Time to Sign Up for the 2015 Out On a Limb CSA

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

2015 is our seventh 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?
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.

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, Ellsworth, 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.  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:

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!

Plant A Heritage Tree in Your Yard, Orchard or Community

Are you having trouble finding interesting apples in your local grocery store or farm stand?  Now you can plant your favorite heritage varieties in your backyard, community garden, neighborhood green space or local schoolyard and help preserve Maine’s agricultural heritage at the same time.  The Maine Heritage Orchard Stewardship Program disperses “back-ups” of all the rare varieties in the Heritage Orchard to “stewards” across the state who want to restore local varieties to their community.  Not only will the trees provide tasty fruit for you, your community and future generations, but they will also serve as grafting wood for propagating more trees if something happens to the specimen in the Maine Heritage Orchard.


Become a steward and help put Maine’s heirloom apples back into Maine’s communities!   You can join the program and purchase these apple trees through the Fedco Trees catalog. Sixty percent of the purchase price of each tree helps fund the Mane Heritage Orchard. For more information on the stewardship program, see page 19 of the 2015 Fedco Trees catalog or visit http://www.fedcoseeds.com/trees/.

John Bunker on the Organic Farm Stand

If you haven’t had a chance to hear John speak about apples in person, you might enjoy listening to this radio interview that aired last week on WPKN’s show The Organic Farmstand.  John talks about how apples first got to North America, the basic botany of tree fruit, and the historical uses of apples. He even shares a few stories of how he got started on his journey to track down and preserve old varieties.

Here is the link to the interview:  http://archives.wpkn.org/bookmarks/listen/89417


If the interview whets your appetite to learn more about apples,  check out John’s book, Not Far From the Tree, which continues the story.  It’s available at: https://outonalimbcsa.wordpress.com/goodies/





Heritage Apple Day at Lakeside Orchard

If you are tired of being cooped up inside on this rainy week, come on out to Lakeside Orchard in Manchester this Saturday morning, December 13, from 9-12.  There will be 16 different varieties of heirloom apples to taste and purchase.  John Bunker will be there to talk about the histories of the varieties and to give you some tips about how to to use them and store them.  As always Lakeside will have hot cider, freshly made cider donuts and lots of other baked goods and produce to sell.  Hope to see you there.


Easy Ordering from the OOAL Store

Just in time for the holidays, you can now order books and t-shirts from the Out on a Limb Store using PayPal.  No more need to check with us about costs, you can submit your order with just a few clicks.  (Of course if you prefer to send us a check, that still works.)

Visit the store at https://outonalimbcsa.wordpress.com/goodies/ to peruse our offerings for the apple lovers on your holiday gift list.  Know someone who has swapped their drink of choice from beer to cider?  If so, the cider t-shirt designed by John Bunker might be just the perfect gift.  IMG_1263An apple enthusiast with a sense of humor is sure to enjoy a shirt with the Out on a Limb logo and quote by Mark Twain.  For the historians on your list or those who enjoy a folksy read, order a copy of John’s book Not Far From the Tree.  You’ll learn about the history of agriculture in Maine and so much more.

Happy holidays.