Local food program makes farm fresh affordable

By Margie Mansure (reporter@mountaintimes.com)

Article Published: May. 16, 2013 | Modified: May. 16, 2013
Local food program makes farm fresh affordable

Garlic scapes are one of the first produce items of the season.
Photo courtesy of Kevin Lee Jacobs, www.agardenforthehouse.com

Last growing season, families that might have chosen canned vegetables due to budgetary concerns didn’t have to.

In 2012, 35 families were able to afford locally grown vegetables weekly, with assistance from a cost-share program through High Country CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).

Funding to subsidize the cost of such high-quality produce came from grants and donations from other members.

With the grant stream drying up in 2013, tax-deductible donation opportunities are available for anyone interested in supporting local farms and providing access to nutrient-rich food for the needy.

Coordinator Elliott Rhodes said that the project only has enough funds this year for 12 families.

“Many people are asking for a cost-share, but we have already reached our current funding capacity of 12 families,” Rhodes said. “It’s clear how many community members want to feed their families fresh organic food and want to support the local economy but find it difficult to do so, because they’re having trouble making ends meet. Raising funds to expand this project will help both farmers and people in need.”

In order to use the Internet and social media to help get the word out about the fundraising effort, they have launched an online Indiegogo campaign ( http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/high-country-csa-cost-share) with a video and a simple, secure method for electronic donations, as well as perks for donors at different levels.

High Country CSA organizes farmers to pool their food and organizes community members to pool their spending power to give the farmers a guaranteed, stable market. Members pay for their food for the season up front and receive nutritious, high-quality produce and locally produced items weekly from June through October for $300 to $600, depending on the quantity they sign up for.

Members of the cost share program receive $200 off of their chosen program. For more information, visit http://highcountrycsa.org/cost-share.

If you take into consideration the cost of health care for diet-related health problems, a healthy diet is much less expensive in the long run. Quite a few uninsured Community Care Clinic clients are hoping to participate in this cost-share program, which would truly benefit them.

Rhodes provided this recipe for garlic scapes, one of the first produce items of the season. This pesto is great as a seasoning for salmon and chicken, spread on bread and served as a dip.

Garlic Scape Pesto

Ingredients for about two cups:

9-10 garlic scapes
1/2 cup slivered almonds or walnuts
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Rinse scapes in cold water, then roughly chop into half-inch pieces. Pour scapes and nuts into the bowl of your food processor. Blend for 30 seconds or until a fairly smooth texture is achieved. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula. With the machine running, slowly add olive oil, and process until thoroughly incorporated, about 15 seconds. Then add the Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, and blend for another five seconds.

Although this pesto is good freshly made, it is even better when refrigerated for several hours or overnight. Before chilling, place the pesto in a glass bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap.
Garlic scapes are available only from June through mid-July, so you might want to buy lots of them and make several batches of pesto. These you can freeze in airtight containers for up three months.

Recipe courtesy of Kevin Lee Jacobs, http://www.agardenforthehouse.com.

Margie Mansure, M.S., R.D. is a registered dietitian/nutritionist and extension agent with N.C. Cooperative Extension. She offers personalized classes to improve the health of citizens in Watauga County through worksites, schools and community groups. For more information, email margie_mansure@ncsu.edu or call (828) 264-3061.

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