Favorite Things - Farmer's Market Basket

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by Chris Wilbeck
September 2009


I picked up our first CSA farmer's market basket on September 1.  CSA stands for "Community Supported Agriculture."  A CSA is a way for the food-buying public to create a relationship with a local farm.  You pay for the season's bounty upfront and receive a weekly basket of food in return.  You also get to know the folks who grow your food and can ask them questions about how they do it. 

My CSA relationship is with Funny Farm located right here in Rippey.  Alexis and Marcy Hooper (sister-in-laws) grow the produce - chemical and pesticide free.  They call their place Funny Farm because they are creating gardens that are child-friendly and fun to explore.  Alexis and Marcy began bringing their produce to the Jefferson farmer's market this year. They started offering their CSA memberships this Fall.  

As you can see from the picture of my basket, I received a generous offering of vegetables, some of which I have never cooked!  The basket included:  purple eggplant (both large and small fairy tale), green beans, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes (ox heart, brandywine, tiny yellow pear), sweet corn, peppers (green and hot), decorative gourds and a variety of squash (acorn, spaghetti, patty pan).   Every week I get a new supply of produce and personal letters from Alexis and Marcy explaining the contents.  Sometimes they even include recipes.

My Fall CSA membership will only cost us about $10 a week.  That's not much, when that same $10 will pay for just a few fancy mocha espressos (which, by the way, I love and still buy on occasion).  The produce I receive obviously won't supply us with all our grocery needs, but it's a nice healthy percentage.  Some say that buying a membership in a CSA, or buying food from your local farmer's market, is a way to "vote" for fresh local foods and directly support your neighbors who grow them.  Even $10 a week can keep fresh local food flourishing in an area, if a lot of people support the idea by also "voting" with their dollars.

The basket of produce itself was just beautiful -  I had to take a picture.  However, eating the delicious food is what this basket is all about.   Knowing that your neighbor painstakingly and lovingly tended to the bounty and picked it fresh for you and your family makes it even more special.

Interested in joining Funny Farm's CSA?  Contact Alexis Hooper at 515-291-7873 or send an email through their website at http://www.funnyfarmcsa.com/.

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For more information, call Chris Wilbeck at 515-229-6988.