CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) subscriptions are a terrific way to get started in local eating. You buy a subscription or “share” from a farm offering CSA’s in the early spring. In return you’ll get a bag or box of farm fresh food every week, usually from May through September or so. Here’s the list of farms in Whatcom County offering CSA’s for 2010, according to Sustainable Connections’ March newsletter:
- Alm Hill Gardens/Growing Washington 360.966.4157
- Alpenhorn Farm 360.303.6095
- Cedarville Farm 360.592.5594
- Holistic Homestead 360.966.4939
- MojoCoho Inc 907.388.2093
- Rabbit Fields Farm 360.393.8747
- Rosa Verde Farm 360.383.0893
- Terra Verde Farm 360.393.2520
- Wildroot Botanicals 360.676.1877
Note: If you offer a CSA or know of someone who does that is not on this list, please send me the information (farm name, web site address if you have one, and contact phone number).
The Sustainable Connections article offers more information about how CSA’s work and the kind of options sometimes available. I encourage you to take a few minutes to read it before deciding whether or not CSA might be a good option for you. Also, the Growing Whatcom CSA website has detailed information about CSAs in general, as well as about a group of Whatcom County farms working together to jointly provide an annual CSA program.
Personally, I’ve tried two different CSA programs, and both were a lot of culinary fun. Each week on the assigned day I’d swing by the pickup location. There with my name on it was a box or grocery bag of beautiful produce. It was always a treasure hunt to see what had been included each time. The food was harvested on the same day so was absolutely fresh, and it had been thoroughly cleaned and was ready to use when they gave it to me. Besides meeting the farmers, I also met other subscribers and enjoyed some interesting conversations.
Most CSA’s include a few unusual varieties or vegetables occasionally besides the standard fare of lettuce, broccoli, carrots, etc. It’s a good chance to try something new. Last summer the highlight for us was Dragon Tongue beans. Besides their beautiful exotic appearance, they were probably the best snap bean I’ve ever eaten. In fact, I’m planning to plant some in my garden this year. You can buy heirloom seeds for them from Uprising Seeds in Bellingham (see previous link).
If you’d like to participate in a CSA, act soon. Each farm has a limited number of subscriptions available.