Meadow Rise Farm of Bellville is getting growing done the old-fashioned way and giving area consumers a chance to buy produce grown with a nod to agriculture’s rich tradition.
After years of selling their harvest at farmer’s markets, Joan and Reed Richmond have begun their inaugural Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) effort this year and are providing their customers crops directly from the farm.
Through their “feet on the ground” approach to farming, the Richmonds have a created a 2.5-acre operation reminiscent of farms of the past.
“We primarily use hand tools,” said Meadow Rise owner Joan Richmond. “We also use our 13 horsepower BCS walking tractor, but otherwise, it’s all feet on the ground.”
The Richmonds began their farming effort in 2000 after moving back to the area.
“While we were getting ready to build our house, I asked (my) dad to plow me up a little garden space,” said Joan Richmond. “He plowed up a 90-by-90 foot space. So naturally, I had to plant it all and we had more vegetables than humanly consumable.”
Despite the couple’s effort to give away their excess produce, the Richmonds had more vegetables than they knew what to do with.
“After that (first year), Lindsay Brinkus was on her second year at the new Bellville Farmers Market, so we took a card table and set up shop there,” she said. “We did that for several years, and then I decided to try a larger market. We sold at Pearl Alley Market on Broad Street for two years, and then we were able to join the larger Clintonville Farmers Market. Three years ago we added the Worthington Farmers Market, which are two of the largest markets in Columbus.”
Eventually, the Richmonds wanted to sell to their products to the people who helped them get their operation up and running, so they devised a CSA program for area residents.
“In our CSA we have people pay up front January through March,” said Joan Richmond. “Then we deliver vegetables to our members from June to October. It’s a way for a community to support its local farmers. Our (produce) pick-up spot is The Happy Grape in Lexington.” The spot is a central location for Meadow Rise’s 22 CSA members.
Currently, Meadow Rise offers CSA participants a variety of produce such as kale, turnips, tomatoes and cucumbers. Shares can be purchased for $500 for a family-sized 20-week program, $400 for a couple-sized 20-week program or $250 for a bi-weekly half-sized program.
The Richmonds will be taking applications for the 2016 season beginning in October. For non-CSA members, Meadow Rise still sells their produce at area farmer’s market and can be contacted through their Facebook page.
Reach Jones on Twitter @Bellville_Jones