By Mary Ellen Psaltis
Are you looking for a sure-fire investment that is guaranteed to give great results?! It’s not a scam. You’ll keep your dollars local, you’ll be doing yourself and your family a true favor, AND it improves your health. Sound too good to be true? You can accomplish all these things by getting your own Farm Share.
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), also called a Farm Share, allows non-farmers (like me) to get a little piece of a farm. I pay now for receiving a bag of fresh produce through the growing season, usually late spring through early fall. This gives the farmer upfront money to buy seeds and other necessities to get the soil planted. I do share a little risk – as I don’t have control over the whims of the weather – but I will get a bag of something each week. Many weeks it literally brims over the top – other times it may be a little less full. But it’s always local, newly picked and delicious.
Thurston County is fortunate to have numerous farms that offer CSA’s. They vary by size and content, but the intent is the same. The bulk of your share is vegetables, but there could be fruit, flowers, eggs, mushrooms, meat or other farm products.Typically you can add options onto your regular order.
You will need to decide which arrangement suits your needs the best. Pick-up locations include the Olympia Farmers Market, the farm itself and other predetermined sites.
I used to wonder how could we eat a bag of produce in just one week. Not any more. Now there are only two of us at home, but our menus are plant based. The half-share I pick up on Thursday is gone before the weekend is over. Oh well, that just gives me a reason to go back to the market for more healthful treasures.
Here are ten reasons to become part of Community Supported Agriculture.
1. Reap the benefits of your own garden with no watering or backbreaking weed picking.
2. Make new friends with vegetables like rainbow chard.
3. Get past the frenzy about eating greens, and finally understand what the fuss is all about. Make fabulous green smoothies every morning.
4. Improve your blood panel – that means lower cholesterol, higher HDL and lower LDL’s. This happens as you increase vegetable intake and lessen the amount of animal products.
5. Meet local farmers and other CSA supporters who thrive on a plant-based menu of local produce.
6. Shrink your carbon footprint. Your farmers will be treating their soils with tender, loving care minus harmful chemicals and drive fewer miles to get the goods into your hands.
7. It’s fun. Pay for your share early in the season and it will seem like your weekly bags are free!
8. Read the weather with new interest. After all, your plants are depending on it.
9. Save time. Someone else kindly picked what’s at the height of the season and put it in a bag with your name on it.
10. Your mother will be thrilled. Now you really are eating all your vegetables.
Here are a few contacts to purchase a Farm Share. In all cases, call for directions and availability.
Contact – Susan Ujcic at 360-273-2033 or firstname.lastname@example.org
18 weeks, mid-June through mid-October
Extensive pick-up options throughout Thurston County
Many share option sizes including flowers, mushrooms and certified organic add-on share options: fruit, bulk, kraut, poultry, and extra flowers. The farm also offers Paleo, juice, bulk, canning and storage shares.
Contact – Dean Pigman at 360-491-3276 or email@example.com
Pick up at the farm (Olympia) or Olympia Farmers Market
22 weeks, half and full shares available certified organic, salmon-safe fruit, pumpkins, and vegetables.
Learn more about Pigman’s by visiting their website.
Contact – Colin Barricklow and Genine Bradwin at (360) 352-3590 or kirsopfarm@gmail.
Pick-up location at the farm (Tumwater), Olympia Farmers Market, Tumwater Farmers Market, or three other Olympia locations
Providing certified organic vegetables with pastured poultry, flowers, grains, and mushrooms also available.
Learn how Kirsop Farm got it start by clicking here.
Garden-Raised Bounty (GruB)
Contact – (360) 753-5522 or firstname.lastname@example.org
GRuB offers a CSA and a Farm Stand. GRuB empowers and educates youth and community members through the production of sustainably-grown vegetables, berries, flowers, and herbs. The farm hosts an on-site market stand (Wednesdays) and CSA (Fridays) June through October. Farm field trips and internships available.
Read how GRuB partners with Olympia High School in this article.
Contact – (360) 867-6160 or email@example.com
CSA, Farm Stand, Special Order – The farm stand is open May through October at The Evergreen State College. The CSA is an 18-week program starting in July. We are an educational farm offering Farm Tours.
Contact – Jennifer Belknap & Jim McGinn at (360) 273-5368 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Pick-up locations – farm (Rochester), East Olympia, West Olympia, Tumwater, NRB Building, Olympia Local Foods, and Olympia Farmers Market
Certified Organic since 1994 growing 100+ varieties of vegetables, herbs, strawberries, and veggie starts. CSA runs mid-June through October. Bulk quantities of many crops for canning, freezing, & storage, including pickling cucumbers.
Contact – Joseph Gabiou, Asha McElfresh at (360) 273-7597 or email@example.com
Pick-up locations – farm (Rochester) or four Olympia locations
The farming collective, based in Rochester, grows an incredible variety of heirloom, open-pollinated and specialty vegetables, and culinary herbs. The CSA program offers certified organic seasonal vegetables, herbs, fruits, and pasture-raised whole chickens from June through November.
Contact – Patricia Meyer at (360) 273-6786 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Organic farmers in Tenino for 34 years and sell at numerous farmers markets from Olympia to Seattle. We sell probably 100 different kinds of greens and vegetables. Please call for appointments and driving directions.
Contact – Julie Puhich at (360) 866-9527
CSA members receive a weekly box of fresh vegetables and herbs, mid-May to mid-November. Small share, full share and extended season options available.
Contact – Heidi & Mike Peroni at 360-245-3796 or email@example.com
5 pick-up sites in Olympia
20 weeks, mid-June to mid-October. Seven monthly deliveries in winter organic, salmon-safe (a certification to protect water for salmon) vegetables, fruit, flowers, honey.
Contact – Kim Hulse at 253-376-8604 or firstname.lastname@example.org
25 weeks certified organic, salmon-safe.
Eat Well – Be Well