CSA programs offer shares of the local harvest
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Written by Carolyn Goodwin
Thursday, 25 February 2010 00:02
There are two ways to ensure a steady supply of fresh-picked, locally-grown veggies throughout the growing season. You can buy some seeds and start digging. Or you can sign up for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program and reap the benefits of a local farmer’s hard work. Spring is CSA sign-up time, and at least one local program is already fully subscribed for the year. So if you’ve decided that this is the year you want to buy your share of a farm’s harvest, read on and make your choice soon!
CSA programs use annual subscription fees, paid in the spring, to help cover the cost of supplies needed at the start of the growing season. “The CSA money that we make early in our season gives us the money to pay for seeds, compost, labor costs and countless other farming expenditures -- the majority of our farm costs occur between January and the beginning of June,” explained Anne Weber of Farmhouse Organics. In exchange for their investment, subscribers get regular weekly shares of the harvest. Most CSA programs offer these shares for a set fee, and the food is either delivered to the customer or picked up at the farm throughout the growing season. The average weekly cost works out to around $25 to $35.
Below is a list of CSA’s and their contact information. You can also look at the Sound Food Farm Map to see exact location and find additional information.
Butler Green Farms
Brian MacWhorter is the master farmer who, with his wife Amy Kuhl, owns Butler Green Farms. For the past 26 years he has been farming on Bainbridge, he now works six different farms on the Island. Butler Green’s CSA program has over 150 members, and will expand this year to make room for more.
Butler Green CSA members are invited to shop at the CSA store each week, with the amount of their purchases deducted from their remaining balance. This year’s CSA choices will include an expanded selection of pasture-raised meats, such as lamb, beef, chicken and pork, which MacWhorter will raise on
the island. He also promises eggs, lots and lots of them, and new varieties of braising greens.
The Butler Green farm store is in a new location this year; an historic farm at 10152 Valley Road in Rolling Bay, across the road and west of Bay Hay and Feed. MacWhorter is already harvesting salad greens and a few other early crops, and the CSA store is now open every Tuesday to members only.
A full CSA share, which is usually enough to keep a family of four in veggies through the summer, costs $500 at Butler Green. Half shares are available for two-person families, at $250. The easiest way to sign up for his CSA is via the sign-up form on the Butler Green website.
Butler Green Farms
Brian MacWhorter/Amy Kuhl
22855 Sundown Ridge Lane, Poulsbo, WA 98370
Farmhouse Organics began as Anne’s Flower Farm in 1991. Anne and Peter Weber started farming on an old strawberry field in Eagledale, Bainbridge Island. In 1999 they moved to Poulsbo so that they could expand their offerings. Theirs is one of the only WSDA Certified Organic farms in the area.
Farmhouse Organics offers a CSA program, which has become so popular that it’s already fully subscribed for this year. But don’t despair, they have created a new Farmers’ Market Discount program for the benefit of their regular market customers. An advance payment of $500 before April 1 will give you 10% off all of your farmer's market purchases until you use up your $500 credit. This will work at the Bainbridge farmer's market and the Poulsbo farmer's market. Or you can pre-pay any amount less than $500 and get a 5% discount on all of your market purchases. The Webers sell at all 30 of the regular Saturday markets plus the 5 winter markets.
You can “visit” the Weber farm through their new Farmhouse Organics Facebook page. There you’ll find updates on what’s new at the farm, along with photos of the farm throughout the growing season.
Ann and Peter Weber
3785 Lincoln Road, Poulsbo, WA 98370
Holly Lane Garden
This is Bainbridge’s newest CSA, being offered by long-time Island farmer Patty Dusbabek. Subscribers can choose not only from her selection of organically grown veggies and herbs, but also from all of the wonderful things she makes with them. Herbed breads and pastries will be among the CSA offerings, as will a variety of jams and jellies.
Another of Dusbabek’s specialties is eggs, including duck, chicken and goose eggs. “One of my goose eggs last week weighed half a pound!” she exclaimed.
Holly Lane members will be able to pick up their weekly share either at Patty’s booth at the Bainbridge Farmers’ Market on Saturdays, or at her farm on Saturday afternoons. She even allows customers to pick their own vegetables out of the field – you can’t get much fresher than that. As one who has visited her farm, I would consider the trip to the farm to be as big of a treat as the products themselves! She is offering full shares for $25 a week, or half shares for $15, which can be paid monthly or in advance for the entire season.
Holly Lane Farm
9432 Holly Farm Lane
The first CSA program in Kitsap County, and possibly on this side of Puget Sound, was started by Rebecca Slattery of Persephone Farms back in 1991. Slattery’s fields are in Indianola, but she delivers CSA baskets to her subscribers on Bainbridge Island every week from June through October. The Johnson Farm (site of the annual Harvest Fair) is her pickup site; each week she greets her CSA members with carefully selected baskets of seasonal produce, along with recipes and advice on everything from cooking to farming. This year she’ll debut a new website and other online tools for her CSA community.
“I like to encourage people to experiment with seasonal foods,” Slattery explains. She offers a very extensive and eclectic assortment of organic produce – all the standards plus hard-to-find treats like broccoli raab, lovage, sorrel, cardoons, and unusual varieties of peppers and tomatoes. “My subscribers love the surprise element of their CSA baskets; they often tell me it’s like Christmas every week,” she laughs. She heightens the sense of community in her CSA program by hosting gatherings at her farm, including annual garlic parties, a cider pressing in the fall, and garden tours.
Slattery’s CSA program is so popular that it sells out every year. Full shares in Persephone’s CSA program are $650, half shares are $500. She also offering “add-on” shares of flowers, eggs, raw milk and cheese, honey, berries and fruit, and wine from Bainbridge Island Vineyards, which allows her CSA members to get weekly deliveries of those products along with the fresh vegetables. One especially popular add-on is a bread share, featuring bread baked by Judith Weinstock “that’s delivered still warm from the oven.”
PO Box 158, Indianola, WA 98342