Courtesy Deardorff Family FarmsSubscribers to the Fresh Picks by Deardorff Organics community supported agriculture program receive a biweekly box of produce, which contains about a dozen different organic items.Deardorff Family Farms kicked off its community supported agriculture program with the delivery of about 40 boxes of produce to four locations in Ventura County, Calif., Aug. 21-22.
Under the Fresh Picks by Deardorff Organics program, consumers subscribe to biweekly boxes of produce and designate which of four locations they’ll come to pick it up, said Christine Smith, marketing assistant.
So far, she said she’s excited about the response and continues to receive daily inquiries.
“The fact that it was a smaller number allowed us to really focus on the boxes and gives us a chance to get our feet wet,” Smith said. “We’re already having a lot of people expressing interest and e-mailing me every day.”
She used a number of different media to promote the program, including e-newsletters, Facebook and booths at local events, such as the recent Oxnard Salsa Festival.
Deardorff Family Farms, Oxnard, decided to delve into CSAs to further enhance its ties to the community, Smith said. The grower-packer-shipper already supports a local school garden project as well as other events.
“And it’s good for us because we get to meet the people who are actually eating the produce,” she said. “They’re part of the harvest, and we share recipes with them. It’s kind of just that community connection.”
Among the locations where the boxes are dropped is Whole Foods, Oxnard, which also is a customer of the Deardorff Family Farms. Smith said the retailer has been extremely supportive of its CSA project.
“They’ve been very open and welcoming because they like to support local things that are going on and local farmers,” she said. “We may bring customers in that wouldn’t normally shop at Whole Foods but are there to pick up their box.”
Each box contains about a dozen different seasonal certified organic produce items, much of them packed under the Deardorff Organics label. Mainstays include greens, kale and carrots, with other items changing each time. What Deardorff Family Farms doesn’t grow, such as citrus, it will source from nearby organic producers, Smith said.
The box also includes recipes and storage tips.