What Past CSA Members Said!
"I may never be satisfied with a store bought cucumber again."
"My husband and I have been members of Bluebird Gardens CSA for the past 2 years. We are always so thankful that you do what you do to bring us delicious, healthy food each summer. We are also so thankful that we have food in our freezer to last us most of the winter that we feel so good about eating and that still tastes so good. Tonight we watched a movie called "Farming Forward". I don't know if you have seen it, but it reminded us of just how thankful we are that you and Bluebird Gardens are a part of our life and that your farm is our farm. I don't even know what more to say except that our hearts are filled with gratitude."
"I came to appreciate even more, what hard work it is to prepare our boxes. After the harvest I was sore for three days from the bending and carrying of the vegies out of the field. It is amazing to me that you can spread your farm to so many with such few human hands. When I think of the entire year and experience the word that comes to mind is grateful. I loved it all. You are incredible to allow us to be such a huge part of your farm. The energy on the farm is so amazing and everytime I came I left feeling so full. Thank you so much!!!!!"
"The vegetables tasted AMAZING. There were MANY times that I stood in my kitchen and ate the vegetables straight out of the bag and they didn’t even get into my freezer. The best pea pods I have EVER eaten. The best VEGETABLES I have ever eaten. I also learned that I LOVE kohlrabi."
"My favorite memories were freezing peas with my daughter. Although, we found that we were hard-pressed to shell fast enough to keep feeding the kids and get some set aside to actually freeze. Your e-mails were always so enthusiastic and it really made us feel like we were a part of things to get those weekly updates."
"I wanted to email you and let you know how the garden graced our table this Christmas. Christmas eve we dined on homemade potato soup made from the potatoes we canned this fall. Christmas morning was blessed with breakfast casserole made from hashbrowns from the garden. During the day we munched on pickles made from the cucumbers. And then for dinner we had a garden chicken, green ben casserole (yes from the garden), and potato casserole (again from the garden), topped off with pumpkin pie made from the squash and pumpkins from this fall. Thank you for blessing our table!"
"I’m from Nebraska and grew up eating amazing sweet corn from our own fields and I agree, the sweet corn we are getting from your farm in some of the best I’ve had – just sweet delicious goodness. We’ve been very impressed with the quality of the food we’re getting and another delight for us is EVERYTHING we get we can use – it’s all stuff we know how to cook and preserve because it’s traditional produce – like my grandma used to grow. The quality and the types of vegetables you grow make this CSA head and shoulders above the others we’ve done. We appreciate all your hard work and care."
"My family ate healthy prior to this garden season, but we measurably increased, maybe even doubled, our produce intake with the CSA participation, which is wonderful for our health. We cooked more at home, so I also think we actually saved money by participating. As a working single mom, I can't devote enough time to garden in any substantial way, but I was able to find the time and energy to plant a little herb garden. The combination of the CSA vegetables and my "just picked" herbs made for some amazing gourmet meals."
"My three year old, who wouldn't normally eat willingly, would sneak things from the box to eat them raw! :) My main motivation for signing up is giving my child the best food I can afford, healthy stuff she'd like. And having her understand where her food comes from and the labor it involves."
"We noticed a HUGE difference in each vegetable's flavor due to the delicate balance of minerals in the soil. Every different vegetable had a delicious, unique flavor that was simply irreplaceable and not found in supermarkets or grocery stores!"
"The philosophy of biological farming was important in our CSA choice, and we found the perfect farm to fit that choice!!! Some of our favorite memories include the various vegetable picks that we took part in. We thoroughly enjoyed coming to the farm, meeting the workers (and of course you, Mark!), and spending time in the beauty of the land. We absolutely loved the harvest weekend and were thrilled to be a part of something so wonderful! Meeting such amazing people was a highlight for us! We really, truly did like everything. There is not a single thing that we would change! We loved having fresh, delicious vegetables in a box, ready to go, each week. We also loved the cheerful emails about our boxes each week! Of course!!! We undoubtedly will be joining again next year! This was a wonderful experience. Thanks for all your hard work!!"
"My family had the most memorable magical picnic in the woods. We also liked visiting the chickens and picking out our own pumpkins off the vine!!! I also loved that every time we drove by the drop off site my children screamed don't forget the "begtable". And they play pick up the "beggies" at home with toy food!!!"
