Fresh. Local. Organic. Seasonal. Sustainably grown.
Yesterday was the first day for picking up my CSA veggie basket for the 2011 season. This is our second year with Roots and Shoots Farm. And this is their second year in the CSA farming business. It appears that things went well in 2010 as they have doubled the number of shares for 2011. Again we went for a half share. Picking up every other week suits our small family size and busy summer schedule.
What is CSA?
Simply put, share investors pay upfront in the Spring, with the arrangement that the bounty from the field will be made available to them once a week (or every other for half shares) during the harvest season. Usually this runs from the end of June for 16 weeks. Farmers need ‘seed’ money, literally, to get their crops in the ground. Very few farmers can stretch their crop right through the winter. So money is much needed come Springtime. Besides providing share investors with their baskets, farmers, like Roots and Shoots Farm, will also sell their produce at the local farmers’ markets, at the farm and at city market stands. As a share investor, you share in the goodness but also in the risk. If things go bad in the fields, then your crisper will be lean. If you are making your safe buying choices at the farmers’ markets though, you will likely be paying more overall.
Here is a recent article by Lifehacker about Community Supported Agriculture if you need inspiration on why you should join.
What has Proprietor and Farm Manager, Robin Turner been up to?
This year, in addition to farming a larger crop, Robin Turner is extra busy with his role as President of the Ottawa Farmers’ Market at Lansdowne Park.
Robin also started the application process towards Organic certification through EcoCert Canada.
The farm’s city market stands are in Manotick and Westboro. Roots and Shoots Farm sells at the Ottawa Farmers’ Market and the Kanata Farmers’ Market. They also have a stand at the farm.
A full acre has been dedicated to potatoes, carrots and onions this year to share with the Ottawa Food Bank. This acre is looked after by the Food Bank’s staff and also their volunteers. They are the first farm to participate in the Community Harvest Program. Last year, the produce was carrots. Imagine one acre growing 25,000 pounds of food.
Robin’s Wednesday newsletter had us pumped for what was coming. With all the rain this spring, I wasn’t sure how this first week would go.
When I went for my pickup, I was thrilled to see that Danny, Expert Veggie Farmer, is back! He spent his winter working at a farm in England. At first I didn’t see the easily identifiable red pickup truck in the MEC parking lot. But the graffiti-ed white van in the usual spot seemed all Danny. I have to wonder if he had a hand in the purchase.
Being one of the first to pick up, the veggies were crisp and cool. All is well with the refrigeration units back at the farm.
It is a bit stressful trying to figure out what to do with all this good food. Especially when you want to have it all right away when it is the most fresh. The first newsletter came complete with cooking tips! Not a bad idea when some may unfamiliar with selections in this basket of bounty.
We are proud to be associated with Robin and the Roots and Shoots Farm team. We look forward to a wonderful season of great food.