Upcoming workshop focuses on CSA

Article Published: Dec. 8, 2011 | Modified: Dec. 8, 2011

Every year, additional local food producers are offering CSA memberships as a way to distribute goods to consumers wanting to add high quality, sustainably produced food to their diet.

According to Hillary Wilson of High Country CSA, food orders through their multi-farm winter CSA have increased this year. She said, “In order to meet demand and to provide fair, local and organic food to folks in the High Country on a more consistent basis, we have regular orders and pickups every two weeks this winter. We are hoping that consumer demand will keep up with that schedule and have been happily meeting at the ag conference center every other week since mid-November.”

Last winter, the CSA only delivered monthly.

Typically, community members join by paying a set fee for produce and other farm goods in early spring, and receive a weekly supply of just-picked food as it ripens. The producers distribute once a week at a specific site. The High Country winter CSA has no minimum order or membership requirement.

In an effort to continue the growth of this and similar distribution models, Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP) and N.C. Cooperative Extension are offering a workshop for food producers. Attendees will learn about the logistics of setting up a CSA with a panel of growers/producers who have implemented the model. Best practices for planning, marketing, and recordkeeping will be covered.

Plans are being made to offer a CSA fair in the spring. This will be a time for locals to gather information about the various CSAs that they may join. More info to come.

CSA workshop for grower details

Cost: $15, includes lunch
Date and time: Thursday, Dec. 15, from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Location: Agricultural Conference Center, 252 Poplar Grove Road, Boone
To register: (828) 264-3061
Web: wataugaces.blogspot.com/2011/11/121511-csa-workshop-panel-at-watauga.html

For more details about High Country CSA winter program, visit http://www.highcountrycsa.org. Next delivery is Dec. 17 at the agricultural conference center in Boone. They accept EBT, formerly known as food stamps.
This soup recipe is delicious with CSA greens and carrots. It’s very hearty and inexpensive to make. Vegan recipe if you leave off the Parmesan cheese.

Lentil Vegetable Soup

1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
1 small chopped onion
2 stalks chopped celery
3 medium or 5 small chopped carrots
2 minced garlic cloves
6 cups chopped cooking greens (spinach, chard, kale, or a mixture)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons brown mustard
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt (optional)
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup dark green or other lentils
6 cups water
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Place olive oil in soup pot over medium heat and add onions, celery, carrots and garlic and bay leaves. Sauté for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix in tomato paste and salt. Add water and lentils and turn heat to high. Bring to a boil and then take to a simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in the greens, vinegar, mustard and pepper and simmer for 15 minutes. Discard bay leaves and ladle into soup bowls. Top with cheese. Serves six.

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. To contact Margie, email margie_mansure@ncsu.edu or call (828) 264-3061

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