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Archive for Tuesday, April 12, 2011

2011 Lawrence CSA guide: How to get a constant stream of local veggies into your house without so much as a shopping trip

Organic farmer Mark Lumpe works to cut an assortment of baby greens in one of his three greenhouses at Wakarusa Valley Farms. Lumpe is part of the Rolling Prairie Farmers Alliance, which delivers a variety of produce to members in the spring and summer.

Organic farmer Mark Lumpe works to cut an assortment of baby greens in one of his three greenhouses at Wakarusa Valley Farms. Lumpe is part of the Rolling Prairie Farmers Alliance, which delivers a variety of produce to members in the spring and summer.

April 12, 2011

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CSA usage 101

Signed up for a CSA and have no idea how you’re going to use it all before it goes bad?

Don’t worry, We’ll have weekly write-ups on Lawrence.com and Wellcommons.com with tips and recipes for your constant stream of veggies.

The write-ups will begin as soon as the CSA bags start rolling in, but if you want to see how writer Sarah Henning finished up her bags each week last year, check out her archived “Bye-Bye Bounty” posts on Wellcommons.com.

Add your CSA to our list

Got a CSA that wasn’t on our list but serves Lawrence? Call Sarah Henning at 832-7187 or email her at sarah@lawrence.com, and she’ll add you to the list online.

The hardest part of healthy eating isn’t the actual digestion — it’s getting those healthy ingredients into your house.

If you don’t buy it, you won’t eat it.

There’s a way you’ll get your healthy foods and help the local economy with one easy step: join a CSA.

A CSA, or community supported agriculture, is a way to get locally grown produce at a good price while helping to ensure a local farmer’s income. The way it works is that you sign up for a share of a local farm or group of farms. Through that share, you’re basically subscribing to receive fruits and vegetables produced during our prime growing season — roughly May through October — which you’ll get weekly in a pickup location.

The farmer gets a guaranteed customer and you get guaranteed fresh produce into your house at a price that’s generally cheaper than retail.

Lawrence is a hot bed of CSAs, with ones both large and small. Some have multiple pickup days and some have set foods per week. Some let you pick out what you want and some carry unusual items that you won’t normally find at the market or in the store (dewberries, anyone?). And, in addition to produce CSAs, there are also CSAs that provide customers with animal products, such as meat and eggs.

So, pretty much, if you live in and around Lawrence, there’s a CSA for you. All you have to do is sign up and those healthy foods will be on your kitchen counter and ready to eat in no time.

Rolling Prairie Farmers Alliance

The basics: This CSA offers two sizes of shares — a regular share (6 to 8 items) and a smaller “economy bag” (5 to 7 items). Produce featured includes choices of greens, potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, raspberries and more from seven area farms.

The costs: Deposit is $75 ($85 for new members), and bags are $17 per week for the regular size, $14 for the economy bag. Included in the cost is a copy of “The Rolling Prairie Cookbook” by Nancy O’Connor for first-time subscribers.

Pickups: Monday (regular bag) at The Merc, 901 S. Iowa, in Lawrence, Wednesday in Kansas City (Overland Park and Roeland Park), Thursday (economy bag) at Local Burger, 714 Vt., in Lawrence.

Still spots available? Yes

Something special: Lawrence’s oldest CSA, this one’s been around since 1994 and serves more than 300 households per week during its season, which runs roughly between May and November. All the farms practice organic growing practices, though not all are certified by the USDA.

Contact/more information: Go to www.rollingprairie.net.

Moon on the Meadow Farm

The basics: Moon on the Meadow Farm is an organic, urban farm located just on the edge of Lawrence. Moon on the Meadow partners with Common Harvest Farms and Red Tractor Farm for its weekly shares, which include 6 to 8 items per week.

The costs: Deposit is $42, and each week is $16. You can pay by the week, month or pay for the whole season in advance.

Pickups: Tuesday in Lenexa, Thursday in Kansas City, Mo., Friday at the farm, 1515 E. 11th St., Lawrence.

Still spots available? Yes

Something special: This is a USDA certified organic farm. Owner Jill Elmers says that her Friday pickup subscribers often remark they really enjoy seeing the farm that grows their veggies. Also, this year, the farm is partnering with Cornerstone Bakery to have breads, crackers, flours and other goodies included in the pickup bag as preferred.

Contact/more information: Call Jill at 749-1197, 913-269-4672 or send e-mail to jelmers@moononthemeadow.com.

Mellowfields Urban Farm

The basics: Mellowfields offers a small CSA May through October, culling vegetables from its four urban plots around Lawrence.

The costs: Lump sum or monthly. Email mellowfields@gmail.com for pricing.

Pickups: Thursday evenings at the Cottin’s Farmers’ Market in Lawrence.

Still spots available? No, but there is a waiting list.

