If not from backyard, then locally produced.
If not locally produced, then organic.
If not organic, then family farm.
If not family farm, then local business.
If not local business, then fair trade.
It's called the Locavore Pledge. Nobody really stands up — sun hat off, dirt-caked hand over heart — to deliver it. Rather, you see it in gardening and consumerism literature, a call for increased awareness in the produce section of the marketplace.
People are answering. One movement in particular that's literally feeding the locavore frenzy is the community-supported agriculture (CSA) program. With some 1,500 and growing nationwide, this food model, along with farmers markets, is basically a counterrevolution to the industrial-food system.
Buying into a farm's CSA equates to a preseason payment toward part of a farm's mid-June to late-fall harvest. By purchasing one of several options — small- or large-family shares, from roughly $400 to $700 — you help insulate farmers from financial risks.
In return, you receive more than 50 different vegetables and herbs as they come into season, with options to purchase fruit, naturally raised eggs, meat and honey, depending on the CSA. To be clear, not all CSA products are certified organic, though most farmers call themselves "beyond organic" and apply the same (if not more rigid) standards and sustainable practices.
Dare to be a locavore in some capacity. (Watch this spring for the second Pikes Peak Region Locavore Challenge, in which you can pledge with hundreds of others to eat as close to home as possible, whether cooking at home or out to eat.) For more on regional sustainable growers, visit peaktoplains.com. For growing your own, try ppugardens.org.
Below is a cursory breakdown of the CSA programs currently available locally. At press time, Venetucci Farm was the only CSA without space in 2009.
5210 S. U.S. Hwy. 85, 389-1251 ext. 101, venetuccifarm.org
Though it's still best known for the generosity of the late Nick Venetucci, the farm that bears his name is now run through the Pikes Peak Community Foundation. Farmed largely by Susan Gordon and her husband, Patrick Hamilton, Venetucci Farm offered its first CSA program last year to some 50 shareholders and with a slight increase in availability to 65, is already on a wait list for 2009. (Call to get on 2010's wait list.)
Country Roots Farm
29342 Everett Road, Pueblo, 719/948-2206, countryrootsfarm.com
Country Roots beat everyone on the Front Range to the CSA scene by more than a decade. Having launched with just seven families in 1994, Ryan and Betsy Morris are topping out at 110 shares this season, with distribution points in Pueblo and Colorado Springs. They specialize in several heirloom vegetable varieties.
Javernick Family Farms
545 S. Lincoln Ave., Cañon City, 719/371-3241, javernickfamilyfarms.com
Javernick, a family farm since 1947, is aiming to offer 90 CSA shares this year after having fed roughly 60 families last season. Beki Javernick's operation distributes to Cañon City, Westcliffe, Salida and Colorado Springs.
Located 45 minutes east of Pueblo, Greenhorn Acres is run by Marcy Nameth and her four young children. Like Venetucci Farm, Greenhorn is only in its second year offering a CSA, but it's shooting for 80 shares, up from just 20 last year. Greenhorn distributes in Fowler and Colorado Springs.
Heritage Belle Farms
Multiple locations in Fountain and Calhan, 970/310-0852, heritagebellefarms.com
Launched by 24-year-old Colorado College graduate and Springs native Katie Rosing, Heritage Belle will offer its first CSA in 2009. Its model is unique; Rosing grazes her livestock and grows her produce on other farmers' land (with permission, of course). Heritage Belle is one of the farms offering meat, egg and flower shares in addition to vegetable and herb shares.
Grant Family Farms
1020 WCR 72, Wellington, 351-0077, grantfarms.com
Started by Colorado State University professor Lewis Grant, Grant Family Farms was the first farm to be certified organic by Colorado in the mid-1970s. It represents the large-scale CSA model, having distributed more than 1,000 shares last season from Cheyenne, Wyo., to Pueblo. It's a good option when smaller CSAs fill up.
Organic garlic offering
Hobbs Family Farm, Avondale, 719/250-9835, coloradogarlic.com
Dan Hobbs is offering a pre-paid, three-year share of seven different garlic varieties, in 10-pound increments.
Local farmers markets
Colorado Farm & Art Market I
June 10 through Oct. 7, Wednesdays, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
America the Beautiful Park, 126 Cimino Drive
Colorado Farm & Art Market II
June 13 through Oct. 10, Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The Margarita at PineCreek, 7350 Pine Creek Rd.
Doherty High School
June 27 through Sept. 26, Saturdays, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.
4515 Barnes Road 574-1283
Manitou Springs Midweek
June 10 through Aug. 26, Wednesdays, 4 to 8 p.m.
Soda Springs Park, 1000 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs
June 22 through Oct. 5, Mondays and Thursdays, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Corner of Pikes Peak Avenue and Union Boulevard
June 6 through October 10, Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Second and Adams streets
Old Colorado City
Best Of 'o8
June 6 through Oct. 31, Saturdays, 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
24th Street and West Colorado Avenue
July 5 through Oct. 11, Sundays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
2499A S. Academy Blvd.
June 12 through Sept. 25, Fridays, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The corner of Center and Henrietta streets
687-9053 or 689-3133
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