Goodness Grows in North Carolina
As I write this, I sit looking out the window at the beautiful foot of snow that just fell. By the time you read this, we will be planting flowers and herbs in our yards. I may be accused of being biased but we have the good fortune to live in one of the best natural environments in our country, if not the whole world. We have four, beautiful, distinct seasons, adequate rainfall spread throughout the year, mountains to our west, beaches to our east and the rolling Piedmont all around us.
Those early Moravians knew what they were doing when they left the frozen tundra that is eastern Pennsylvania! Due to this lovely climate, good soil and clean water, we have the ability to grow much, if not all, that is required for healthy living. Not a gardener? Not a problem! You can be part of the solution that keeps our family farms system healthy and vibrant. This network of small farms holds many benefits for us as residents of the Piedmont. We need to do our part to make sure they find it realistic to keep farming in our midst.
Have you heard about Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)? This is a concept wherein you commit to buy a certain, predetermined amount/value of locally grown fruits, vegetables, and sometimes meats. Extremely fresh product with a lower carbon footprint (due to the lack of transportation) and a stimulus to our local economy are the primary benefits to the consumer.
Extrapolated benefits include the support of local individuals and their entrepreneurial spirit, less reliance on large corporate entities, the maintenance of the family farm model which preserves the food chain within your community, etc... Practices, products, costs, delivery sites, etc. vary widely and each year there are more options. Here is a link from our local Forsyth County Extension agent that explains the basic idea of community supported agriculture and its benefits to the consumer and the farmer. Within that article you will find the name and contact information of our agent, Mary Jac Brennan, should you have further inquiries.
Farmer’s Markets are another excellent source of fresh, locally grown produce and we have several good ones in our area. If you can, support them so they will always be there for our community. At these gatherings, you can get to know farmers and purchase your vegetables and other products on an as needed basis.
Purchasing a CSA plan can be a great way to sample some of the local goodness that grows nearby. If you have children, or grandchildren, or you are a lifelong learner, you might also enjoy a trip to the farm to see where your food comes from and make a new friend or two. Personally, I feel a farmer’s willingness to show you his/her operation is a sign of their attention to quality. They will likely want you to make an appointment but that is a reasonable request. Here is a national website that helps you locate CSA producers in your area. Using this site, I located the following farms within a reasonable distance of Winston-Salem. Terms, pricing, pick-up sites, farming practices and products all vary so you will want to investigate these on your own.
Within each of these links if you look to the right hand side of your screen, you will see the option to View Our Listing. This provides more detailed information on the farm and their business practices. I am not endorsing any of these farms, merely offering them to you as a possible solution to your food needs in the coming months. I do not have personal experience with any of these farmers. I am fortunate to be married to my personal CSA Farmer :) Eating locally is a delicious and healthful way to be a good steward of the goodness God gives us, right here in Forsyth County. Below the farm links, are a few general informational links for more reading on this topic.
General Informational Links:
—Helen Bushnell Beets, Earth Stewards Team, March 2014