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Calling all Tomato Lovers!

by Newport Living Group

Support your local farmer.
Looking forward to the summer already? Think about what you really yearned for last summer: fresh produce pulled straight from the garden.
Lucky for you—now is the perfect time to sign up with a local farmer for a summer’s worth of veggies. With community-supported agriculture (CSA), you can support an Aquidneck Island farmer and get seasonal produce grown right in your neck of the woods.

How does a CSA work?
Community-supported agriculture (CSA) started in New England in the early 1980s. Members pony up money in advance to have a stake in the farm’s season, usually as a weekly produce share. You’re supporting the efforts of your farmer neighbor. It gives them seed money (literally) for the growing season, as well as a guarantee there’s a market for what they plant. It’s a win-win for you and the farmer.
“We run a CSA because we love the interaction with our members and the sense of community we share with them,” says Michelle Garman of Middletown’s Garman Farms. “But in truth, our CSA members’ deposits also help cover the costs for the money that goes out of here from January to March, our slack time. We are grateful to have those deposits to buy seed, fertilizer, compost, and plants at a time when our cash flow is limited.”

What types of vegetables will I get?
With CSA farming, you’re bound to get a lot of variety. “Our strongest crops are usually garlic, heirloom tomatoes, kale, head lettuce, and watermelon, but there’s not much we don’t grow,” Garman says. “We keep the go-to items that everyone expects, but we like quirky things that taste great, like the Long Pie pumpkin, an old New England variety that almost disappeared in the 1980s.
“Last year we grew popcorn, and it was amazing! The kernels were huge and crunchy, and didn’t even need butter. The surprise hit of the season was kohlrabi, which we didn’t think people would like, but they made slaws and sautéed it and put it in salads. We grew celeriac for the first time last year, and that was a big hit, even though it’s the ugliest vegetable ever,” Garman says.

How much does a CSA share cost?
Depends on the share size. With Garman Farms, a full-share pick-up runs for 20 weeks, and it’s $525: $26.25 per week. Delivery shares are $625. Garman offers a half-share, in which people pick-up every other week (10 weeks total) for $300. They also offer a cut flower add-on for $60, and their CSA members get first dib on the farm’s honey at $15 a pound.

Sign me up!
Look below for some Aquidneck Island farms who offer CSA shares. Local farms, if we missed you, our apologies. Drop me a line at Lisa.Bender@Raveis.com, and I’ll add you to the list!

DaSilva Farm
430 Jepson Lane, Portsmouth

Garman Farm
Elizabeth Lane, Middletown

Goodlands Garden
Green End Avenue, Middletown

Simmons Farm
1942 West Main Rd., Middletown

The Local Patch
Jepson Lane, Portsmouth

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