Before we dive into what’s new, let’s talk about what exactly a Farm Share is! Based on the traditional CSA model, our Farm Share is a program where we aggregate produce from many small farmers, compile weekly veggie boxes in our warehouse, and then members pick up their share every week for 18-weeks at convenient drop-sites around the Twin Cities. Because we’re a food hub and not a farm, we source produce from about 20 different local growers as opposed to just one farm, giving us the ability to offer an amazing variety of produce throughout the season, and mitigating the risk to the customer should crops get damaged by hail, wind, pests, or blight at any one farm. With both models, farmers are able to rely on consistent income for the crops they grow through members support, and both models allow farmers to spend more of their valuable time working in the fields instead of selling directly through multiple farmer’s markets or smaller wholesale outlets like to chefs and restaurants during the growing season.
So what’s new this year? A couple of things! This year instead of a full size and half size option, we’re rolling our new one size share! It’s closer to what was a half share in the past but it will have larger quantities of certain items that will make it easier for you to cook all the recipes you want at home without having to shop for more. Another new offering this year is the peak season fruit share add-on. Despite the colder weather and shorter growing season, Minnesota and Wisconsin fruit farmers have a beautiful selection of specialty fruits available in late July and early August, like fresh berries, currants, even stone fruits! Since large quantities are hard to come by, a limited number of our members can opt-in for the four-week fruit share, so get it now while it’s still available! Don’t forget to check out our other add-ons too — like bread, eggs, honey, and our Maker Medley where you’ll get a surprise item (like kimchi, jam, tea and more!) from one of the makers in our shared kitchen every other week.
For 2019, our Farm Share team is working to expand the group of farmers we work with. Our Grower Support Specialist, David Van Eeckhout, is in the process of meeting with new farmers now and plans to attend the Emerging Farmers conference over at the U later this month. Our Farm Share Manager, Anna Richardson, is hard at work developing contracts with our farmers, helping them to plan which crops to grow for us and when to deliver them. Though it’s deep into winter and the growing season feels far away, our Farm Share team is hard at work but we’re all looking ahead to the spring and anticipating all of the vegetables that will be in our 2019 Farm Share boxes!
The Farm Share was our first program, starting before we even opened our doors just over 3 years ago, and since then we’ve grown our program from 150 to 500 boxes per week, from 10 to nearly 40 drop-off locations around the cities, and we went from working with 5 to just over 20 farms last season. We’re so grateful to have a supportive local food community near our humble acre in Falcon Heights, and this year we hope you’ll join us!
Learn more about our Farm Share program and to sign up click here.