A cornucopia of fresh food, delivered
Winter brings price increases, less bountiful selections, and out-of-season blues for people who like to eat fresh produce. It’s enough to make those who thrive on fruits and vegetables turn to the frozen food aisle.
But this season, Swaner EcoCenter and Liberty Heights Fresh are bringing options for local, organic, and sustainable food to the Summit County community. The Park City nonprofit has paired up with the Salt Lake City-based market to offer a Sustainably Farmed Food (SFF) program to residents.
According to Steven Rosenberg, owner and CEO (Chief Eating Officer) of Liberty Heights Fresh, the program works like a traditional produce share or community supported agriculture (CSA), delivering weekly shipments of fruits and vegetables to customers. What makes the program unique is that it also provides cheeses, eggs, meats, honey, and other locally produced products.
The food comes from family farms, small producers and specialty artisans in California, Oregon, Washington and Utah when the weather permits. By pooling resources from a variety of producers, the program offers a smorgasbord of food that isn’t readily available from Utah farms in the winter.
The SFF program was introduced to Parkites at a meeting last week, and Rosenberg says 15 to 20 families have already signed up. Those who join the program pay in advance for 13 weeks of food and choose from vegan, vegetarian, omnivore, and half-share options.
Each Thursday, the shares will be delivered to the EcoCenter for pick up between 3:30 and 5 p.m. The selection changes from week to week depending on what’s in season and what’s available at the farms.
Each share comes with recipes designed for that week’s contents. Emails from Liberty Heights Fresh arrive earlier in the week to inform customers what they’ll be receiving and suggest shopping lists to complete the recipes.
Representatives from Liberty Heights Fresh will also be on hand during the pick-up periods to share samples of items that are made in the store, including cheeses, preserves and confectionary treats. Customers can call the store before 1 p.m. on Thursdays to request that other items, such as a specialty olive oil or type of sauce, be added to their bag.
Prices for the SFF program start at around $30 a week per share (including delivery to the EcoCenter). The full share options range from $389 to $599 for 13 weeks, and half shares range from $279 to $359. For an additional $5 per week, customers can add a portion of seasonal fruit to their share.
Five percent of each share will be donated to Swaner to fund other community programs including educational activities, the environmental film series and sustainability lecture series.
Rosenberg started the SFF program in Salt Lake City about a year ago and says the program has been extremely well received. The partnership with Swaner came about when he mentioned the prospect of expanding the service to one of his customers, Swaner executive director Annette Herman.
"The guiding principle for this is that it’s something that doesn’t exist in the Summit County community in the winter," says Savannah Wake, director of education and volunteers at the EcoCenter. "It’s a multi-faceted, sustainable effort. It’s great for us for us, great for Liberty Heights Fresh, and great for people who participate in the program."
The program also supports the EcoCenter’s quest to provide a variety of services to people in Summit County. "We want to be able to offer a lot to the community, whether it’s a frog walk or yoga or an environmental film. We want to become an integral part of the community," says Wake.
The SFF program is ongoing year-round and new members can join at any time. People can also request to skip a week (or more) if they plan to travel during the 13-week period. "We’re very flexible," says Rosenberg.
Jennifer McDonald, a self-described lifelong Republican, was selected as the Summit County Republican Party chair last week.