Buy a Utah CSA farm share for good eatin' all summer long
A decade ago, few Utahns had heard of Community Supported Agriculture programs, or CSAs.
But today, as the 2012 growing season gets under way, CSAs have taken root, giving busy consumers a way to buy fresh fruit and vegetables as well as eggs, dairy and meat directly from Utah farmers.
For those who want to join a CSA, sign-ups are under way. Just pay the fee, and in return you will receive a portion of the farm's produce during the growing season. Prices vary, but shares usually start at about $25 a week for one to two people.
A CSA gives farmers a regular cash flow, while consumers buy produce knowing exactly where their food comes from and how it's grown.
There are many reasons why consumers might sign up for a CSA. Some people don't have the land, or the inclination, to plant their own garden. Others use it to supplement what they grow in their own backyard, said Delite Primus, executive director of the Youth Garden Project in Moab, which has offered a CSA for four years.
"Many of our CSA members want to know what we provide so they can plant different vegetables," she said, adding that the "CSA also is a chance for us to educate people about what it really takes to grow organically."
Some local CSA farms are adding greenhouses or "high tunnels" made from metal and plastic to extend the growing season. With these structures, farmers are able to produce vegetables from the middle of May through the end of October, and in some cases, even year-round.
"That's becoming a trend for more and more farms," said Jack Wilbur, a community outreach specialist with the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food. "The more people you can serve close to year round, the more people who will join."
He pointed to Utah Farms, which launched earlier this year and is the state's first year-round crop-sharing network. It includes a group of 19 growers that take advantage of the state's diverse climate and topography to provide vegetables to CSA members all year long.
There also are several producers that offer poultry, pork, beef and lamb to consumers on a year-round basis.
Nationally, there are at least 4,000 CSAs across the country, according to LocalHarvest, an organic and local food website that keeps a database of small farms, farmers markets and other local food sources. In Utah, there are about 40. (See the list accompanying this story.)
One of the newest CSAs is La Nay Ferme, a one-acre farm in Provo, owned by Clinton Feldsted.
Over the past 10 months, Feldsted leased the land, hired farm manager Barbara Fuller and worked with numerous consultants to get the farm ready for production. They tested, tilled and added nutrients to the soil; built sturdy high-tunnel greenhouses made of galvanized steel and thick plastic; and planted thousands of seeds and seedlings.
Lettuces, arugula, chard, chives, spinach, peas, onion, garlic, leeks, carrots, turnips and strawberries are all flourishing at the farm, located next to a cemetery in the Utah County foothills. Nearly 60 volunteers, who get paid in produce, have helped Fuller prepare for the first crops.
Next week, the La Nay Ferme will deliver its first basket of produce to the members of its CSA program. Feldsted sees it as beginning of a new era of nutritious eating.
"I know that food is phenomenal when it's real," said Felsted, who named the farm after his grandfather, who was named after La Nay, a French general and political leader in Napoleon's army. Ferme means "farm" in French.
Besides supplying CSA members with produce, La Nay Ferme will also sell food to Utah County restaurants.
The 39-year-old Feldstead, owner of Agemini, a successful software solutions company in Provo, has eaten in top restaurants around the world. "I've learned that food in America is really bad," he said. With the farm, "I can at least have the food that I want to eat and supply restaurants the food I love."
Gurus, Pantrucas and the Heirloom Restaurant Group which includes Communal, Pizzeria 712 and Mountain West Burrito will be serving produce from the farm.
And as the farm becomes profitable, Feldstead also hopes it will fund a foundation to offers classes and seminars in cooking, gardening and healthy living.
Community Supported Agriculture
Appenzell Farm • 1146 E. 4400 North, Hyde Park; 435-535-1121 or appenzellfarm.com
Backyard Urban Garden (B.U.G.) Farms • 1411 S. Utah St., Salt Lake City; 801-718-7478 or backyardurbangardens.com
Bell Organic Gardens • 975 Canyon Breeze Lane, Draper; 801-571-7288 or bellorganic.com
Black Island Farms • 3178 S. 3000 West, Syracuse; 801-774-6293 or blackislandfarms.com
Blue Spring Farm • 10855 W. 12800 North, Tremonton; 435-279-0563
Borski Farms • 251 W. 100 South, Kaysville; 801-941-9620 or borskifarms.org
Bryan Palmer CSA • P.O. Box 280, Wellsville; csautah.org
Christiansen's Family Farm • 175 E. Sharp Road, Vernon; 435-839-3482 or christiansenfarm.com (pork, beef, chicken)
Copper Moose Farm • Park City; 435-604-0497 or coppermoosefarm.com
Creekside Lane Organics • 3373 S. Creekside Lane, Moab; 435-259-5425 or creeksidelaneorganics.com
Cricket Song Farm • 5221 N. 1600 West, Beryl; 435-630-6587
Delectation of Tomatoes • 3170 W. Lehman Ave., West Valley City; 801-651-5953 or gianttomatoseeds.com
East Farms • 4910 W. Canvasback Lane, West Point; 801-525-2219 or eastfarmscsa.com
Heartland Farms • P.O. Box 1562, Washington; 435-619-4250
Heritage Valley Poultry • 12025 N. 10800 West, Tremonton; 435-770-2365 or csautah.org. (chicken)
Jacob's Cove Heritage Farms • 1526 S. Geneva Road, Orem; 888-880-8039 or jacobscove.net
Johnson Family Farms • Logan; 435-754-5638
Joseph's Naturally Grown Farm-Garden • P.O. Box 538, Paradise; 435-237-9112 or garden.lofthouse.com
La Nay Ferme • 4800 N. East Lawn Drive, Provo; lanayferme.com
Lau Family Farm • P.O. Box 337, Soda Springs, Idaho; 208-547-3180 or laufamilyfarm.com (beef and lamb)
Liberty Heights Fresh • 1290 S. 1100 East, Salt Lake City; 801-583-7374 or libertyheightsfresh.com
Little America Organic Orchard • 748 N. 175 East, New Harmony; 435-867-4532 (apples)
Little Weber Farms • 5521 S. 6300 West, Hooper; 801-686-4729 or littleweberfarms.com
Live and Thrive • 3000 E. 5000 South, Holladay; 801-278-5313 or liveandthrive.com
Peacefield Farm • 4771 W. 2100 North, Cedar City; 801-865-7540 or peacefieldfarm.net
Petersen Family Farm • 11887 S. 4000 West, Riverton; petersenfamilyfarm.com
Ranui Gardens • 1459 Hoytsville Road, Dog Holler; ranui.com
Red Acre Farm • 2322 W. 4375 North; Cedar City; 435-865-6792 or redacrefarmcsa.org
Roberts Ranch and Gardens • 334 E. Southfield Road, Spanish Fork; 801-836-0232 or robertsranch.org
Sadee's Pride • West Valley City; 801-554-0553
Sandhill Farms • Eden; 801-866-3620 or sandhillfarms.org
Sun River Farms • 141 S. 6000 West, Mendon; 435-757-7507
Three Squares Produce • 623 E. Coatsville Ave., Salt Lake City; 801-243-2801 or 3squaresproduce.com
Tagge's Famous Fruit • 3431 S. Hwy 89, Perry; taggesfamousfruit.com
Tveit Gardens • 2674 S. 900 West, Nibley; 435-770-8714
USU Student Organic Farm • 800 E. 1800 North, North Logan; 435-797-3192
Utah Farms • utahfarmscsa.com
Youth Garden Project • 530 S. 400 East, Moab; 435-259-2326 or youthgardenproject.org
Zoe's Garden • 1700 Fort Lane, Layton; 801-721-8238 or zoegarden.com