"The Brussel sprouts were the best we have ever tasted. The cabbage was fantastic and the corn was great like always. The spinach was wonderful and we even used it in our homemade ravioli recipe. It was all wonderful and we really enjoyed entertaining guests with meals using your produce. Having the CSA box encouraged us to eat many more healthy veggies than we normally eat / purchase. We enjoyed sharing the extra produce with friends / neighbors (sharing the bounty)."
"The taste difference was huge! The vegetables, especially the greens and potatoes, had a much richer and complex flavor than a store vegetable. Knowing the people who are responsible for nuturing the soil is a major reason for participating in the CSA. The lettuce at the beginning was fabulous, the tomatoes made anything I have ever bought at a grocery store pale in comparison. I enjoyed being able to say that I was involved in the CSA movement. I was very happy with everything. I plan to join again next year."
"Buying food locally, from a person I know and trust is very important to me. I want my children to place importance on participating in the support of community producers of necessities, and locally grown food in particular. Thank you for the opportunity to participate."
"I liked having the veggies in my kitchen each week and exposing my family to a variety of vegetables. I also like that I have a freezer full of veggies for the winter. Your emails were helpful because otherwise I might have not known what a few things were."
"I think your vegetables are better and it has to be the soil amendments. One thing I love is how much heavier and darker everything gets across the summer. It starts out all light and airy and leafy and by the end, it weighs so much and is so dense. I loved everything in the box. You did a phenomenal, phenomenal job with the CSA and I'm so excited to be a member."
"We had many memories from this summer. The final picking with our youngest daughter, Annie. We loved seeing all the young families get back to basics with using fresh veggies. Annie loved seeing the chickens (She has always loved animals) but it brought her back to her youth even though she is a sophomore in college! It was amazing Mark. Our eldest daughter was serving in the Peace Corps in Ukraine for the past 2 years. She finished in May and returned to our home before heading to grad school at NYU in September. While in Ukraine she had no running water/no indoor plumbing and the people of her village survived on what they grew in their gardens. She was a vegetarian prior to leaving but quickly learned to love all the fresh organic meats the country had to offer. When she returned home, your weekly delivery MADE her week….she is now in NYC and was just talking to us about how she missed the fresh produce we received. Also at home for the summer was our 22 year old son, Michael and 19 year old daughter, Annie. They both quickly fell in love with the fresh produce and with having all three kids home for the summer (first time in years) it was a money saver. We also LOVED the pickings. The favorite of the kids was the green beans. With the 2 five gallon buckets worth, I canned 30 jars of green bean hot pickles. Each kid took 10 jars to college (and yes, I mailed them carefully to NYC) and they are funny….Kristi is eating a jar at a crack and Annie and Michael are rationing. The corn pick was great, same thing for making sure their apartments are well stocked. We will sign uup again next year, 100000% yes! Again thanks Mark for all you did…it was amazing."
"I so enjoyed the family pick of the peas, with daughter and granddaughter, and the cuke pick, and of course the last pick with daughter Debbie. I really enjoyed just being in your gardens, the presense of healthy air, plants, trees, and veggies. It was all so good. I liked best the fresh healthy veggies. Just the idea of organic and of healthy food. The deliveries were good, the excitement of 'whats in the box this week?' The peas and cukes were the best, ever and forever. Absolutely, I will be down there again. Why? cause it is the best and the freshest produce ever!"
"We decided to go with a CSA because we strongly support and agree with your philosophy, as well as knowing where our food is coming from, buying local, and living more in sync with the natural world. The drive out to the farm is gorgeous! The surprises waiting in our boxes each week were the best! I would like to have a longer summer break (I teach at NDSU), so I could keep up with all the vegies coming in the fall!"
"I enjoyed many things. Connecting with the other people at the pick-up. Sharing with my grandparents, learning new ways to try things. Watching my kids “get” where their food comes from… and EATING IT ALL!!! We were thrilled with it _- I need to be better about using some of the things I didn’t know about. I loved how it opened my mind for stir fry, freezing veggies and more."
"I enjoyed eating the kale, and getting my 1 & 4 year old to like kale as much as I did. I also enjoyed having my children help with the harvest events as this is a great opportunity for them to experience farm land and seeing where vegetables come from!"
"I think the veggies had amazing flavor, better than at the grocery store, and frankly better than the farmers market. We will return next year. I would like more tomatos next year, leeks and garlic too. Seemed like we had a nice variety and had things I had never had. All in all a very good experience."
