Business

Islanders share farm's bounty

"South Whidbey's only Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) project will be doubling the number of shares offered this summer.This season marks the seventh year of Molly's Island Garden's CSA. Anna Petersons, daughter of John and Molly Petersons of Molly's Island Garden, will be running the CSA this summer as a first step in taking over the family organic farm. The Community Supported Agriculture concept involves members agreeing in advance to purchase a portion of the coming season's harvest. Each member receives a regular supply of fresh organic produce, and the farmers have the security of knowing that the produce grown and harvested is wanted and sold.Members secure their share of the produce with a deposit; the farmers' major expenses occur in the early spring with the purchase of seed, equipment and supplies and the deposit allows the farmer to meet these expenses without going into debt. The season starts when Anna comes home from university in mid-June and ends in early September. Each week's basket holds five to eight different types of veggies. The first baskets are full of leafy salad greens. Soon, peas, beans, radishes, carrots, beets, broccoli, cabbage, fresh herbs, garlic, and potatoes are ripe. Corn usually comes by August, and at the end of October, members return one last time for a selection of pumpkins and winter squash. Each week's half-bushel basket will supply enough vegetables for two ardent vegetarians or an average family of four. Cost for the 12-week season is $230, payable in three installments. To join for the year 2000 season, or to receive more information, call 321-5547 or email petersns@whidbey.com. Leave a message with your name and address, and a signup form with more details will be sent to you.For members who are interested in learning more about sustainable organic vegetable growing, a work-trade program is available. Workers contribute three hours of work a week in exchange for their basket of produce. While helping with planting, weeding, and harvesting, workers learn about tools and methods for small-scale vegetable production.Community Supported Agriculture projects are becoming more and more common today, according to Molly Petersons. The concept first became popular on the East Coast when people started looking locally for a steady source of fresh organic produce. C.S.A. projects vary in structure. Some farms require members to work a certain number of hours, whereas others will deliver vegetables to members who may never see the actual farm. At Molly's Island Garden, the on-farm pickup is often the most enjoyable part of the membership. Children and adults enjoy wandering the aromatic herb gardens, playing with the chickens and ducks that help keep their produce slug-free, or pausing a while to chat with the farmers about what veggies will be ripe next week, Petersons said. "

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