First of all what is a CSA? CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. A farmer grows produce and then offers a certain number of shares to the public. Shares usually consist of a box of vegetables. Each week you receive a box of seasonal produce throughout the farming season. How do you go about finding a CSA?
You can ask around or just do an online search of local CSA’s in your county. You might be surprised just how many there are! In the greater Portland area there are over 50 CSAs! In doing a search for local nurseries and garden centers we found a farm called Pumpkin Ridge Garden that offered CSAs.
For years we have grown all our own vegetables and I have preserved the abundance. This year with moving into a new home and experiencing a new growing zone we decided to support a local farmer and sign up for a CSA instead of trying to rush starting our own garden. This will allow us to eat ultra fresh food and experience new vegetables that we may have not grown before.
Doing a search of local CSAs came up with several CSAs but one was in our new hometown! Before signing up we decided to meet the local farmers and see their set up. I contacted Pumpkin Ridge Gardens to see if I could visit their farm. James and Polly Gottesman were more than happy to show us around. Walking their beautiful property we could see evidence of the end of growing season and the gearing up for a new growing season!
James and Poly have been the owners of Pumpkin Ridge Gardens since 1990. They have been building the soil with organic techniques since the beginning. From 1990 to 2002 they were registered as organic growers with the state of Oregon. They grow their vegetables in accordance with the organic standards established by law and use only materials approved by organic certification organizations. This state program has been discontinued. While their farming techniques have not changed, federal law prohibits them from calling their produce “organic” without third-party certification.
After walking around their farm we were so impressed by the work they were doing and their commitment to provide organic produce for their clients! They may not have third party certification, but they are certainly practicing good organic growing techniques. After meeting James and Polly and seeing their beautiful farm we decided right away to sign up for a CSA.
Finding a CSA was new to us, and we look forward to participating in this year round CSA. Pumpkin Ridge Gardens have a wonderful website and once you join the CSA there is a recipe database in case you run out of ideas on how to enjoy the various vegetables. The first delivery will be Friday June 7thand I can’t wait!