Time to subscribe to Community Supported Agriculture
Several farms in the region are now offering a limited number of "shares" in a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model.
Typically, members join by paying a set fee for produce and other farm goods now, and receive a weekly supply of just-picked food as it ripens. The producers distribute once a week at a specific site.
Joining a CSA is a great way to help small, local farms survive financially, since they have many expenses this time of year and haven't really been paid since the end of the growing season.
You invest in them, and they reward you every week with healthy, beautiful, sustainably grown food. Here are a few examples:
Creeksong Farm offers a variety of produce, beef and eggs. June 7 is the first day for Tuesday pickups and continues for 20 weeks at the Agricultural Conference Center loading dock in Boone, between 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. Full shares cost $500, and you receive $25 worth of food each week. Half shares cost $300, and you receive $15 worth of food each week. The 50 percent deposit is due March 21, and the rest of the payment is due May 1. For more information, contact Jeff and Bettie Thomas at (336) 385-6302 or http://creeksongfarm.com/CreeksongFarm/CSA.html
Moretz's Mountain Orchard and Farms offers produce, jams, jellies, butters, herbs, ornamentals and free range poultry. The 20-week season begins the second week of June and costs $25 per week, or some may prefer a smaller amount for $15 per week. If you aren't going to be around the entire summer, joining for 10 weeks may work for you, with the same price options available. Contact Bill Moretz for more information at (828) 264-3424.
High Country CSA represents a group of growers and producers. They have been making deliveries of fresh, cold-hardy vegetables, cheese and baked goods once each month throughout the winter. For information on their summer CSA, e-mail (email@example.com)
North Fork Farm boxes of frozen beef, pork and chicken are available for five months, from April until August. Full share (10 deliveries of approximately 10 lbs/$50 twice per month) costs $500 plus 2 percent sales tax, amounting to $510. Half share (five deliveries of approximately 10 lbs/$50 once per month) costs $250 plus 2 percent sales tax, amounting to $255. North Fork Farm is committed to distributing quality beef, pork and chicken to CSA members. They promise to run their operation in an efficient and trustworthy manner. All meat is USDA inspected, vacuum packed, and raised without antibiotics or added hormones. Signup deadline is March 18, and the first delivery is planned for April. Specific dates, time and location of the delivery of CSA boxes are to be determined. For more information, contact Jimmy and Sheila Greene at http://northforkfarmbeef.com/CSA.aspx.
Yellow Wolf Farm, located in Harmony, has an online store and delivers meat to Boone. For more information, visit http://www.yellowwolffarm.com.
Trosly Farm in Elk Park offers on farm pick-up only May through October. For more information, visit http://www.troslyfarm.com.
Rose Mountain Farm delivers to the Ashe County Farmers' Market every Saturday for 20 weeks. The $800 membership fee now due. For more information, contact Ann Rose at (firstname.lastname@example.org)
While shopping at the farmers' market is an enjoyable week-end experience, some who live in the county prefer not to drive to Boone on Saturday mornings. Plus, a CSA pick-up only takes a couple of minutes. Definitely the best nourishment money can buy!
Free-range chicken has a different flavor and texture than what is available in most grocery stores. Here is a one dish meal that feeds a family of four twice.
Roasted Chicken with Herbs
1 free range chicken
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons white wine
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed rosemary
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon sage
6 small new potatoes, cut into fourths
6 carrots, cut into 1/2 inch segments
1 small onion, chopped
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, mix olive oil through sage. Place potatoes, carrots and onions in a bowl, and toss in 5 tablespoons liquid mixture. Place chicken in a roasting pan with a lid. Run your fingers between chicken skin and meat to loosen, then spoon in remaining herb mixture between the skin and meat. Place vegetables around the chicken and bake for 1 1/2 hours.
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 and is the local food coordinator for Watauga County. To contact Margie, e-mail email@example.com., or call (828) 264-3061.