Posts Tagged ‘CSA’

Monforte Cheese CSA

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

On her way to work last week Tanny heard an interview with Ruth Klahsen of Monforte Dairy on CBC Radio’s Metro Morning. Monforte Dairy is a local Ontario cheese producer of artisanal cheeses. 

She currently uses milk from other local farms, but Ruth is now raising funds to create her own dairy and using a Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) approach to do it. They are offering three different share plans (cleverly named “wedge”, “brick” and “wheel”) ranging from $200 to $1000 with the cheese doled out over the next 5 years. Two options are available to the brick and wheel plans: you can either receive vouchers to buy the cheese at markets or have it delivered. The wedge plan offers vouchers only.

We both thought this was a great idea and wanted to post about it. I’ll add Monforte to our list of suppliers shortly.

Oh - I also noticed that LocalEating.ca is on her blogroll! Yay - and “hi Ruth”.


Off the wagon?

Sunday, November 2nd, 2008

We’ve enjoyed our summer of local and organic farm fresh vegetables, thanks to our weekly csa share from Plan B.  It made eating locally so easy.  When it ended a couple of weeks ago, we decided to sign up for their fall/winter share as well.  While they have a “local only” option, we decided against it.  I was getting a bit tired eating apples and pears only for fruits, and could not fathom the idea of eating only apples, pears and root vegetables all winter.  I figured by participating in a csa, I’m still supporting the local growers, which is one of the main reasons we’re eating local.  When I picked up my first fall share, I was very excited to see bananas and oranges.  I haven’t had them since our trip to Hawaii.  They were so good (not as good as the fresh off the tree ones in Hawaii, but pretty good).  I hadn’t realized how much I missed my citrus fruits and bananas.  Ella and I thoroughly enjoyed our oranges this week.  

Does it mean that we’re off  “local eating”? No, not really.  We’re still supporting the local farms by buying a fall/winter share at a local CSA, and we’re still buying our meats from Fresh from the Farm.  Tonight, we had a very seasonal and mostly local meal of Lemon and Garlic Roast Chicken with Butternut Squash Apple Cranberry Bake.  We’re changing our rules for local eating in winter make it work for us, so that when Spring comes, we’re ready to embrace the next growing season. 


Aphids!

Saturday, August 23rd, 2008

Despite our slow start to the garden this year, everything has been growing really well. We’ve been eating fresh peas almost everyday for about a month now, the tomatoes are looking really promising, the carrots are just about ready, we’ve been harvesting the basil and even our one cornstalk has defied all odds and is producing one corn! Yesterday, while I was checking the tomatoes, I found aphids on the flowering branches!!! The aphids nearly destroyed our snowball trees earlier this year and they are not getting my heirloom tomatoes. Luckily there were only a few clusters of them and I began picking them off with my hands. Then I felt weird squishing the bugs and so I blasted them off with the garden hose. When I checked today, there were a few left on the branches still so I blasted them again with the water. Hopefully that’s enough to keep them off. Does anyone know of any other organic ways to keep them off my tomatoes?

Aside from that, our local eating has been going really well in the summer. We go to Fresh from the Farm to stock up on meats every few weeks and we have our CSA from Plan B . We only got a half share and we find it challenging to finish all the veggies each week. We’re not salad people and we just can’t keep up with all the lettuce we’re getting! We tried purple beans for the first time last week. Did you know that they’re green inside and that they turn green when cooked?They taste similar to green beans with a stronger bean taste.

Since we were away for a few weeks in July, we traded those weeks for fruit shares. I decided to get the fruit shares in August thinking of all the peaches and plums that are in season. Imagine my surprise and disappointment when I didn’t get any local fruits in the fruit share. There were bananas, oranges, grapes and plums, mostly from California. Apparently, it’s risky to grow peaches and plums organically in Southern Ontario, due the high risk of fungal disease in the fruit. Most farmers can’t afford a crop failure. Here’s an except from an email from Melanie ofPlan B Organics explaining the situation:

Why is there so little fruit being grown organically in Ontario?

While the climate in Southern Ontario is warm enough to grow tender fruit crops, the high humidity in summer leads to a high incidence and spreading of fungal diseases on tender fruit crops. To combat these fungal diseases on conventional farms tender fruit crops are sprayed with chemical fungicides as many as 15 times or more each season to keep these diseases at bay and ensure a crop for the farmer. These sprays are why we at Plan B feel the need to provide an organic alternative, but for that alternative to also be local is a bigger challenge. Most of the certified organic tender fruits you have been getting in your fruit share are grown in arid, semi-desert zones in California where disease pressures are much lower and it is more conducive to organic growing. The cooler and drier weather in more northern parts of the province where we get our organic apples from is also helps lower disease and pest pressures for the farmers there. We also feel that very few local growers are in the position to risk losing their crops as there is little or no financial security in making significant changes to the food system, unless people are guaranteeing their costs and a a living wage. Things most of us take for granted, but that’s not how it is for farmers in our society.

