I was very excited about going on this farm tour, as it meant a lot for the people in the San Marcos area. It has been hard to find enough CSA’s in our area to fill the need of the customer base. Steele Farms started delivering in San Marcos in November. For the time being they deliver right to your door! They are currently accepting new subscriptions for the Spring Season which will start the first of April. You can call them at 830-386-FARM or you can fill out the form online it will go straight to them at http://www.freshtexasproduce.com/FieldFresh/Sign_Up_Today.html . The farm is steeped in family tradition as it has been in the family for 150 years. The farm is being operated by Michael and Barbara who live on site. Michael and Barbara have two children 3 and 6 and one coming in a week! Trey Steele is the Vice President and handles all the marketing. Trey is Michael’s brother and lives in Austin. Trey has two boy’s ages 18 months and 4. As you can tell is is a family farm all the way through! The farm has a very unique story. Michael’s grandfather ranched the land and then it skipped a generation, when his father went to college. Michael decided that he wanted to farm, so the tradition of farming kept going in the family. I was standing in the greenhouse, talking with Barbara, who is absolutely enchanting. I asked her if she always wanted to be a farmer, her response was yes except for two years when she wanted to be an FBI agent when she was about 10.
She would read books as she was going up the ski lifts to pass the time and that of course would interest her. Barbara is a microbiologist and really understands soil and the value of microorganisms. Michael and I walked the fields lush with produce and talked about different methods of farming and varieties of produce. I was pleased to hear him say many times that the soil is the key and it must have balance. Currently they have about 6 acres of the farm in production. They just keep expanding on to more fields as needed, but not taking on too much. This shows good stewardship of the land. The varieties that they choose are a mix of open pollinated and hybrid. The varieties are chosen for flavor. The goal of Steel Farms is to have the best tasting freshest produce. They save many seeds and replant them in subsequent years. Steele Farms also starts all of their own seedling throughout the year.
High houses, low tunnels, mulch are all on the items in the recipe of success. Steele Farms uses a good rotation plan and cover crops and succession planting to get the most out of their fields. Low Tunnels extend the season for a long time and allow them to get vegetables in the ground much earlier and avoid using chemicals, even organic ones. A high tunnel provides much needed shade in the summer to keep the produce cool from our scorching heat.
Steele Farms is currently serving 100 customers in their CSA program. In the spring they will return to the farmers markets as well. One unique thing about their CSA model is that you can alter your box according to what you like. This is a plus if you are a finicky eater! You get a lot in their weekly box of vegetables. It is a great value for your money. And the delivery, service, Priceless! One less trip, and much fresher produce.
Filed under: Uncategorized |