"Choosing farm fresh food

Last Saturday, I found myself fishing around my freezer looking for something to eat when I landed upon a bag that had been part of my last delivery for the season from Center Valley Organic Farms. Months after the deliveries of fresh produce ended, I’m still eating from the abundance of those weekly deliveries, in the form of frozen beans, zucchini and pesto, and dried herbs and peppers.

Center Valley has been running a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) subscription service since 1993. Now, the farm has grown to provide fresh produce for 50 each summer.

Center Valley, located east of Indianapolis in Clayton, is one of three farms listed on the Local Harvest Web site offering subscription services in Central Indiana, the only certified organic farm choice. CSAs offer customers a way to buy locally grown produce while providing farmers with a stable customer and income base.

After years of considering Community Supported Agriculture, Steve Spencer of Homestead Growers (farmers’ market devotees might know Smith as “the mushroom man”) decided to take the plunge this year and start his own CSA. 

“We wanted to start small, with 25, but we ended up cutting it off at 40,” Spencer said. Because he is not taking any more customers, Spencer said he is urging interested parties to consider signing up with Center Valley or Basic Roots, a downtown-based subscription service run by Kay Grimm, who works directly with farmers to provide products for her subscription service. 

Meanwhile, Aaron Zeis of Center Valley has just opened membership for the 2007 season. For people unsure about joining a CSA, he is offering a one-week trial service. “We are offering the community an opportunity to try us out and see if a CSA is for them,” Zeis said. “We also are allowing people to join the CSA up until July 15 so they would only have to underwrite about half of the season.”

Center Valley Organic Farm, CSA offering certified organic seasonal produce, cvofcsa1@yahoo.com, 317-539-4317

Homestead Growers, CSA offering organically grown seasonal produce, www.homestead-growers.com, 317-727-2730

Basic Roots Community Organics, 317-290-6996

More CSAs and local food options can be found at www.localharvest.org.



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