Time to Sign Up for the 2014 Out On a Limb CSA

We are accepting applications for the Out On a Limb Heritage Apple CSA.
We hope you will join us!

2014 is our sixth year, and once again we’ll be offering a wide assortment of endangered, historical and just plain unusual eating and cooking apples, including some that we’ve never offered before.

apple display1

Why join a Heritage Apple Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Program? The idea behind the OOAL CSA is to introduce consumers to the wealth of apples varieties that grow in Maine and at the same time to support small Maine orchards that continue to grow heritage apples.  The apples that we offer are not the ones you will find at your local grocery store; they maybe unusually shaped or colored, too tender for shipping, not tasty till winter, loaded with  flavor, or best for cooking.  Some, like Northern Spy or Baldwin, you might come across at a farm stand if your timing was good, but many of the varieties we offer are not available.  Through our connections with growers all over central Maine, we are able to track down the ones that we don’t grow ourselves and deliver them to you when they are best for fresh eating, cooking or storage.

We do this to educate and excite you about apples and also to keep small orchards enthusiastic about growing those few, unusual, old trees that have survived over the years as their orchards were planted over to Macs and Honey Crisps.  Many growers don’t even bother to harvest heirloom varieties since their customers want Cortlands and Delicious apples, so they are delighted to have us provide a market for their Charettes, Greenings and Russets.  If we keep these growers happy, we hope that they will take good care of their old trees.  And to our delight, as the interest heritage apples grows, some of the orchards that we partner with are reversing the trend and starting to top work the modern varieties back to old favorites, such as Black Oxford.  How great is that?

How does the Out on a Limb Apple CSA work?
The CSA distribution takes place every other week from the second week of September to the first week of November. There are five deliveries in total.

What kinds of apples will I be getting?
Over the course of the season you’ll receive 20 or more varieties of rare and highly flavored apples with a wide range of uses, appearances, histories and flavors. In each delivery you will receive a mix of dessert apples (for eating fresh) and culinary apples. We will make sure you have enough of the culinary varieties to cook up into a dish.

How many apples will I be getting?P1050409
You will get approximately 1/4 bushel of apples at each pickup (about 10-12 lbs). Each variety will be in a labeled bag. Please bring along your own tote bag or box in which to put the various smaller bags. Or purchase a large, organic “Out On a Limb” tote bag from us for $15.

How will I learn about the varieties I receive?
We have an online newsletter that has descriptions, history, and lore about each of the varieties that you will receive, as well as recipes and ideas for how best to use them.

Are the apples organic?
The apples that we provide come from our farm as well as from other local orchards.  Some varieties are organically grown, and others are conventionally grown with IPM.

What if I want additional apples?
Throughout the season we are able to offer larger quantities of some of the apples.  When extra apples are available, we will send you an email to let you know.  If you’d like to have a half-bushel or bushel of a particular apple to store or preserve, you can order them to be delivered at your next pick-up.

When and Where do I pick up my order?

Belfast: Tuesday at the UU Church, 37  Miller Street, 4-6pm

Freedom: Tuesday at Village Farm, Rt. 137, 4-6pm

Mt Desert: at Beech Hill Farm, 171 Beech Hill Rd., Thursdays 1-4pm, Fridays 9am-4pm

Palermo: at Super Chilly Farm, Tuesday 4-6pm or Wednesday, 10am-6pm

Portland: Wednesdays at Foodworks, 59 India St., 10am-3pm, or  at 14 Florence St., 2:30-6pm

In late August/early September we will send you an email to confirm the pick-up locations and times.

Don’t live near one of our pick-up sites? We have groups forming in Hallowell, Damariscotta, Winterport, Deer Isle and Brunswick to share the driving of pickups from Palermo, Belfast and Portland.  If you are interested in joining one of these or setting up groups in your area, please let us know and we can connect you with others who may be interested as well.

How much does it cost?
The CSA costs $150 for the season, (or $165 for your share and a tote bag.) Full payment is due when you sign up.

How do I sign up?
Send your check made out to “Out On a Limb Apple CSA” to:

OOAL CSA
167 Turner Mill Pond Rd.
Palermo, ME 04354

Please include your name, snail mail address, phone #, email address and pick-up location with your check.

Shares are limited and enrollment is on a first come, first served basis.

Can I get apples mailed to me?
We have lots of requests to mail apples out of state.  While many orchards are happy and able to do this, we do not ship our apples through the mail. The reason for this is twofold.  First, the apple varieties that we select for our CSA are chosen for their flavor, not their ability to withstand the rigors of our postal system.  We can’t guarantee that our apples will arrive to you in NY or CA looking as tasty and beautiful as when we picked them.  Secondly, we encourage you to seek out unusual apples that grow in your area.  Visit the small orchards near you, and ask the growers what old varieties they offer.  Take the time to look beyond the Honey Crisp, and you will probably find some surprises that are unique to your area of the country.  We’d love to hear what you discover.

Feel free to email us at csa.outonalimb@gmail.com if you have any questions. We look forward to hearing from you!