Sign up for a community-supported agriculture (CSA) share, and you’re investing in both farmers and the quality of your diet, getting a regular supply of straight-from-the-field veggies, fruit, meat, and other items. This summer, we’re looking forward to sampling the goods from these five local purveyors.
Growing true organic vegetables is anything but easy, particularly when it comes to keeping hungry bugs off the crops. Luckily, valley resident Erin Cuseo has some young assistants to help. During the summer, “bugs go to die under my kids’ boots,” she says. Partnering with Basalt Sunday Market manager and Colorado Soil Systems owner Jimmy Dula, Cuseo has planted crops in three locations near Basalt and Carbondale. They’ll be growing a mix of veggies, from beets and carrots to kohlrabi and mustard greens. Added value products, like dried herbs, pumpkin butter, and pesto will be available toward season’s end.
Sign up: $450, 16 weeks of produce for pickup at the Basalt Sunday Market or the Glenwood Springs Tuesday Market; delivery to a central pickup spot available for a one-time $25 cost; facebook.com/erinsacresfarm
Green Pastures Country Farm
Gina Long and her husband, Kevin, who own this farm in Silt, offer year-round shares of raw milk, which is unpasteurized and has no added preservatives or hormones. Along with the Jersey dairy cows, Green Pastures is also home to organic chickens, heritage turkeys, and Angus beef cows. Though open less than a year, the farm has become a community center, with guests coming by daily to help feed livestock or to learn how to make butter and yogurt with their raw milk shares.
Sign up: $25, initial herd-share buy-in, then $13.50 per gallon of milk and $7.50 per half-gallon; pickup only, though the farm will help coordinate group pickups. greenpasturescountryfarm.com
Merrill’s Family Farm
Located on Missouri Heights’ Cedar Ridge Ranch, Merrill Johnson’s farm is home to many animals, including some 30 Large Black heritage pigs, available through a year-round pork share. The pigs spend summers foraging in the pasture and, in colder months, have a diet of organic alfalfa, grains from the Roaring Fork Beer Company, and non-GMO corn feed. A share gives you access to things like bacon, ham, pork chops, ribs, and brats made with Roaring Fork IPA, as well as parts like neck bones and hocks for making stew.
Sign up: $140–$150 monthly for a three-month to year-long share of 15 pounds per month and a dozen eggs for pickup at the farm; $100 monthly for a three-month share of 10 pounds per month and eggs; $50–$65 monthly for a year-long share of 5 pounds per month and eggs; home delivery available for $15–$30 each month. merrillsfamilyfarm.com
After working at the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies’ Rock Bottom Ranch, Allison and Mike Spayd bought a 15-acre farm in Missouri Heights 10 years ago. Their CSA emphasizes variety and helps support other regional growers by adding seasonal fruits from North Fork Valley farms when available. For an extra fee, the Spayds will also throw in eggs from their free-range meat birds, as well as chicken meat and unfiltered raw honey.
Sign up: $510, 17 weeks of produce for pickup at the farm; delivery available at extra charge. spradleyfarms.com
Wild Mountain Seeds
Casey Piscura and Kirsten Keenan started growing vegetables on Sunfire Ranch near Carbondale four summers ago. They immediately became interested in selectively breeding plants that thrive in the Rocky Mountain climate. What started out as a pastime soon turned into an obsession. Today, Wild Mountain offers seeds for 57 different kinds of fruits and vegetables, with more than 350 different varieties. They also offer CSA shares, which include the heirloom tomatoes the farm has become known for. (“People call us the gurus of tomatoes,” says Piscura.) You’ll be asked to take a tour of the farm when signing up for the CSA to get a good grasp of the growing process.
Sign up: $300, 15 weeks of organic produce for pickup at the farm or at the Basalt Sunday Market. wildmountainseeds.com