Posts Tagged: CSA
Nigel and Lorraine of Eatwell Farm in Dixon go an extra mile to share a taste of real farm experiences with their 500 CSA members and their friends and relations, partly for increased understanding about the farm by their customers and partly to build loyalty and attract new CSA members.
After arriving and getting settled, we all walked out to the garlic field, where we learned how to pull up the bulbs with the stem still attached. We got the hang of garlic harvesting quickly, as the soil had already been loosened around the bulbs, making pulling pretty easy. We picked and pulled and shook off the dirt and piled our findings into harvesting trays to bring back to the packing shed.
After we'd filled a dozen or so trays with our harvest, Connie and Eric, our hosts for the afternoon, let us loose in the next field over, the most beautiful abundant strawberry patch, with instructions to taste and pick what we wanted. No prices, no weighing, just picking and eating of the most delicious ripe and sweet berries. Smiles were everywhere.
Then it was time to learn how to braid. First a little instruction in cleaning off the outer layers of skins, then a short demo on how to braid, and we were ready. We all made a few braids, or tried to make braids. Although the farm sells garlic at their farmers' markets, Connie and Eric again let us know that we could take home as much as we wanted! We felt royally gifted with kindness.
Finally, dinner was ready. The main course was farm-raised chicken, prepared by Lorraine. Rounding out the delicious meal were potluck salads, sides and sweets brought by the visitors. Dinner was followed by a campfire, complete with marshmallows and all the makings for classic s'mores.
The director of the UC Small Farm Center, Shermain Hardesty, said there are a number of hurdles California small-scale farmers must overcome to compete in state's highly industrialized food production and distribution system, according to a recent Bakersfield Californian news story. The article, written by Jeff Nactigal, centered on Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA, a system in which consumers pay a monthly subscription and receive a weekly supply of produce, typically organically grown.
Featured farmer Vernon Peterson started his CSA 10 months ago with 50 subscribers and now delivers more than 1,000 boxes of organic produce to 20 cities between Tulare and Simi Valley.
“There’s growing interest in local foods. So he’s taking advantage of the locally produced, and the identity about who’s produced what in the box,” Hardesty was quoted in the article.
She noted that marketing, developing a customer base, offering a steady variety of products and maintaining a customer-service mentality are important elements of a successful CSA.
The article also cited information from "Riding the Organic Wave," by UC Davis Cooperative Extension agricultural economist Karen Klonsky. The publication says organic sales in California are growing at double-digit rates while the number of growers has stayed the same.
Don't miss the video produced by the reporter himself, which is available on the same page as the story, to the left of the text.