Do you know where your food comes from?
In our digital age of Amazon Fresh and Blue Apron meal kits, it is easy to lose sight of the people who grow the crops, raise the animals and harvest the produce that fill our fridges. While technology has made shopping easier than ever, it is just as simple to support local farmers, fishermen and herbalists through CSA (community supported agriculture) programs. CSA's allow farmers to plan for their crop output and receive "seed money" in advance for the season ahead. Each week, month or year, members receive their share from the people that work and care for the land and sea. For busy people that don't have time to go to weekly farmers' markets, most CSA's offer local pick up (usually right in your neighborhood) or home delivery. In our fast-paced world, these programs offer the chance to support small businesses and producers doing things right.
Whistling Train Farm is a family farm based in Kent, WA, and a longtime and beloved fixture at the West Seattle farmers' market (their beet greens are divine). This year marks the 19th season of their CSA program. From the all you can pick peas, green beans and flowers (note the beauties above) from their farm to potlucks and work parties -- subscribers have the opportunity to truly connect with the soil along with the family who works it (and if you're extra lucky, you might even get to meet Mary Kate).
Collins Family Orchards is a fourth-generation family-run orchard in Selah, WA. Their apples, cherries, apricots, nectarines, peaches and pears are unsurpassed in flavor and beauty. Subscribers can choose seasons and frequency of delivery, as well as receive subscriber pricing at farmers' markets. All these spring blossoms will soon be fruit, don't miss out!
Drifters Fish Each summer, Michael and Nelly Hand return to Cordova, Alaska to catch wild salmon from the Copper River watershed. Using sustainable gillnetting practices, this husband and wife team offer a CSF (community-supported fishery) in which subscribers place pre-season orders to pick-up (at an end of season party, total blast) or have shipped in the fall. The salmon is flash frozen, filleted and packaged in serving-size portions for ultimate freshness and ease. During summer, you'll find their fresh catch (flown in weekly) on the menus of Seattle's finest restaurants including Canlis, The Walrus and the Carpenter and Ray's Boathouse.
A Wild Light Apothecary Using plants from her own garden, along with those ethically foraged from the woods, herbalist Fern Wynn creates bitters, flower essences, salves and tinctures to support seasonal health and well-being. Subscribers can pick up their monthly boxes at Sugarpill Apothecary on Capitol Hill or have them shipped directly to their door. For anyone wanting to practice better self-care or explore herbal medicine, this CSA is the perfect gift.
These are just a handful of our favorites, but our region is chockfull of outstanding farms and producers -- to find a CSA to suit you (including farms with grass-fed beef, farm fresh eggs, honey, bread, even flowers!) visit Puget Sound Fresh.
Eat better, live sustainably, connect with the Earth and support your local community!
photos: Drifters Fish, Whistling Train Farm, A Wild Light Apothecary, and Collins Family Orchards