Every week we pick up a 1/2 bushel box from a local farmers market. That is our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share and it is full of produce picked fresh from a local farm. It is Certified Naturally Grown, which means it’s pretty much equivalent to USDA Certified Organic Standards, but without the hefty price tag of certification for the small local farmers.
My kids often accompany me to the market. They see us walk by booths of people under pop up tents with tables full of produce for sale. The last thing we do before heading back to our car is pick up our box from Zilke Vegtable Farm.
It feels good to see so many local farmers gathered in one place to share their bounty. I know that this food is locally grown and most (if not all) the farmers at this particular market grow without the use of pesticides. I have peace of mind that we are getting food that supports local families, not the big corporations, and be as good, and arguably better since it’s so fresh, as organic.
But it recently occurred to me that although I can see the bigger picture of where this food is coming from, I’m not so sure that my kids have made that connection. To them, is this really any different from going to the grocery store, just outside, yard sale style? Do they understand the difference between shopping here and shopping at the local chain grocery store? I can explain it to them, but do they really get it? Do they really understand that this food was grown someplace nearby and the grocery produce was most likely trucked in from another state.
Although it is an option for us to pick up our CSA at the farm stand every week, which would give the kids a better connection, we live about 22 miles from the farm and only 10 miles to the farmer’s market. With the price of gas, it’s obvious why we chose the market. Plus I love seeing what everyone has to offer. I have also used the market to find my sources for grass-fed beef. They have food samplings from a local farm every week, canning demonstrations on occasion, live bands, homemade baked goods, jams, jellies and similar item. So, the market does have it’s advantages besides just being closer.
Given my question of the kids’ understaning of where the food is coming from, I was so pleased that our CSA farm promoted Family Day at the Farm this past weekend. It was an open invite for all the CSA families to come by their farm stand and surrounding farm to see how things operate, walk the fields, sit on their tractors and see exactly where our food is coming from. Of course we had to make a trip to take part in that opportunity.
So on Sunday we made our first visit to the farm to see exactly where our food was coming from.
We were first greeted by Vicki Zilke and the two farm stand kittens. The kids loved the playful kitties.
After a quick tour of the stand including the back room where all the work of box packing gets done, we headed outside to jump on the tractors. Three tractors to be exact…the kids were thrilled.
Then we proceed on for an exploration of the fields.
Before we finished, we were met my Tom Zilke who pulled up a couple of carrots for the kids, and cut off a sunflower for each of them to take home and dry for the seeds.
The kids had a great time, all while making a better connection with where our food is coming from.
We made one last stop into the farm stand before we left to say good bye and thank you and to purchase a burlap bag of 5 dozen ears of sweet corn. Stay tuned to learn what I did with these.