The mild winter and early arrival of spring has jumpstarted the growing season in The Valley. Growers are busy nurturing the seedlings that will grow into locally grown food; a wide of array of produce, meat, specialty food and flowers will soon become available for purchase from stores as well as through Community Supported Agriculture memberships.

CSAs exist as a way for farms and growers to connect with their local market; individuals and families may purchase a share in the farm upfront, to provide capital when seed money is low. In return, the grower provides a variety of products to members throughout the growing season. Growers are not only supported financially through the CSA method but also create a way for locals to take part in and encourage the production of food grown close to home.

Oftentimes CSA members contribute more than just start-up funding; many growers welcome and encourage work days wherein CSA members take part in the actual maintenance of the crop, from weeding to harvesting.

VALLEY FARMS

Several Valley farms offer various types of CSA programs. The Gaylord Farm on Route 100 in Waitsfield offers both a vegetable and meat CSA throughout the summer season. Members can sign up for a single or double share; a double share is designed to provide enough food for a family of four for one week. The meat share includes beef, pork and chicken without hormones, antibiotics or steroids. This year, Gaylord Farm has introduced a debit card program that can be redeemed at the farm stand or farmers' market. Shares are still available; pick-up takes place each Wednesday between 4 and 6 p.m. beginning June 17. For more information, call 496-5054 or visit www.gaylordfarm.com. 

Hartshorn's Santa Davida Farm, located on Route 100 north of Waitsfield Village, provides fresh produce and berries and also uses a debit card system called the "Green Card." The cost of the CSA membership is put onto the debit card in the beginning of the season so members can purchase fresh produce from both the Santa Davida farm stand as well as their farmers' market booth. For more information about Santa Davida and joining their CSA, call 496-3081. Information is also available on Santa Davida's new fan page on Facebook.

One of the newer CSAs in The Valley is saucy. Created by Jordan Mitchnick, saucy offers organic soup and sauce grown and created in Moretown. Members can sign up for season, month-to-month or annual saucy shares that can be picked up in two Valley locations or delivered. Individuals can sign up for one- or two-quart-per-week CSA shares; pick-up takes place on Thursdays at the East Warren Community Market or the Village Grocery. Saucy will also be at both the Waitsfield and Waterbury Farmers' Markets this summer. For more information about saucy or sign up for a summer soup and sauce share, call 496-6009 or visit saucy's fan page on Facebook.

In addition to fresh food, The Valley is also home to Mountain Flower Farm, located in Warren, that offers a weekly flower bouquet CSA program. Members may pay upfront and receive a fresh bouquet of flowers each week throughout the growing season (20 weeks). Pick-up happens each week at the Waitsfield Farmers' Market; members can sign up anytime before May 15. For more information or to join the weekly bouquet program, call 496-8980 or visit www.mountainflowerfarm.com.


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