Exploring Helsing Junction Farm with owners Sue Ujcic and Anne Salafsky equaled vegetable ecstasy for me. Vegetables thrill me. I’m crazy about their exquisite tastes, powerful nutritional value and boundless variety. Sue and Anne grow acres of organic produce in their carefully tended soil.
Throughout the growing season (beginning in June), Helsing Junction Farm will be packing up weekly boxes of luscious goodies for their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) members. Are you signed up? Sue and Anne are celebrating their 26th season as business partners, and their bounty can be part of your improved health and well-being.
The 80 acres of Helsing Junction are set in rural Rochester. The organic vegetable farm is gearing up for over 1200 CSA’s this year. Although they do not maintain a stall at any of the regional Farmers Markets, the farm does open an on-site stand. Their attention is on creating weekly produce boxes filled with, as Anne says, “the cream of the crop.”
Focusing on CSA’s allows for better planning, less waste and a more streamlined production. Shares include many heirloom varieties, ones not usually found at the grocery store. They have more varied flavors, as they are grown for taste, not because they travel well.
Are you new to the idea of a weekly supply of fresh vegetables? Check out Helsing Junction’s multiple options, which range from snack sized to large. One box contains juicing produce and another is for Paleo-style eaters. The farm coordinates with other nearby growers giving you the opportunity to add yogurt, cheese, chicken, kraut or fruit to your CSA box. Boxes include weekly recipes to keep you inspired.
The great news is that these vegetables already have taste, so you don’t need to spend a lot of time getting them ready for your plate. Purely local and absolutely fresh food really tastes better. More good news – there are multiple delivery locations and it is even possible to have it dropped off at your home.
Anne and Sue love both food and farm. Conversations often revolve around what was for dinner last night. What is Sue’s favorite part of farming? She smiles and exclaims, “The food!” She values the time she has spent creating a deep and abiding relationship to the place with its evolving weather cycles, bugs and soil.
Anne chimes in with her favorite, “The soil. It’s alive and magical.” Years ago, these
farmers realized the health of the soil was critical to the nutrient density of the produce. To that end, they rotate crops, use cover crops and add organic matter as necessary. They value being part of contributing healthy food to the community.
Winter on the farm is the lull before the high gear of summer, but something is always happening. It’s a time for planning, ordering and cleaning up the green houses. One winter they started to grow popcorn, Sue’s favorite snack (and mine, too). The multi-colored miniature cobs are available for your popping pleasure at both of the Olympia Food Co-Ops, and Ralph’s and Bayview Thriftway . You will also find their dried beans, which are dried but much fresher than the ones in bags at the grocery store. They’ll cook in half the time and, according to farm manager Dan Finklestein, they’ll also be quite creamy.
You aren’t required to be as vegetable-crazed as I am to appreciate the beauty and quality of the food grown at Helsing Junction Farm. You do need to taste it, though. Great care is taken with the richness of the soil so that the plants assimilate the minerals, which they, in turn, give to you. We are amazingly fortunate to live in an area that grows a diverse bounty from spring to late fall.
This is healthy food grown near you and available in-season. When you enjoy a CSA, you are supporting the farm and the people and families who work there. The long-term benefits of eating well must be measured against the cost of future diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and many other maladies that can result from a poor diet.
Get the latest news and admire Sue’s gorgeous photos on the farm’s Facebook page. You can find Helsing Junction Farm on the Bountiful Byway, the back roads of Thurston County, where finding treasures is fun for any adventurer. The farm is even available to rent for special occasions such as a wedding. My little vegetables are just seedlings now, but I can taste the joy already.
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