"I loved bringing my kids out to the farm and showing them the pigs and chickens and letting them see where food really comes from (other than our tiny home garden and the grocery store). They loved stomping through the rows and finding cucumbers that were just the right size. My five year old did an amazing job of picking and is SO proud of herself when she eats “her pickles.” I panicked when my three year old got lost in the beans, but I heard her singing and found her sitting among them eating beans right off the plant happy as could be. It was great to spend a little time on a real farm. I looked forward to the surprise in each box. I would wait to plan my meals for the week until I knew what we had and then plan around that. It was great for finding new recipes and cooking healthier. I also really enjoy your e-mails. When about half way through the season you mentioned you were an elementary teacher it all made sense. You talk about your love of your farm with the excitement of a fourth grader. You have great voice in your writing and the love of what you are doing just shines out."
"The potatoes were exceptional! This is a huge factor for us as we are trying to provide the most nutrient rich foods for our children. Every Wed when we picked up our veggies from our drop off my son went digging through the bags and was eating before we got home. I had to start keeping wipes in the car so he could wash them off before he ate them! We had a great time whenever we visited the farm too. My kids really loved walking in the chickens and feeding the pigs. I loved the variety in the box and getting my kids to try different veggies that they might not have had before. I really liked the experience. I'm not sure I would change anything."
"We had a great year with the farm and can't wait to do it again. We always have a garden ourselves and plan on doing that again as well as Bluebird. It worked well getting the veggies that you had started as we were just putting our garden in and harvest was busy for us but incredible! Now the freezer and pantry are full and ready for winter!! Thanks for a great experience!!"
"Flavor and nutrition is important to me. We found the vegetables very flavorful. It's nice knowing what we are getting and where it's coming from. As from the grocery store we have no idea where they are coming from or how they were grown. I enjoyed the picks with my husband and visiting with the others. It was an awesome experience and I haven't got dirty like that in years. Being my first year I liked everything. I loved Tuesdays and picking up my vegetables and planning my meals for them. I loved getting gourds and little pumpkins in the boxes....what a nice surprise. Now if I can figure out how to keep the squirrels from eating the pumpkins. I really don't see any changes needed. I feel it flowed just great. My pick-up spot was Premier Meats and the employees their were so friendly... It was nice feeding my family fresh vegetables for 20 weeks! I don't think we have ever eaten so many fresh vegetables in our life. Thanks for the awesome job!"
"A favorite memory is the way my kids acted every Tuesday when we opened the box. They said it was like Christmas! I also loved introducing them to veggies they had never tried before... For next year, my kids are asking for more kohlrabi. I would love more kale and broccoli."
"Absolutely we will sign up again! We can't wait. I know some of our friends that we shared the bounty with will be signing up too. Everything was wonderful. Definitely more flavor, but the colors of the vegetables were even more beautiful. Definitely was one of the reasons I become a member this year."
"I loved being a member of CSA! This was my first experience with something like this and the first thing that comes to mind is that my family tried some veges that we would probably not had tried before. I loved the notes each week from you and esp. enjoyed the hints for vegetable use. A half share is just right for my husband and I and the veges we wanted more of were just a drive over to Moorhead to get. I definitely plan to particpate next year!"
"I appreciate that so much time & thought goes into maintaining the soil that produces my vegetables. Everything we received was all very high quality and full of flavor. It was so much fun picking up our vegetables at Total Health Chiropractic each week. I loved it if one or more of my children was along because we were all like kids at Christmas - so excited to see what our box held that week. We kept missing the picks out at the farm due to schedule conflicts so when we were able to participate in the last harvest pick of the season, it was delightful. I also appreciated the excellent communication we received from Mark each week about our boxes. It was fun to share a little more information about the produce we were receiving with the kids each week. I liked the never-ending supply of sweet corn and the fabulous potatoes were our favorite veggies, but it was also fun to be challenged to use some things that had never made it into our homes before -- Kale and the different fresh herbs to name a couple."
"The flavors of the veggies were so much more….more…well, MORE!"
" I’ll never forget the first trip out for the pea pick. It had rained at the farm early that morning and I (city slicker that I am) was not prepared for the mud. I came back from the field completely covered in mud with no change of clothes and laughing all the way to the car! Also, Mark, you made us feel so welcome every time we came out. Your warm greetings and hugs will be something I’ll miss this winter and look forward to next spring!!"
