Round Right Farm
by Roanna Martin
Steve and Sunshine Vortigern are passionate about eating great food and sharing it with the world. This passion undergirds and fuels their work- and can be tangibly felt at Round Right Farm.
These two art majors from California are now in their 6th season as CSA (Consumer Supported Agriculture) farmers, and they love the challenge of coaxing vegetables out of the rolling terrain of Terra Alta. In addition to producing and delivering 150 boxes of vegetable shares to six locations every week in the Morgantown and Bruceton Mills area, they sell at Morgantown Farmers’ Market on Saturdays and spend two days a week at the Oakland, Maryland Farmers’ Market.
Operating a CSA helps cash flow at the onset of the season, and having CSA members also spreads the word about local food. Round Right CSA members have a lot of options- they can customize their shares, and even purchase bread and cheese shares that Round Right offers in conjunction with local farmers. Being at market three days a week requires commitment, but the face-to-face relationships created at market give them the energy they need to keep going. In addition to the CSA and farmers’ markets, they also sell directly to local restaurants.
This diversified income stream allows the couple and their two children to support themselves entirely from the farm. They employ interns and hourly workers, passing on the knowledge base that they have accumulated to aspiring farmers. Sunshine advises that anyone considering becoming a produce farmer completes an apprenticeship to understand more fully the daily reality of operating a farm. Steve and Sunshine worked at Backbone Food Farm in Western Maryland prior to crafting their current setup from what used to be just a hay field.
After snapping a few pictures around the property and asking Sunshine a few questions, I knelt down in the soil to get my hands dirty for a while. Since the past year has been dedicated to academics for me, it felt so good to tuck the wee little spinach seedlings into the soil. Five of us worked together, and made quick work of the hundreds of soil blocks. There is potential in each little plant, and these long rows of green have a lovely place to call home, beside the waving fronds of asparagus.
It is so encouraging to see a family earning a living from the soil, and giving back to the earth at the same time. For more information about the CSA and their farm, visit their website.
- 145 Dream Field Ln Terra Alta, WV 26764