Give Local Farms a Boost with Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
The Skagit Valley Food Co-op has been working with local farmers for decades to provide fresh, organic produce to our Co-op community, and we will continue to foster those relationships in these strange times. While many businesses have been forced to shut down because of COVID-19, local farmers are still working hard to provide food and make a living. As always, we are getting fresh, spring produce deliveries, but now that farmers markets are closed and restaurants have been limited, farmers have extra food on their hands—extra food you could be eating! While we love having you in the Co-op to get fresh produce we also recognize most people are trying to limit their time in public places, which is where CSAs come in. You can get fresh produce, directly from local farms without ever stepping foot inside the store.
So What’s A CSA?
If you don’t already know, community-supported agriculture (CSA) is essentially a food system that connects local consumers to producers through the use of subscription boxes of local produce. Each farm’s CSA is slightly unique, but in general, the idea is that consumers pay upfront, providing producers with the confidence that their product will be sold.
Signing up for a CSA gives you the opportunity to try out all sorts of different local fruits and veggies since each box varies with the season. In one box you might get fresh berries, a salad mix, onions, and radishes, and the next box will be completely different.
Local CSAs in Skagit Valley
With three farms located in Burlington, Mount Vernon, and King County, Viva Farms has educated over 900 small farmers about sustainable organic farming. They host three farm incubator programs and offer agricultural workshops to the community.
Each of their CSA boxes contain 8-10 different varieties of seasonal veggies and berries. They’re available in 2 sizes and can be picked up at a variety of locations in Skagit, Whatcom, and King County.
Boldly Grown Farms
A family-owned farm based in Skagit Valley, Boldly Grown Farm’s mission is to grow high-quality fall and winter storing vegetables for wholesale markets.
Their winter CSA program consists of 10 bi-weekly boxes, each containing 8-10 different fresh produce items. Some of the produce includes storage crops like carrots, beets, winter squash, and potatoes, and freshly harvested items like kale, broccoli, cauliflower, and more.
Waxwing farm is located on just a few acres in Mount Vernon and is owned and operated by local farmers Taylor Barker and Arielle Luckmann.
They offer two different CSA boxes, including a weekly farm pick-up option and a more flexible farm stand option. In addition to offering a CSA, they have bi-weekly farm stands where you can pick up freshly harvested produce to go.
Long Hearing Farm
Located in the Upper River community of Rockport, Long Hearing Farm serves both the Skagit and Stillaguamish valley. One of their goals is “to feed as many families as we can and we work hard to grow high-quality produce that grown with organic practices.”
They offer a 20-week farmshare that can be split with family or coworkers if need be.
Hedlin’s Family Farm
Located near the Skagit River, Hedlin’s Family Farm grows both organic and conventional produce on 500 acres. They grow more than 40 crops in 100 varieties for their farm stand, farmer’s markets, local restaurants, and wholesale buyers.
Their CSA/season pass is a little different than a traditional CSA, but it offers plenty of flexibility. Essentially, anyone can pick up a weekly farm share box, any day of the week, without signing up ahead of time.
Other Ways To Donate: Farmer Relief Funds
If you can’t commit to a CSA, there are other ways you can support farmers in Washington State. There are a variety of different farmer relief funds that are helping our community when we need it the most.
Both the Washington Young Farmers Coalition and Viva Farms (Burlington, WA) work to provide critical support to small farmers. They’re always raising funds to help supply equipment, infrastructure, and classroom essentials. Any donation amount is helpful to keep farms (and farming) alive.
The Good Farmer Fund grants relief funds to local farmers in the Greater Seattle area.
Growing Washington is “raising money to bring food to people into the epicenter of the COVID-19 Pandemic in the United States while simultaneously helping farms who have been left without any market outlets and face insolvency and going out of business for good.” They plan to box up fresh produce from a variety of farms and deliver the food to people in need in the greater Seattle and Whatcom county areas.
Photo provided by Boldly Grown Farm.