"Your efforts to make us feel connected to the farm, like it was truly ours was probably one of my favorite things about the whole experience. By the end of the season, we were just referring to Bluebird Gardens as “our farm”. Opening the box each week truly was like opening a Christmas present! We were always wondering what we were going to get. And with the harvest events, you gave me a reason to learn how to can! I’d never canned anything before, but this year, I canned 40 quarts of picked cukes, 12 pints of pickled beans, and 30 pints of salsa. Between those and all the veggies in my freezer, we’ll be eating from our farm all winter long!! We’ll be back next year and we will also volunteer to be a delivery host again."
"Thank you for the wonderful food you provided. This was the first time I had signed up for a CSA. It was a great experience. I ordered a 1/2 share thinking it would feed 1-2 people. It was a lot, I mean A LOT, of food and I was able to share with family and friends. Everything had aroma and flavor. The lettuce greens were awesome (in comparison, the bagged stuff in the store tasted like paper!). And cutting into the tomatoes released the most mouth-watering fragrance."
"I definitely noticed the difference in taste especially in the corn, this was far better than anything at the store."
"We liked All the vegetables! We liked every part of the CSA Share. We would have liked more zucchini. OF COURSE we will sign up again!!! WE LOVED THIS! Going to probably upgrade from a ½ share to a full share."
"The veggies just tasted fresher, or fuller (if that makes sense)... Favorite memories are just the weekly surprises in the box - being able to try out new veggies was also really fun. Oh and shucking corn that wasn't crawling with bugs still amazes me! We liked the onions, peppers, pumpkins, tomatoes, potatoes! Absolutely we will sign up again! We certainly got our money's worth even tho we didn't get to any harvest events."
"I can only think that what you are doing is certainly on the right track. FOODS AS GROWN is the most healthy way to live, and the flavor of your produce was excellent, as compared to store bought. All I can say is the flavor had a FRESHNESS to it. I have NEVER HAD GREENS that had flavor like your did. It was sad to see them cycle so quickly. But they sure were good while they lasted - thank you. I
"My favorite memories were WAITING FOR TUESDAYS , and the phone call saying "they are here." And of course, the GREENS, i.e., lettuce varieties, instead of a head of iceberg in the store with NO flavor or nutrient value. And the potatoes I thought were better flavor, undoughtedly because of freshness. The Sweet Corn was delicious too. HECK, IT WAS ALL GOOD. What I liked about this season is that I found out about it. Sorry, I didn't know the CSA even existed... A very good deal."
"I definitely noticed the difference--I don't want to eat produce from the grocery store anymore, as the difference in taste is so big! Everything has just been so full of flavor. All summer long, we kept having "the best" experiences, as in, "the best potatoes we've ever had, the best corn we've ever had", etc. I couldn't get enough of the radishes, and I've never like radishes in my life!"
"As far as the philosophy of biological farming, when I was doing research online to decide whether to do CSA this year, and which farm to go with, that was a huge deciding factor. I was very impressed with the thought that goes into it, and the love and stewardship involved. You guys obviously enjoy what you are doing!"
"We had many favorite memories! Walking down to the dropoff point with my children, and seeing the excitement they had to open the box each week. It was like Christmas, to see what surprises would be in store this time. We also really enjoyed being able to come to the farm events. I'll never forget my son squatting among the peas, talking to another CSA member and eating fresh peas as fast as he could while "the grownups" actually put peas in the bags. Well, okay, I may have eaten a few peas in the field, too. Or my daughter on the way to the last pick, talking the whole way to Fergus Falls about how she was going to play in the mud. And then doing it."
"The melons we got were sooo sweet--and we got to eat them like you're supposed to, rocking on the front porch, teaching the kids how to pit the seeds into the yard."
"Definitely we will join again. My husband is addicted to your potatoes, and the kids were so sad when we went to the last pickup and I told them it would be the last time until spring. So, I've already promised them that we will start getting more veggies next year. This has been a great experience for us, and a great value-both for the actual food we got, and for the wonderful times at the farm. I can't imagine not wanting to do it again."
"In those rare chances that I have, I like knowing that I can eliminate some of the chemicals that go into my food source so knowing that you choose a biological farming philosophy is important to us."
