Purple Co. CSA launches in Creemore
In the lee of the escarpment, there is a sweet spot where a microclimate exists and has proven to be quite fruitful. Even in this cool spring weather, a large garden plot perched on the edge of the hill, is protected from the elements.
The farm has been in Peter Miller’s family for three generations. With wife Naomi Miller, Mike Moutrey and Tracey Oliver, they are launching a CSA, called The Purple Co.
Evidence of the old farmhouse is almost gone but the stone foundation of the barn is still there and the bones of an old milkhouse stand strong.
Last summer, four partners from Agripharm parlayed their collective knowledge gained from growing marijuana in an indoor facility at Cashtown Corners to an outdoor diversified farming model.
The land provided. They grew many varieties of herbs and vegetables and shared the bounty with friends. This year, they are inviting the community to be a part of the venture through community shared agriculture, or CSA.
Peter said the medical marijuana project opened his eyes to agriculture. He didn’t know much about gardening when he was thrown into the business of growing and he got really excited about food production. Although the process of traditional growing is different from indoor growing, they emerged with “a lot of questions and some knowledge, just enough to be dangerous,” said Peter.
The Purple Co. is working toward organic certification and plans to produce 85 full shares this summer, which can be upsized to a family basket or downsized to a half basket, depending on how many people are sharing the food.
With the CSA model, the consumer shares the risk with the farmer, says Naomi, and everything they produce has the customer in mind.
Tracey brings a lot of knowledge and experience to the operation, and after putting in time at the indoor growing facility, she is happy to be working outside and has plans for the garden, including a cut-flower component.
Although the retail side of the farm operation is producing fresh, locally grown food, one gets the distinct impression there is a lot more to The Purple Co. There is a level of innovation taking place that is not unexpected from a group of people who worked on the front lines of a burgeoning medical marijuana industry.
They are applying old practices, such as companion planting, and without the use of synthetic pesticides and herbicides, to grow food but also experimenting with things like biochar to amend the soil, which also slows climate change.
As another prong of the operation, The Purple Co. is also working in the legal marijuana industry in Colorado.
They are hoping to one day welcome people to the Creemore property to share what it is they are discovering and learning.
“We are being a relatively open book, to connect people with the sources of nutrition,” said Peter.
For now, they are offering open communication about how they grow the more than 50 varieties of produce that will be available weekly. Pick-ups of food baskets and eggs will be in Creemore. Members will receive 18 deliveries between June 15 and October 21 and will include recipes for inspiration. For pricing visit www.thepurpleco.net.