Good gardening: CSA

Hello everyone John Fischer, Lane County Extension Master Gardener, here with Good Gardening from KLCC.

It will look like a free ad, but it isn’t. My daughter and son-in-law have a small farm that sells vegetables at the farmers market and supplies 50 boxes of produce per week to their CSA customers – in LaGrande, Oregon.

The CSA Weekly Box, or Community Supported Agriculture, provides their local farms small and large, with a predictable income and their customers with fresh vegetables from the garden. When my kids at Evergreen Family Farm are picking produce – sometimes with my help – they land on people’s tables that night; fresh backyard garden food, for those who can’t or don’t want to have a garden.

There are dozens of local ASC farms in our area. Find some links below. It’s a good time of year to sign up for a CSA box so farmers know what and how much to plant. They have to buy seeds and plant seedlings long before the first vegetables come out.

But fresh produce and local food production are only part of the benefits of signing up for a CSA box.

Getting a box of weekly produce will also open your eyes – and mouth – to new culinary possibilities and help you eat in season. When the Bok Choy goes bonkers, you’ll have two and learn the joys of bok choy soup. When carrots go crazy, you’ll learn how to include them in more than just a veggie dipping dish.

Most CSA farms have greenhouses – I helped build several – so you’ll get tomatoes sooner – and lettuce later, and you’ll get things you might not select at the farmer’s market or at the supermarket.

You will have everything man, you will have everything. You will get arugula, bok choy, chicory and dicon, eggplant, chickpeas and icebergs, habaneros, jalapenos, kale and melons. Napa cabbage, okra, potatoes, rutabega. You’re gonna eat it all, man.

I’m John Fischer from KLCC’s Good Gardening.

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Terri S. Tomasini