February in Cherokee is “Gaga lu nee” which means “bony or hungry month.” It often feels that way to me. Of course I am grateful for the abundant choices of fruits and vegetables throughout the winter months, thanks to modern transportation. By February however, I am hungry for fresh organic fruits and vegetables grown right here, not 1500 or more miles away. Do I garden? No, I hire a farmer.
For years I have belonged to a CSA, or community supported agriculture organization. As a CSA member, I pay a farmer in advance for a share of the season’s production. In return, I get a box of freshly picked, locally grown, organic produce every week.
There are other important advantages to being a CSA member. One, you have a relationship with the farmer who grows your food. Most CSA farmers host a farm tour some time during the season and are happy for you to learn about and see how your food is grown. Two, you are supporting sustainable, ecologically sound farming methods that are safe for us, the farmers and the planet. Three, you are supporting a local often family run operation, enhancing our community. Four, the food is picked ripe, when it is tastiest and most nutritious.
It’s important to find out what your farmer grows. Some have specialties. I belong to the CSA at the Kansas City Community Farm because Katherine Kelly and Dan Dermitzel offer the most amazing greens. Tomato lovers enjoy Dan and Denice May’s Organic Way CSA. You’ve seen Dan’s heirloom tomatoes at finer restaurants in town.
Another factor to consider is delivery. Most arrange a location where all members go to pick up their weekly share. So choose a CSA that delivers near you. A few offer home delivery.
The cost varies depending on the duration of the season and the size of the share. Some CSA’s offer partial shares perfect for two to three persons. Last year, one CSA charged $14 per week with a one time $25 membership fee, another charged $330 for the season.
Now is the time to join a CSA. I joined what I think was the first CSA in the area back in the 1980’s. The 2005 Kansas City Food Circle Directory lists twelve. The pick-up or delivery location is listed in parentheses with the phone number below.
Fair Share Farm (Crossroads District Market) 816-320-3763
Golden Ridge Farm (Merriam Farmers Market) 913-898-6201
Homestead Farms (Olathe) 913-856-7412
JJ Farms (Raytown) 816-356-3938
Kansas City Community Farm (Kansas City, KS/Home Delivery) 913-515-2426
The Organic Way (Waldo) 417-944-2818
Peacock Farms (Crossroads District Market/City Market) 660-584-2526
Pickings and Pumpkins (Spring Hill/Home Delivery to South Metro Johnson County) 913-592-5438
Rolling Prairie Farmers Alliance (Franklin Store/Johnson County Community College/Lawrence Community Mercantile) 913-727-6121
Share Life Farms (Blue Springs Downtown Market) 660-886-3936
Weston Red Barn Farm (Weston) 816-386-5437
She teaches whole foods nutrition and holistic living online. Visit University Of Masters [http://www.universityofmasters.com/amember/go.php?r=278&l=uggc%3A%2F%2Fjjj.havirefvglbsznfgref.pbz] for information about her courses. Please enter “DRKLUG” in the referral box when you enroll.
She authors the monthly column “The Doctor Cooks” for the Kansas City Wellness Magazine. The Doctors Cooks Weblog is now online with past articles, menus, recipes, tips and other resources. Please subscribe!