What’s Fresh

CSAs

CSAs (community supported agriculture) are a form of direct farm marketing.  In Central Iowa, CSAs are a great way for a family to get a weekly supply of fresh, local fruits and vegetables.  Below is a list of BFBL member CSAs.

Interest in CSAs has spread rapidly duirng the last 25 years.  Today, Americans can choose among nearly 15,000 CSAs that range in size from as few as ten members to several hundred members.

Most CSAs provide around 20 weekly deliveries during the growing season with share prices averaging about $500, or $25 per week.

CSAs are based on the idea of “community.” Participants are often considered members of the farm.  They are not buying a particular volume of a particular crop, but rather a share of all of crops on the farm in a given season.  This often means members receive the abundance of a particularly good growing season and share in some of the risk of a particularly poor growing season.

CSAs often include weekly newsletters and recipes with deliveries.  Many farms will hold regular events at the farm to help connect members to “their” farm and farmer.

Some CSAs may allow members to work a certain number of hours during the year as part of their share price.

Boone

Nature Road Farm, Ames Owner: Randy Naeve 515-231-4495

Twin Girls Garden, Madrid Owner: Paula Olson 515-231-5900

Dallas

Raccoon Forks Farm, Redfield Owner: Laura Glanert 515-883-2022

Madison

Garden Destination, Van Meter Owner: Donna Wilterdink 515-993-4100

Steak’n’Eggs Farm, Winterset Owners: Bruce and Sarah Lamb 515-447-9822

Marion

Blue Gate Farm, Chariton Owners: Jill Beebout and Sean Skeehan 641-203-0758

Reichert’s Dairy Air, Knoxville Owner: Lois Reichert 641-218-4296

Polk

Grade A Gardens, Johnston Owners: Jordan Clasen and Thomas Burkhead 515-554-4306

The Homestead, Altoona Owners: Eric Armbrecht and Jason Jones 515-689-4796

Wabi Sabi Farm, Granger Owner: Ben Saunders 515-745-9951

Story

Crooked Pine Farm, Cambridge Greg & Christa Hartsook 515-460-5034 christahartsook@outlook.com

Surrounding Counties delivering to Des Moines Grinnell Heritage Farm, Grinnell Owners: Andrew and Melissa Dunham 641-236-4374

One Step at a Time Gardens, Kanawha Owner: Jan Libbey 515-851-1690 The Wallace Centers of IowaOrient Owner: Diane Weiland 515-243-7063

In partnership with Iowa Heartland Resource Conservation & Development, the Drake University Agricultural Law Center is establishing a new program to bring together CSAs and employers in the Greater Des Moines area. Click here to see a slideshow promoting CSAs to employees of participating organizations.

June Recipe: Asparagus on Pasta

By Kelsey Johnson

Spring has sprung and the tastes of summer are right around the corner. Until then, feast on green: green onions, asparagus, spring garlic, spinach, and don’t forget the entire world of cool season greens like cabbage, kale, arugula, salads, collards, turnip greens, and more. We’re also seeing the start of turnips and some great radishes. Herbs are coming on as well, especially mint.

While not a fruit, rhubarb is typically eaten as one. So enjoy it in it’s peak season!

Check with your farmer about high tunnel production. You’ll be surprised what central Iowa farmers can grow with a little heat or even just some passive solar technology in their high tunnels and greenhouses.

As you plant your own garden, don’t forget that BFBL farmers are growing an awesome variety of bedding plants.

Goat cheese is back in full swing as the nannies had their kids earlier this spring and are now milking at full capacity. Eggs, meat, cheese, and poultry are becoming abundant. Though not yet in production for 2013, items like honey have carried over.

Speaking of carrying over, Iowa wineries have great wines from last year’s grape harvest. Seek them out for sampling at area farmers markets or special events like the Iowa Lawn Party at Winefest, June 2.

Get ready for strawberry season in a few weeks.  Enjoy asparagus and rhubarb now while they are in peak season.  And always talk with your farmer to get the freshest local foods available.

Speaking of asparagus season, our featured June recipe is courtesy of the Turtle Farms archive, which is now managed by Wabi Sabi Farm. Make sure to grab some fresh asparagus from them and try this tasty dish! While you’re at it, fresh arugula is also available from Grade A Gardens and blue cheese can be purchased at Maytag Dairy Farms!

IMGP2706

Mark’s Asparagus on Pasta

Mark McAndrews

INGREDIENTS

    • Asparagus
    • Walnut Pieces
    • Arugula
    • Olive Oil
    • Blue Cheese
    • Penne Pasta

    Cut asparagus into 1″ pieces. Sauté in olive oil until just starting to brown on one side, about 5 minutes. Toss a handful of walnut pieces into the skillet and continue cooking for another 2 minutes. Turn off the heat, add arugula and blue cheese (the heat remaining in the pan will wilt the arugula and melt the cheese). Toss with cooked, drained penne pasta.

     

    These are all strong flavors that tend to compliment and compete with each other in this dish (which is why I give no amounts). The bitterness of the arugula and the funk of the blue cheese can dominate easily, so use a light hand with those two ingredients — adjust the amounts you use to fit your own tastes.