer squash, sweet corn, watermelon, green beans, cantaloupe, cauliflower, and an assortment of other fresh treats.

“We deliver to eight different delivery sites,” Tim said. “We try to focus on the west metro.”

To learn more about Fox and Fawn Farm, go to www.foxandfawnfarm.com, e-mail foxandfawnfarm@gmail.com or call (952) 353-1762.

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