Out On a Limb is a 150-member CSA (community supported agriculture) operation in mid-coast Maine that focuses exclusively on rare apples. For $160, our members receive five pickups in total, every other week from early September to early November. We offer pickup locations in Belfast, Clinton, Portland, Rockport, Trenton, and on our farm in Palermo. Each week's share contains 10-12 lbs consisting of different varieties based on what is ripe and available at that moment -- we strive for at least four varieties per week!
Our aim is to introduce consumers to the wealth of apple varieties that grow in the region and at the same time support small Maine orchards that continue to grow both heritage and uncommon modern apples. The apples that we offer are not the ones you will find at your local grocery store; they may be 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 otherwise accessible. 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 Honeycrisps. Many growers don’t even bother to harvest heirloom varieties since their customers largely demand Cortland 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 in heritage apples grows, some of the orchards that we partner with are reversing the trend and starting to graft the modern varieties back to old favorites, such as Black Oxford. How great is that?
If you'd like to learn more about us, read our bios here.