"Being a drop off location was fantastic!!! I enjoyed watching each member open their box, it was like 20 weeks of Christmas. I liked many things. Searching for a recipe that I could use so I could try a vegetable that neither of us have ever eaten and would never have purchased in the store...kale for example...became probable the biggest hit of the summer...my 3 year old niece even loved the kale chips. "
"YES!!! I plan to join next year. Why would I take the time to plant a garden, then have to weed and tend to it, and be lucky to maybe get three things to produce when I can "HIRE" professionals who know what they are doing. I receive a wonderful variety of items that are delivered to me each week, now if only I could find a maid to clean the house..."
"It is very important to me what I feed to my kids. The veggies in the store, not only don’t taste fresh, sometimes they just look terrible and are overpriced for soggy limp green beans! I am happy that what I am feeding my family and have frozen in my deep freeze for the winter is not given all the chemicals. I was very happy with each and every box. One of the main things I noticed was the flavor of the potatotes!!! There is NO substitute for fresh potatoes and tomatoes for that matter when we got them!"
"My favorite memories are husking corn with my kiddos, making pickles with my hubby, and picking potatoes and pumpkins with my family. It was a lot of fun and the kids loved it until they got tired, but they were troopers. The other memories are all the very delicious salads and food that I made with my veggies! I liked all the veggies! And meeting the people that came to pick up veggies!"
"We loved coming out for the pea pick. The kids had a great time learning how to pick the different types of peas. We loved opening the box each week, because there was always a great mix of vegetables. Personally, my favorite has been the potatoes. They have such a great flavor, much better than you can buy in the stores. And, of course, we loved the leafy greens, too. I should mention that our table is also VERY festively decorated for fall because of all the fun gourds and pumpkins we’ve received. The neighborhood kids love exploring the variety and colors we have hanging out on our table. Yes, we will join again. We were previously members of another CSA, and it was a terrible experience, week after week. We have been nothing but impressed each and every week, AND, we always appreciate your upbeat, positive attitude."
"The vegtables are higher quality that I have gotten anywhere else, and they taste the best due to your methods. This is important to me and I love the ease of serving my family such high quality healthy food! I loved the variety. Our kids were able to try things we might not have otherwise made at home (brusselsprouts, only good this fresh!). The lettuces, beets, and cucumbers were some of our favorites."
"We noticed the taste was more powerful then when you buy from a grocery store. We picked a CSA based on principals that followed our....good healthy nutrient dense food with no extra chemicals that supported our local farmers. The fact that the food is fresh and not a week old and stuck on a truck is important to us."
"Vegetables were brighter colors, tasted fresher, stayed fresher longer and cooked up better. It is very important to us. We saw the earthworms when we were picking potatoes – so we knew how fresh it was. The picks were fun. The variety of vegetables was great too. Sometimes it was a race to try to cook it up or freeze it or otherwise – but it was worth it. I look forward to enjoying it all winter. I liked the variety. The picks. The surprises in every box. .. I do plan to join again – the selection was great and the price was right."
"I really believe that you can tell the difference in the vegetable flavors, especially when compared to what you would get in a grocery store! I have 2 small children (4 and 2 years old) that would eat veggies, but weren't that interested in them. With your veggies they would eat them like candy and ask for more - they were so excited everytime I brought home your veggies! I enjoyed gettting to know our drop off host and also getting the chance to chat with others while picking up our veggies. Also, all the wonderful dinners that I got to make with all the yummy veggies! :) This was my first time with a CSA, so I enjoyed trying new veggies that I wouldn't have picked up before and learning about your processes at the farm... I really enjoy the taste and quality of the veggies. I know that I am feeding my family fresh food that is not pumped full of chemicals and we get to try out new things! Thanks for all that you guys do - we appreciate all of your hard work! You have made my kids into total veggie lovers and we all can't wait for next season!"
"Flavor was much better than grocery store veggies. Very important to my vegetarian family! I loved Mark's emails. I love his enthusiasm and passion for what he does. The harvest events were so fun for my family and my kids (7 & 3) loved picking the veggies. I love that they could see where food comes from and appreciate the work that it takes. We had a picnic in the woods and that was lovely too. I also loved going to Donna's each week and then my kids asking, "Mom, what did we get? What's in the box?" It was like Christmas every Tuesday! :) Potatoes were fabulous, corn was great. Everything was awesome, but those were our favorites!"
"We wrote about our experience with the CSA on our blog: http://fitness.conspicuousfamily.com/2010/09/eat-your-vegetables.html"