Something special: Mellowfields is a sustainably farmed CSA that specializes in heirloom varieties and even saves some of its own seed.

Contact/more information: Go to www.mellowfields.com or send email to mellowfields@gmail.com.

Pendleton’s Country Market

The basics: Pendleton’s has had a CSA in the past and has relaunched the program this year. Subscribers have the option of picking up a box of 4 to 8 items each week at the farm, or having it delivered. Pendleton’s will deliver to any location agreed upon by more than eight subscribers.

The costs: $60 per month.

Pickups: Tuesdays at Pendleton’s Country Market, 1446 E. 1850 Road and Sunshine Acres Montessori School, 2141 Maple Lane.

Still spots available? Yes

Something special: Subscribers also have the option of buying a “punchcard” good for $60 worth of produce each month from Pendleton’s. The cards will be good at the farm store, The Lawrence Farmers’ Market (Saturday mornings, Eighth and New Hampshire streets) or through the CSA. Also, CSA members get 10 percent off bedding plants at the farm store during the months their subscriptions are valid.

Contact/more information: Go to www.pendletons.com, call 843-1409 or e-mail Karen Pendleton at karenp@pendletons.com.

Spring Creek Farm

The basics: This small, 21-person CSA is based near Baldwin City. It has two sizes of bags — full and two-thirds — and the average bag has five types of veggies plus herbs.

The costs: $348.75 per season for the full bag, $236 per season for the two-thirds bag. Eggs are also available each week for an additional $4 per dozen. There are a limited amount of subscriptions available for people who want to trade labor for veggies.

Pickups: Wednesday afternoons in Baldwin City and Gardner, Saturday at the Lawrence Farmers’ Market, Eighth and New Hampshire streets.

Still spots available? Yes

Something special: The farm uses organic and sustainable methods, and in a boon for those folks who like to plan, it sends an e-mail out to subscribers each week so they know exactly what to expect in their bags.

Contact/more information: Send e-mail to springcreekcsa@yahoo.com or call 785-633-5292.

Amy’s Meats

The basics: A diverse CSA, this one offers subscribers a choice of pork, beef, chicken, eggs, milk, bread and veggies.

The costs: Customers receive a punchcard based on their investment — there is a minimum investment of $250 — and can use that amount to put together a bag of items depending on what they want each week.

Pickups: Locations will be determined once the harvest begins.

Still spots available? Yes

Something special: Among the goodies available are steaks, homemade hamburger buns, eggs, potatoes, peas, popcorn and other crops.

Contact/more information: Email amy@amysmeats.com.

Homespun Hill Farm

The basics: This meat CSA features grass-fed beef and grass-fed lamb. Also for sale at the purchase sites are pastured chicken, stewing hens and eggs.

The costs: Payments can be made either up front, or paid half up front and then through a small monthly fee. The price breaks down to $7.75 per pound and can be bought in increments of 5 pounds, 7 pounds or 10 pounds per month.

Pickups: Saturday mornings at the Lawrence Farmers’ Market, Eighth and New Hampshire streets.

Still spots available? Yes

Something special: Subscribers can chose from receiving beef and lamb or going beef only.

Contact/more information: Go to www.homespunhillfarm.com.

Gasper Family Farm

The basics: This family farm near Fort Scott offers pork and dairy CSAs, with coverage in Lawrence, Kansas City and Topeka.

The costs: Contact Peter Gasper at 913-723-3838 or e-mail at farmer1@gasperfarm.com for pricing.

Pickups: Call or e-mail for pickup information.

Still spots available? Yes

Something special: The pork is pasture-raised and the dairy comes from grass-fed cows.

Contact/more information: Go to www.gasperfarm.com.

DCCDA Child Care CSAs

This program is full, but it’s something that parents in town should be on the lookout for next year.

The Douglas County Child Development Association has coordinated CSAs for pickup at four area child care centers: Stepping Stones Daycare, Immanuel Lutheran Childhood Center, Building Blocks Daycare Center and Sunshine Acres Montessori School.

The schools CSAs are partnered with Hoyland Farms, Buller Family Farms, Wakarusa Valley Farms, Mellowfields Urban Farm and Pendleton’s Country Market.

For more information about the program, which is called Families, Farmers and Educators United for Healthy Child Development, contact Emily Hampton at the DCCDA, 842-9679.

Comments

scott3460 3 years, 8 months ago

Outstanding idea and service. Have been a CSA customer for the last two years and it has helped to improve the variety and quantity of vegetables I eat. That it also helps neighbors and provides local jobs is only an added benefit.

broadpaw 3 years, 8 months ago

Thanks for the great information. I only first heard of CSAs from my brother who lives on the east coast, and felt ashamed I live in the Heartland and didn't know of any local CSAs. This is an excellent article for those interested in supporting Lawrence and the surrounding community of hard-working farmers.

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