Farm-fresh foods available through CSAs
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Springtime is almost here, which means farmers and local producers will be bringing out the freshest goods in the Mission Valley area soon. If you are in the market for fresh, local produce, or you want to introduce your family to new, local and healthy choices each week, you might find a Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA, program a viable option.
The Western Montana Growers Cooperative (WMGC), a coalition of independent growers in the Flathead, Jocko, Mission, and Bitterroot Valleys, offers such a program to neighboring communities within the western Montana region.
According to the WMGC’s website, the goal of the CSA is to provide members with a wide range of fresh, quality area products by enhancing the sustainability of local farms and contributing to local economic growth, while cutting out the middleman in reducing the demand of produce being shipped here from long distances.
The CSA program works in this manner: members purchase a “share” of what the co-op farmers plan to grow prior to the start of the growing season, and select a community delivery site.
Once the season begins, every week a box of whatever growers are harvesting is delivered to the prearranged drop off site where it can be picked up and taken home from there.
A variety of foods can be expected. First off, all the fruits, veggies, and herbs delivered by WMGC are either certified organic or Montana homegrown, and freshly harvested at their peak within a day or two of delivery.
Because everything is grown locally, as the growing season progresses, the items received in a weekly pick-up change as well.
Early in the season, there will be vegetables like lettuce, carrots, green onions, herbs and leafy greens, while late summer harvest will include vegetables like peppers, potatoes, and squash veggies.
CSA members also have the opportunity to purchase “add-on” shares to be delivered with their regular produce share, such as organic eggs, organic milk, raw honey, artisan cheese, bread, and coffee—all produced locally.
For more information, visit www.wmgcoop.com.