Why can’t we get more farmers in Ontario to grow their fruit organically?

We at Plan B Organic Farm began offering the fruit share with hopes that having a good market for local organic fruit would help convince some local growers to convert to organic production. So far we have only been able to find a few farmers who have taken this step, we hope to find more in the future. Our goal is to have everything we handle be local and organic, but this is a goal for us when it comes to fruit, not the reality of where organic agriculture is at right now in Ontario. We want to build this system for the future, if you know of anyone with a fruit farm that’s not being used or is retiring please let us know and we will contact them with info about organic production.

So, if you know of anyone interested in organic fruit production, drop them a line at info@planborganicfarms.ca.

p.s. We’ve been getting some local organic melons in our fruit shares in the past two weeks.  Yay for melons!

Sweet Corn Sweet Peas Carrot tops Black Cherry Tomatoes Blanche Beaute Tomatoes McMullen Tomatoes Red Zebra Tomatoes

 


Strawberry!

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

Today, Ella and I, with special guest star Josh, had our weekly stroll to pick up our CSA share.  In that green box, amongst all the green vegetables, sat our first (of many) pint of organic Ontario strawberries! Naturally we had to try them right away.  mmmm…they were so fresh, sweet and juicy. Ella had the most, she kept asking for more.  More than half the pint was gone by the time we got home. That prompted me to search for organic strawberry farms to visit  this weekend.  

Here’s what I’ve found so far:

The Pick Your Own website has a huge list of strawberry farms.  I’ll be adding them to our website, so that they’ll be included in our searchable database.  In the meantime, click here for more berry farms.

 

 


Our First CSA Share

Sunday, June 8th, 2008

Last Thursday we received our first CSA share of the season from Plan B Organics.  Ella and I walked over and picked up our veggies for the week.  It had started to rain but I was determined to walk there, besides, it was just spitting a bit and the pick up depot is only 5 minutes away. Luckily, we hadn’t bought the wagon yet (we have a new one for this week!) and I was able to shield Ella from the rain with the cover on the stroller. Ella didn’t mind the rain one bit. She stuck out her hand and was singing away. Yep, she was singing in the rain. In our half share this week: asparagus, rhubarb, baby spinach, basil, green onions, English cucumber, parsnip, and bok choy. 

So far, we’ve made steamed asparagus, baby spinach salad, pesto, and rhubarb loaf.  I need new ways to make asparagus, I’ve roasted them and steamed them so far.  I think I have a recipe for asparagus risotto somewhere.  Any easy & simple asparagus recipes out there?


We have a CSA.

Saturday, April 5th, 2008

In our continuing series of “We have…”, we have a CSA. 

After much research and deliberation, we’ve signed up for a summer half share at plan b Organics.  They deliver to a depot within walking distance from our house and I look forward to walking over with Ella in the wagon to pick up our weekly farm fresh produce in the summer.

Check back next month for our “We have not…” series.


Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) - Local Eating Made Simple

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

In my research to find local food resources I learned of a system called Community Shared Agriculture (CSA). CSA is a food distribution system where the growers are directly connected to the consumer. The consumer subscribes to a share of the year’s harvest (i.e. pays a flat fee up front) from a local farm in early spring, and in return, the shareholder receives a box of fresh produce weekly during the growing season. The share subscription provides the farmers with the capital to purchase seeds and farming supplies, and the shareholder gets an amazing supply of farm fresh produce weekly.

The size and variety of the shares depend on the farm you purchase from. Generally speaking, the farms offer at least a large and small size share. Some farms also offer a fruit box in addition to the veggie option. At Everdale Organic Farm , shareholders also have free access to the culinary herb garden, the flower garden for fresh cut flowers, and all the beans and peas you can pick when they are in season.

I think this is a fantastic idea - it really is what local eating is all about - supporting and connecting with the people who grow my food. I do have one reservation though - I LOVE going to farmers’ markets and checking out the different vendors each week. By signing up to be a shareholder, it eliminates the need to go to the markets, hmmm….I guess I can still go for the fish and local cheeses and all sorts of other goodies. On the other hand, I’ll get to try new veggies I normally wouldn’t buy and learn new recipes. Now the next question is: who should I sign up with? There’re quite a few close to the Toronto area. To minimize the environmental impact, I should pick one that is close to home.

Here are the CSAs I’ve found in Ontario so far; they are all in our database:

Everdale Organic Farm - near Guelph

Plan b Organic Farm - near Hamilton

rare Organic Farm - Cambridge

Simpler Thyme Organic Farm - Hamilton

Thurston Organic Farm - near Lindsay

Whole Circle Farm - Acton

Click here for an in-depth article on CSA from Green Living Ideas.

To find a CSA near you, go to our Find Local Food page and choose "CSA" as the supplier type.