Gudrun Enger first became acquainted with Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) thanks to her Menlo Park neighbor, author and chef Donia Bijan. “She sent me an email about Two Small Farms starting a CSA,” she said. “I signed up and would go to Stanford West on Sand Hill to pick up my weekly box.”
“One day I noticed a sign asking people if they’d be willing to be a host house where the boxes get delivered and subscribers pick them up. That was appealing to me as I thought it would be fun to be part of a neighborhood food group.”
Participation in a CSA gives customers the opportunity to buy farm fresh produce while supporting local farms, typically by purchasing “shares” in the farm at the beginning of the growing season. This allows the farmers a measure of economic certainty and provides customers with seasonal and local food.
Gudrun is currently getting the word out about two CSAs. Fifth Crow Farm delivers vegetables each week from May through November. “Customers sign up for the whole season up front” she explained. “This allows the farm to manage their planting and financial situation, and then you pick up your vegetable share each week. This CSA offers the option to add on eggs, flowers, honey, meat and chicken. A produce share is about $25/week.”
Frog Hollow Farm, known for its stone fruits, (peaches, plums, apricots), delivers fruit every week year round. You can sign up for weekly or bimonthly, and there are three sizes of boxes to choose from. “They partner with other small farmers to provide citrus, apples, avocados, kiwi, etc., during the rest of the year,” Gudrun said. “A single share runs about $25/week, and you can also add on pastries, olive oils, jams and preserves, as well as eggs.”
Gudrun gives up a portion of her front porch for the deliveries, which are picked up mostly by either neighbors or people who pass by on their way to work and back.
“Belonging to the CSAs has caused me to try foods I wouldn’t have bought myself,” said Gudrun. “It prompted me to start a food blog, KitchenGadgetGirl, that talks about how I’m going to cook the vegetables every week. That’s something I didn’t think about when I first signed up!”
Photo by Irene Searles, shows Gudrun (far left) with two other CSA subscribers, Maria Luisa De Seta (middle) and Renee Greenstein