From Utah farms to your table
March 22, 2011
In 2004, the number of nationwide acres devoted to farming equaled 936.6 million according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The number of farms in Utah reached a surprising 16,600 in 2010.
One way Park City community members help sustain these farms is by participating in Community Supported Agriculture.
Uinta Headwaters RC & D Council along with Recycle Utah, sponsored a successful CSA meeting at the Miner’s Hospital in Park City last week.
With 14 producers and more than 150 people in attendance, the open house allowed shareholders, farmers and community members to meet and support one another.
Producers set up tables to market their produce, answer questions about farming, and assist in signing up new members.
Uinta Headwaters RC & D Resource Conservation and Development Coordinator, Michele Devaney said, "The purpose of the open house was to get people out to learn about CSA and to get people in the community interested in the options for local produce."
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CSA advocate Alison Godlewski assisted in raising awareness before the CSA open house to ensure local support. When asked her official title, Alison responded, "Title? Locavore enthusiast? Sustainable agriculture proponent? Just someone who is passionate about sustainable food," Godlewski said.
CSA farmers and producers are enthusiastic about offering community members more agricultural options for fresh locally grown produce. Additions this spring include beef, eggs, honey, fruit and a variety of cheese.
Projections for the future of CSA? "The local food movement is huge right now. (CSA is) a fun and delicious way to green your lifestyle," Godlewski said.
CSA members are also discussing winter harvesting shares for greenhouse produce. This would allow community members and shareholders the opportunity to get fresh produce year round, along with supporting local farmers throughout the winter months. The decision will be based on how many people are interested.
Copper Moose farms attended the open house to promote their farm located in Park City. Copper Moose harvests produce on three acres of organically certified land, and offers produce year round from their solar passive greenhouse.
The owners say that the greenhouse is naturally heated for more than 10 months of the year due to its architectural design.
According to Daisy Fair at Copper Moose Farm, "the building is so well designed that the temps stay between the upper 40’s and the upper 70’s throughout the winter."
The farm produces everything from salad mixes and Chinese cabbage to a variety of spices, vegetables and flowers.
David Chen attended the open house on behalf of Zoe’s Garden, Layton, Utah. Chen is a local food enthusiast who has been growing for Zoe’s for eight years.
Chen’s harvest consists of spinach, lettuce, young onion and potatoes to name a few of the 600 different varieties of produce. He also grows the unique sunchoke, which is a root crop also known as a Jerusalem artichoke. The sunchoke is planted in the fall and harvested a year later.
Another trendy product harvested at Zoe’s are microgreens, which are produced from vegetable and herb seeds.
Microgreens are high in nutrients and flavor and can be harvested about 20 days from when they are planted.
"It’s a very high-end and unique product," said Chen. These mini herbs are popular among fine dining restaurants and often used by chefs as garnishes or to enhance flavor.
Zoe’s Garden specializes in growing produce unique to Utah. Chen believes that educating the community about different varieties of produce is just as important as harvesting.
"We like to introduce people to new produce. And, by putting together diverse varieties of fruits, vegetables and herbs for shares, we can encourage community members to try an assortment of produce." Chen said.
Chen foresees community members learning new recipes while cooking with their produce and hopes this will inspire good eating habits and more nutrient-filled meals.
Share prices begin at $700 for 20 weeks including up to 15 different varieties of produce.
How does one become a member of the CSA? Residents wanting to buy shares from farmers and ranchers need only decide their desired producer and supply the shareholders’ fee.