Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Lifestyles

April 21, 2014

Pleasant Hill Ramblings: CSAs are a win-win situation

CROSSVILLE — Every Wednesday after 1 p.m. from May through October, there is a steady stream of people converging on the kitchen of Heritage Hall on Church St. in Pleasant Hill with baskets and bags. Inside the kitchen there is excited chatter as they discuss the array of vegetables, some varieties never tried before. Farmer Dave Myers and his helpers provide this largesse of vitamins to the members of the CSA.

The participants in the Pleasant Hill Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) group receive a large variety of produce from spring through November. CSAs are an innovative and resourceful way of connecting local farmers with local consumers. A CSA member signs up in late winter and pays the farmer a lump sum before the seeds are sown in early spring. In return, members receive 8-14 different kinds of fresh, locally grown, and typically organic produce once a week. It is always a surprise to see what became ripe that week. It is anticipated that the deliveries will start with fresh greens in May, depending on the weather.

Myers works a farm on Vandever Rd. in Crossville owned by Steve and Denise Martin. They are working toward getting the farm and its crops certified as naturally grown. Myers was able to grow beautiful and delicious organic vegetables even under difficult growing conditions last summer. The members benefit from having locally grown vegetables chock-full of vitamins not lost in transit. Many tried new vegetables for the first time and swapped recipes about how to cook them. Myers benefited by members picking up and delivering the food once a week in Pleasant Hill. Gail Ford of Pleasant Hill edited a CSA newsletter with environmental concerns, notes about unusual vegetables, and recipes for preparing the variety received.

To hear some locavores (those who eat foods grown locally whenever possible) talk, farmers markets sound like the be-all and end-all of solving the Earth’s problems. Their logic: The food at these markets travels a shorter distance to get to your kitchen than the food in your grocery store’s bins, which significantly reduces its (and your) carbon footprint. By supporting local agriculture, you’re pumping money into your local economy. And by eating locally available foods, you’re also eating seasonally, which is not only sustainable, but can have dietary benefits, too.

A meeting of interested people was held in Pleasant Hill in February this year. They discussed the types of vegetables grown last year and the cost of the whole operation, sharing ideas for future crops. Some people purchase a share with another person or family as they find they cannot always use all of the vegetables and herbs in a week. Some join with two other persons. Have you noticed how much fresh vegetables have gone up? Seeds and other farming costs have gone up as well. Anyone may join and participate in this CSA group by paying for a full or partial share. It is a win-win situation. Anyone interested in finding out more about the Pleasant Hill CSA may contact Gail Ford at 277-5534. For information about vegetable availability, contact Myers at 200-6759 or write to him at Red Barn Farms, 3987 Vandever Rd., Crossville. When the local farmers’ markets start up, you will find him and his nutritious vegetables at the Depot in Crossville.

This week in Pleasant Hill:

• Friday, April 25 — Hike Little River Trail, Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Meet at 9 a.m. in the Pleasant Hill Community Church parking lot on the corner of Church and Main Streets to carpool.

• Friday, April 25 — Potluck at 5:30 p.m. and program at 6:30 p.m. Adshead Hall of Fletcher House. Johns River Valley Camp Director Curley Stumb will talk about this Christian Camp in North Carolina. All churches are invited.

• Saturday, April 26 — From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., The Grab Thrift Shop, 1944 West Main St. in Pleasant Hill, will hold its monthly $1/bag sale.

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