Local produce options abound in Rowan County

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 7, 2017

By Amy-Lynn Albertson

Rowan County Extension Director

Over the last 20 years, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has become a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer.

Here are the basics: a farmer offers a certain number of shares to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (or a membership or subscription) and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.

Members also share in the risks of farming, including poor harvests due to unfavorable weather or pests. By direct sales to community members who have provided the farmer with working capital in advance, growers receive better prices for their crops, gain some financial security and are relieved of much of the burden of marketing.

Typically, one share will be enough produce for a family of four, and the cost is around $20-30/share. My family has participated in a CSA every year for the last four years. I love it. Even though we grow a vegetable garden every year, the CSA basket is always a welcome addition. I’m a working mother and while I love to garden, sometimes life gets in the way, and I can’t always make it to the Farmers’ Market. The CSA basket gives me fresh seasonal veggies every week.

For the 2017 season, Rowan County has several farms offering CSA membership. Two Pigs Farms offers a CSA with an option for a summer share, a fall share or a full season share. Their season begins in mid-May. A full season share is $500/25-week season; summer share is $300/15-week season, fall share $200/10-week season that runs mid-September through Thanksgiving.

Two Pigs Farm also offers an egg and meat shares you can add on. The egg share is a dozen pasture raised eggs/week, and the meat share is a variety of cuts from their pasture raised pork, duck, chicken, turkey, beef and lamb. More information on Two Pigs Farm can be found by calling Chase Reynolds at 704-460-3031 or on Facebook.

Correll Farms (correllfarm.com) offers home delivery of produce with two different size baskets, a classic and a petite for 15 weeks beginning in mid-April. The classic basket is $450/15-week season, and the petite is $300/15-week season. The classic basket will usually have 10-12 different items, and a petite will have five to seven. Correll Farms offers home delivery to some areas so check their website for delivery availability.

Patterson Farms offers a Market Share CSA program. The market share CSA is unique, letting the customers pick and choose the items they want from Patterson Farm. Your CSA shares will allow you a credit to the farm that you can use on produce and gifts from the market, pick-your-own fields, the ice cream shop and admission to Pappaw Carl’s Playground in the fall. You can find more information about Patterson Farms Market Share CSA on their website, www.visitpattersonfarm.com.

Fine Farming out of southern Davidson County (just across High Rock Lake) is also offering a customizable CSA where you get to choose what comes in your box each week. They have two sizes, full (three-four people) and small (two-three people), and two seasons, a 16-week summer season or a 24-week full season.

Fine Farming also offers a chicken share. The Salisbury pick up location for Fine Farming CSA is at New Sarum Brewing on Wednesdays from 4-8 p.m. You can get your veggies and your beer at the same time. To find more information about Fine Farming go to www.finefarmingnc.com or check them out on Facebook.

Don’t forget you can get your produce and so much more at the Salisbury Farmer’s Market. The market opens for the 2017 season Saturday, April 15. The market is open from 8 a.m.-noon on the corner of Jackson and Fisher streets.

There will be spring-themed activities for kids and a cooking demonstration with our very own Toi Degree. Look for fresh strawberries, asparagus, greens, early squash and so much more. For more information about CSAs or local produce, contact the Rowan County Extension Center at 704-216-8970.