Week of August 31, 2009
Dear CSA Members,
This is the final day of August and one would be hard put to say this has been a typical summer month. As I sit here at the computer this morning the temperature outside is 46 degrees. Brrrr…. Fifty eight is the average minimum temperature on this date. We have had over five inches of rain for the month and it sure has made the crops flourish. My friend Laura in eastern Iowa had over eight inches last week when we had over two. That kind of rain we don’t need!
On Thursday last week Rolling Acres Farm had the opportunity to participate in an unusual and interesting event. Kathy Henningsen, the Wellness Coordinator for the Atlantic School System and Mary Olnes, Cass County Wellness Director received a small grant from the Iowa Farm to School Council to hold a farmer’s market for the Schuler Elementary students. What an exciting hour it was in the gym! Students were give vouchers to purchase $5.00 worth of produce from ten area vendors. Students entered the gym, received some popcorn and ice cream and then struck out to see what the local producers had to offer.
LaVon, Emily and I spent Wednesday afternoon preparing what we took on Thursday. In trying to think about what would attract a grade school student to our table, we came up with the idea of making salsa kits. We put several small tomatoes, a banana pepper, garlic, an onion and a sprig of parsley in a zip lock bag and Kent printed out recipe cards. We also offered raspberries in Dixie cups, carrots, and banana and bell peppers.
Would you believe we sold out of the salsa kits and the raspberries and had very few carrots and peppers left?! Most vendors sold out of their produce and everyone was quite pleased with the results. The purpose of this event was to bring kids in touch with produce that is grown locally. There is a hope that local producers will be able to sell their crops to the school. Farm to School is a national movement to increase the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables into the school cafeteria. Building awareness about the importance of fruits and vegetables in our diets is one way to counteract the rise in obesity and the onset of diabetes. National statistics are indicating that adult diseases are beginning to show up in our youth.
As a part of this CSA, you members are a part of a national movement to bring more local and fresh produce, meat and dairy into daily life. I have seen a statistic that shows Iowa is around 45th or 48th in the nation with our intake of fruits and vegetables. That clearly is not a statistic we can be proud of. Hopefully with the growth of farmer’s markets, CSAs and produce into local institutions, that statistic can head in a positive direction.
Emily Krengle, a CSA member and the Dietician at the Cass County Memorial Hospital, is doing her part to purchase fresh, local meat and produce. For several years now Emily has been buying beef and I believe pork from local farmers. She also purchases potatoes, broccoli, melons, cabbage and raspberries. Thanks to Emily for her part in keeping our money local.
Until next week……