Community Supported Agriculture Farms Offer Unique Service

By: Liz Hayes Email
By: Liz Hayes Email

Many of us want to incorporate more fresh, locally grown produce into our diets. One way to do that is by becoming a CSA member, CSA stands for community supported agriculture.

Jerry and Maydene McDougal spent Wednesday morning planting tiny pepper seeds in their sunny greenhouse. The peppers will be one of about 100 varieties of produce they'll offer this summer as a CSA farm.

The McDougals, whose farm is located in Deerbrook, a few miles north of Antigo, are heading into their sixth season as a CSA farm.

"I always tell people, why not, that's the way to go, that's the direction to go because there's really a need for local grown, organic or chemcial free produce," Maydene McDougal said. "Just about in every city, it's quite a void there."

She says CSA farming has many advantages: members get to know their farmers, enjoy a variety of foods and help the local economy.

To become a member, people contact the farm to buy a share. Then, they'll get a box of fresh out-of-the-ground produce once a week beginning in June.

"It's harvested the day or day before it's put in the box and then is on your table, compared to coming from California there's sometimes a two week lag," McDougal said.

She says this means more nutrient dense produce that's better tasting and healthier for your family.

Most CSA farmers want members to feel comfortable with them and their food, so many, like the McDougals, offer weekly newsletters with recipes and other helpful information and host special workshops, inviting their members to get their hands in the dirt.

"That's what we want to do here, is make being part of a community supported agriculture farm, kind of a family event, so we have farm events here."

Those who don't think they can eat that much produce in a week, can alternate weeks with another family - a popular option. McDougals have CSA drop-off sites in Antigo, Summit Lake, Weston, Rhinelander and Eagle River. CSAs across the state are accpeting memberships now.

The McDougals are hoping to expand their CSA membership to 150 shares, and are hopeful for the upcoming season. They have faced some challenges with our heavy winter, including frozen soil and frozen pipes in their greenhouse.

McDougal's Farm is located at W10835 Bluebell Rd. in Deerbrook, WI. Their phone number is 715-627-4418.

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