CSA Series: Capella Farm

From Capella Farm Website

Owners: Jennifer and Dave Kangas
Email: capellafarm@gmail.com
Phone: 734-761-3554

Season: May - October, plus large Thanksgiving share (which has about 2-3 weeks worth of produce) in November is included 
Pick-up: Wednesday and Saturday at Capella Farm on Scio Church Rd.

Cost: $650, with 15 hours of work for the season. For people who can afford it, $750 and no work hours. 
Cost per week:  $29 (with work hours), $34 (without work hours)
Growing practice:  Organic practice, but not yet certified.  

“Regarding the member work hours, we’re mostly doing it so our members will connect and understand what goes into making the food happen, why there’s bugs, why there’s holes,” says Capella Farm owner and farmer Jennifer Kangas. “The biggest thing that we’re trying to do is build a community of neighbors (though some members are from as far away as Northville and Canton) so that we can support each other and respect the land and understand where our food is coming from. One thing I’d like people to understand is that if they want food to look a certain way, there are going to be detrimental effects on the environment.  If people can learn how to use produce that doesn’t look the way they normally see it, that will go a long way.  When we do work days, maybe 2-3 a month, we get a lot of benefit from a social standpoint because we get to see people, and they get a lot of benefit because they get to connect with the land. We’ve got small children and we get a lot of joy from having people visit.”

Kangas left a career in banking to run Capella Farm, a small, diversified farm west of Ann Arbor, with her husband.  She says in addition to the CSA, “we sell eggs for $4 a dozen, and the chickens are fed locally grown grain, and we also sell a limited number of New Holland White heritage turkeys, and Boer meat goats.”  They focus on ethical eating and see animals as important to the sustainability of the farm.  She says “we believe the natural cycle is that plants need animals and animals need plants. The farm will be self-sufficient if we can live within our natural network, and use manure to feed plants and use the plants to feed the animals.”

Kangas says that although 2009 was their first year, “next year, we’re expanding. 80% of our members from last year renewed. We are looking into becoming Certified Organic. We’re putting up a hoophouse in the spring - to extend the season and get all the seedlings going outside instead of in my house. I want to get the onions and tomatoes in the ground earlier.  We’ll have vegetables earlier next year, and more variety throughout the year.”

In addition to the 20 weeks of regular CSA produce, a Capella Farm membership includes a large Thanksgiving share with fresh, leafy greens and storage vegetables like pumpkins, brussels sprouts, potatoes and dried peppers.  

Kangas says they’re considering building some benches near the herb garden for possible “drop-in” days, where anyone (not just members) can come by to visit or just sit in a beautiful spot and commune with the flowers and the bees.  She also wants to do some events like a spicy pepper party in the fall, and says they’ll have a sauerkraut-making party if they get enough cabbage. 

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