LocalHarvest Newsletter, June 22, 2010

Photo by: Greenwood Farms

Welcome back to the LocalHarvest newsletter.

In April we published an article about Grant Family Farms, one of the biggest CSAs in the country. Our hope was to generate discussion about the nature of the community supported agriculture model. How much and in what directions can CSA stretch without losing its core? What exactly is its core? Should membership size be limited?

A week later we received a thoughtful letter from Kayann Short and John Martin, of Stonebridge Farm. Since 1993, they have run a CSA in Longmont, CO, one of the communities to which Grant Family Farms delivers its CSA shares. We thought their letter was worth printing here, in the hope that it will further the conversation about where CSA is now, and where it might go in the future.

We were pleased that so many of you took time to write a comment to last month's article about local vs. organic via our new "comments feature". You can do the same this month; we welcome your thoughts on the issues Kayann and John raise. As we did last month, we are also adding the comments feature to this month's recipe, so all you cooks and bakers can weigh in on our "Warm Cornmeal Shortcake with Farm Stand Berries".

That recipe comes to us courtesy about a fabulous new cookbook, Eating Local. This month's newsletter includes a review of this photo-rich tour of ten of the country's great CSA farms.

As always, take good care and eat well,

Erin Barnett

From the LocalHarvest Store:

Want to make your summer salads even more nutritious? Sprinkle on some freshly ground organic flax seed, and get your Omega-3s along with your greens!

For those who grew up eating lychees, summer wouldn't be the same without them. Good news for you tropical readers. Fresh Gardens' lychees are in season and on sale! The sale will go through the end of the fruit's season, about five weeks from now. Get yours soon!

Going to a wedding this summer? A LocalHarvest gift certificate makes the perfect gift!

Letter to the Editor: Big Box CSA?

From Kayann Short and John Martin, of Stonebridge Farm.

"Get big or get out." That's the motto of the big box stores that come into communities and drive out mom-and-pop businesses. Could this become the reality of CSAs as well if "Green Giant" operations like Grant Family Farms corner the CSA market with their huge acreages, dependence on fossil fuels to transport long distances, and convenience model?
Read more.

Small Farmers and Intensive Gardeners Needed

We were recently contacted by Frank Higdon, a representative from the Peace Corps. It turns out that the Peace Corps has an ongoing need for volunteers with agricultural knowledge, so we agreed to help spread the word. Frank said that even a few months' experience working on a farm can be put to good use in the Peace Corps. Since 1961, Peace Corps Volunteers have worked on projects all over the world to increase crop yields, expand crop diversity, and improve village farmers' processing and marketing techniques. Volunteers have helped communities address food shortages and poor nutrition by building school gardens, growing agricultural micro enterprises, hosting nutrition workshops and more (visit peacecorps.gov/foodsecurity). There is currently a pressing need for volunteers who have practical knowledge of sustainable farming techniques. So, whether you are just starting your career in agriculture, or looking for new career opportunities, you may want to think about joining the thousands of Americans who are serving abroad with the Peace Corps. For more information contact Frank Higdon and to fill out an online application, please visit www.peacecorps.gov. Applicants must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years old, but there is no upper age limit.

Book Review: Eating Local

In my head I know that growing food for a CSA involves getting up at dawn, working all day and into the evening under the hot sun, pulling countless weeds and lifting thousands of pounds of food out of the soil week after week. Tiring work by any measure. But Eating Local: the Cookbook Inspired by America's Farmers, makes it all look beautiful. It would be hard to page through the book's heavy, glossy leaves and not be drawn in. The photographs are glorious, the writing clean, and the stories inspiring.
Read more.

A Recipe from Eating Local: Warm Cornmeal Shortcake with Farm Stand Berries

A Traditional biscuit-based shortcake tastes best when the biscuits are hot from the oven, making it a last-minute dessert. With this golden cornmeal loaf, you can bake the cake hours ahead, then slice and toast it just before serving. With cool, juicy berries spooned over it and a dollop of soft-whipped cream, the cake may well become your go-to summer dessert.