“You don’t need a silver fork to eat good food.” -Paul Prudhomme
Isn’t that quote the best? In fact, you often don’t need a fork at all to eat the best food. Countless families have been enjoying farm fresh produce, while driving home from picking up their weekly share. Nothing compares to vine ripened tomatoes and carrots fresh from the ground- especially when you know your farmer and their strong commitment to non-GMO and pesticide free crops.
Come along with us today as we here from the farmers behind Adalyn Farm and be sure to consider signing up for their CSA. Wait….you aren’t quite sure what a CSA is? Well, keep reading. By the end of this post, you’ll be an expert.
Adam and Joscelyn,
Thank you so much for joining us on NW Healthy Mama! We are so happy to be celebrating CSA Day along with you and many other farmers! Many of us are new to the idea of a CSA and while we love eating healthy and being part of our community, we need to learn how to move towards supporting more small family farms.
To get started, can you explain what exactly a CSA is?
Angela, that’s a great question! CSA stands for “Community Supported Agriculture.” This means that people pay a farmer a sum of money before the growing season starts, and the farmer uses that money to purchase the necessary items for growing the food. The farmer grows the food, and once the food is ready, the customer comes and picks up the food from the farm. Essentially the customer is paying for a piece of the farm! There are many different variations on the ‘‘standard definition’’ of a CSA, but personally for us, it’s a way to grow good, healthy food and share it with families in our community. We love the connections that we make with people and strive for the feeling of an extended family (or Farm-ily as we call our CSA folk). For example, we are excited to offer a CSA Facebook group for the 2016 season to help folks connect week to week, share recipe ideas, and for us to more directly share with our customers what’s happening on the farm. We realize that many people have a desire for healthy, home-grown food, but don’t have the time, space or knowledge to do it for themselves. With our CSA, we can use our time, space and knowledge to grow for your family. You’ve heard the saying, “Mi casa es su casa.” In this case, “Our farm is your farm!” If you want all the details, there is a longer description on our web site.
Please share with us the background story of how and why you started farming and what area your farm services.
Health is what led us down the road to farming. Joscelyn began suffering from digestive issues in college and was later diagnosed with Chron’s disease (an auto-immune disease in which the the body starts attacking and killing off parts of your intestines). Through research we discovered that GMO crops and pesticides are the probable cause of Crohn’s, and also exacerbate the symptoms. We decided to test the hypotheses by eating only organic food. We discovered that if she ate only organic food, then she had no trouble with her Chron’s, but if she ate non-organic food from stores and restaurants, then she suffered tremendously. The switch to organic food led us to start raising our own fruits and veggies, and further research about the treatment of animals (even organically fed animals) in large operations led us to start raising all of our own meat as well. From there it was just a natural progression to begin growing good food for other families. We love the community we are part of, and our primary focus is the Stanwood, Camano, Arlington, Marysville area. We are about 7 miles West of I-5 at exit 208 (Silvana). We do however have roots on the Eastside, specifically Redmond and Kirkland, and are working with some families in those areas to provide drop-off points for our vegetables. We even have some interested families in Lake Stevens and Seattle, so if you are from outside of our typical area, just contact us and we will see what we can do for you!
What types of services does your farm offer?
Although we would love to be able to supply 100% of our customers’ food, we know that isn’t really feasible. We try to come as close as we can though by growing small quantities of pork, chicken, and turkey, as well as eggs from our laying hens, and of course LOTS of veggies, distributed through our CSA and at our local farmers’ market. We are working with two other local growers for the fruit and flowers for our CSA. We are super excited about these add- on’s because it means we can provide more good food and beauty for our customers!
How long have you been supplying your community with a CSA and what has been the highlight of the experience so far?
We have had our own large vegetable garden since we bought our first house in Carnation in 2000. We also started keeping bees that year. The next year we purchased some chickens to have as pets and for eggs. In fact, the first rooster we ever had just passed away this winter at the ripe old age of 14! We started selling honey and eggs that year. In 2006 we moved to Stanwood and increased the number of chickens to 75 birds, and added ducks, geese, and turkeys. We also added some goats and a llama. In 2009 we started raising animals for their meat and began raising pigs and cows in 2012. Last year we did our pilot CSA which ran for 25 weeks for 10 families (Here is the link to our shares from last season) so you can get a rough idea of what a standard share would look like). Adam was still working off farm and it was a great way to ‘‘test drive’’ the idea of a CSA with some family and friends that understood not only the idea of a CSA, but also the fact that it was our first year growing for an extended season, with a regular, weekly harvest. We wanted to learn as much as we could by making mistakes, and the season went really well! The highlight reel is a long one, but some of the things that really stuck out were being able to see the families we were growing food for on a weekly basis, working outside with our family, and finding out that sometimes the carrots, snap peas, and cherry tomatoes were so good that they never even made it back to our customer’s houses because they were gobbled up on the way home!
Tell us about what you have happening on your farm right now. How are you preparing for the upcoming season and what are you looking forward to?
Right now on the farm we are racing to fit in as much as we can on any given day. We took our first vacation in three years and visited Adam’s folks in Tecate, Mexico, where they are working with orphanages to teach them how to grow gardens that help feed the children and equip the children to find jobs once they leave the orphanage. Now we are trying to catch up! We are planting seeds for the first CSA pick-up (beets, carrots, onions) as well as preparing for baby goats (the first ones are due on St. Patty’s Day). We are also finishing up winter pruning, doing some storm clean-up (we lost over a dozen large trees this winter), prepping the beds for the next wave of seeding, finishing the seed orders, and trying to get the word out about our farm.
For someone who’s new to the idea of a CSA, what words of advice can you give them?
In short, do your best to be flexible (nature can throw unexpected curves at your farmer), expect to eat lots of healthy veggies and greens, be willing to try new things, and also expect to feel a connection with your food and the people that grew it for you.
How can we contact you and sign up to be part of what you’re doing?
We are all over social media: Facebook, Instagram (His and Hers), Twitter and Flickr. There is more information about our CSA on our website here. You can also click here to jump to the sign-up link. If folks have questions they can reach us via email at Farmers(at)adalynfarm.com and our phone number is three six zero 474-7427. We are committed to transparency in the food we grow for you, so we have an open farm day in the spring when there are cute baby goats to look at, and we will have at least one other “open house” type event for our CSA customers. People are always welcome to drop in and see what we are doing, but beware because we might hand you a shovel or hoe and point out some work (especially weeding) that needs doing!
Is there anything else you’d like to share with the NW Healthy Mama community?
We understand that most folks don’t want to think too much about their food. They want to trust that what they are feeding their families is good, will do no harm, and will be well received. We want to make that as easy as possible for our customers which is why we are offering two different share size options and focusing on growing ‘‘classic garden vegetables’’ like salad mixes, carrots, and radishes (Items that aren’t so bizarre that you have no idea how to cook with them!). We are also offering the add-on’s for fruit, meat, flowers, and delivery so that we can make things as easy as possible for your busy family.
We also want to give the folks in the NW Healthy Mama community a special offer. If you sign up and mention NW Healthy Mama in the “Did a friend refer you to us?’’ we will knock $20 off your CSA share cost! We also offer a $20 referral credit per friend if your friends sign up and mention that they heard about us from you (the more friends you sign up, the more you save)!