Local Community Supported Agriculture
Produce growing in the field at Los Osos Valley Organic Farm. Photo by Ruth Ann Angus
There is nothing fresher than produce just picked and placed on your table, and that is the premise that community supported agriculture lives by. We are fortunate on the Central Coast to have a number of farmers who support and contribute to offering fresh produce through a CSA or at farmers’ markets.
A local organic farm that offers a CSA is Los Osos Valley Organic Farm. The farm is located on the same site as the Polo Grounds on Clark Valley Road. Here Jim Terrick grows several varieties of lettuce, such as Boston green, romaine, and green leaf along with other vegetables like bok choy, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, carrots, and broccoli. He also grows a couple of varieties of strawberries.
Terrick, who comes from a farming family, was interested only in growing organically thanks to watching family members impacted adversely by certain chemicals used on their farms.
“I believe growing organically is a more responsible way to grow produce and fruit,” he said, “People depend on me for good and helpful products.”
Terrick inherited the CSA customers that the former owner had and has added new customers. Some community supported agriculture works with customers fronting the money for a full season’s worth of produce. This gives the farmer the operating money necessary to purchase seeds, plants, cover crops, fertilizer, and such. “That’s the ideal way,” said Terrick, “but most of my customers are on a month to month purchase plan.”
Los Osos Valley Organic Farm CSA begins in spring and continues until Thanksgiving weekend. Thursday is the day that fresh vegetables and fruit are packed for CSA members and are available for pick up or delivery. (Home deliveries cost an additional $5 per week.) It is $25 for a weekly bag, or $27 for every other week bag. Pick up locations are available directly at the farm or in Cayucos, Los Osos, Morro Bay and SLO. Customers who pay for the year in advance will receive a 10% discount.
Talley Farm’s Fresh Harvest business in Arroyo Grande runs a CSA offering several types of produce boxes. Oliver Talley began farming in the area 1948 and now the farm is into its fourth generation of Talley family members managing the farm. Their program grows over 40 different items on 50 acres of certified organic soil. They also have acreage planted in the Edna and Huasna valleys. Talley supports other farms that grow produce that they don’t grow such as blueberries, apples, peaches, strawberries, kiwi, and oranges.
Sustainable farming methods are used throughout the Talley program involving managing water, maintaining a healthy soil, minimizing air, water, and climate pollution, and promoting diversity.
Diversity is what has been lost in commercial farming throughout the world today. Thus, these small organic farms employ a planting method emphasizing diversity by placing different crops in rows next to each other.
Talley’s Fresh Harvest CSA program offers a pick of a family size Original Box containing nine to 12 fruits and vegetables or their smaller Junior Box with five to eight fruits and vegetables. Each comes with a seasonal mix of vegetables and fresh fruits. They have 70 pick-up locations or can deliver to your home or office and you can pick your own schedule of weekly, every other week, or monthly. Costs are $30 for Original Box and $25 for Junior for pick-up and for home delivery $40 for Original Box and $35 for Junior. They also ship to the western states for $45 for original and $38 for Junior.
SLO Veg is another family owned local CSA supplier that offers produce and fruit from many local farms. They put together a harvest box each week with a variety of different produce and deliver to your home as well as offering pick-up locations at gyms, schools, and coffee shops. The harvest boxes come in different sizes with different options so you can obtain the harvest that is perfect for you. SLO Veg has no long-term commitment or contracts to sign and delivery can be put on hold with a minimum of 72 business hours. Costs for SLO Veg are Itty Bitty box $31, Small $36, Medium $41, and Large $46.
Owner Rachael Hill and Director of Sales Bartimaeus Alan are committed to serving the community, local economy and supporting the environment. They want people to know and understand the entire process from seed to table; how the plant was grown, tended, harvested, and how it got to our plates. “We believe that by understanding this process, we can make better food choices that are healthy for ourselves and for the earth,” Hill said, “We urge the community to make the food/earth connection.”
Contact Los Osos Valley Organic Farm at www.lovorganicfarm.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 805-242-6789.
Contact Talley Farms at www.talley farms fresh harvest.com.
Contact SLO Veg at www.sloveg.com.