Community Supported Ag

The Business of Food: CSAs for Singles
Health! Self-esteem! Romance! All just a carrot away!

by Ritzy Ryciak


Good, good for you, and pretty to boot.
(Karen Steichen)

Even if you eat out five days a week, you’ve probably at least heard about CSAs. Community- supported agriculture is a rapidly growing movement to directly connect local food producers with urban consumers through weekly shipments of what’s freshest and best of the season. There are already more than 70 farms in Washington state shipping to subscribers, who pay either a lump sum or in installments through the season, thereby securing the farmers a guaranteed market and a fair price and assuring a supply of first-rate produce for buyers.

There’s just one problem with CSAs, and it’s a big one. Most such programs are designed for that statistically average family of four, and among urban households, that number’s just not statistically average any more. We may be tempted when listening to friends who are members of a CSA rave about their weekly baskets overflowing with seasonal, organic, and local food that absolutely tastes better. But for a lot of us, a weekly overflowing basket is just too much food. How can singles successfully join the CSA movement?

“A lot of people ask me that question,” affirms Matt Ewer, general manager of the Full Circle Farm, a 140-acre certified organic farm in Carnation. One solution’s obvious: “Many single people will come in, share a box, and cut their cost.” But sharing can be tricky, giving rise to misunderstandings and bickering. Full Circle offers another option: three different basket sizes— small, medium, and large—and a way for customers to skip a basket at any time.

Full Circle Farm, which operates year-round, offers a flexible membership program. Members can sign up for a week or a year, and everything can be done online. “Belonging to Full Circle’s CSA is very easy and affordable because you pay by the box,” explains Elizabeth Blessing, a single, 27-year-old nutrition educator and Full Circle Farm CSA member. “I tried to join another CSA once, and I just couldn’t pay that bulk sum at the beginning of the season.” A full-season subscription can run as high as $600 for a weekly family-of-four box. Full Circle’s flexi-boxes, by contrast, run $25 to $45 per week, with every-other-week packages available as well.

“Basically, through technology, we have been able to make our program more accessible,” says Ewer, referring to the Full Circle Web site that allows members to vary the size of their basket and its contents on a weekly basis. “Our program is based on customer flexibility.”

Gerrie LaQuey, a 52-year-old single nurse and Pike Place Market Basket CSA member for four years, tackles the CSA quantity dilemma by canning, freezing, and drying her seasonal produce. The Pike Place Market Basket CSA program runs from June to October, but LaQuey eats the local produce year-round. “Be creative,” says LaQuey. “The produce is too good not to join. Don’t be daunted by the size—it may be a good opportunity to meet a neighbor or learn a new skill.”

For some, sheer quantity turns out to be a nonproblem. Many first-time CSA singles report that they inevitably eat more fresh vegetables and end up feeling healthier. A.J. Lowe, a single UW employee and a Full Circle Farm CSA member for a year, noticed a dramatic increase in energy and has had no problems eating through her weekly basket. “I use every bit of the food up,” she exclaims. “I have even started cooking with the radish greens and the leaves on top of carrots. I just love them!”

Though sharing has its hazards, many see it as a bonus. “One of the great things about this way of eating is that we are trying to encourage community,” offers Michele Catalano, program manager of the Pike Place Market Basket CSA. “A lot of people share with other singles or other couples, and it’s a great way to not isolate yourself at the grocery store. I always look at CSAs as a way to bring people together.”

Tyler Kalberg, a single, 25-year-old Tacoma resident, joined Pike Place Market Basket CSA to support local farmers and expand his fruit and vegetable palette.”I also really don’t like to go grocery shopping,” admits Kalberg, who is sharing his basket with a friend from work and her husband.

Single or not, it is hard to find an unhappy CSA member. With improved technology, basket sharing, and more than 20 CSA options to choose from in the Seattle area, joining the CSA movement is feasible and rewarding for those of us who live and nibble alone.”I think that a single person benefits from CSAs in the same way that families do,” offers Ewer. “CSAs take the middleman out. You get a better price from your food and a fresher product. The food also has a meaning behind it, which is to support local farms in your own community.”

info@seattleweekly.com

In Memorial

W stands for War.
For most people, this memorial day will be one of BBQ’s, shopping and relaxation. Memorial Day weekend usually marks the beginning of the summer season, the change is weather and a moment to reflect on the people that work hard to keep our country safe from harm.
Well, this year I cannot help but feel a slight tinge of remorse for the soldiers that are fighting war that is not protecting our soil as the military markets their cause.
Men and women, most with little or no other opportunities enter the military as a way out of their lives here in America. However, now that this “war” takes more and more lives, recruitment of the armed forces is plummeting down, even in neighbourhoods that are overflowing with poverty. People would rather be poor than dead.
So, today, I am going to think of the poor of this country that gave their lives to a marketing effort that makes them feel like they are defending their country when they are just another dog tag in the United States ongoing Colional conflict….
Make sure to go out and spend your capitalist dollars today in honour of those that have fallen. I am sure the thousands of people killed since 911 in the name of war would like to munch down on an all beef hot dog as well.


These are all shots of the rain storm that we had last week in Seattle. The view is from the office that I work at on 3rd Avenue. It is nice to look at these pictures given the glorious weather that we are having this week.

The Matte'

Yerba Mate, or Mate as it is often called, is a South American herb that has won many admirers in wide-ranging parts of the world. In the search for a natural stimulant devoid of side effects and toxicity, Mate currently holds the most hope. An invigorator of the mind and body, a natural source of nutrition, and a health promoter par excellence, Mate deserves the attention of every person interested in optimum health. Yerba Mate was introduced to colonizing and modern civilizations by the primitive Guarani Indians of Paraguay and Argentina. It has seemingly always been the most common ingredient in household cures of the Guarani. In modern Argentina and Paraguay, however, Mate tea has become almost pathologically ritualized in a manner reminiscent of coffee and tea abuse in Western and Eastern countries. Among the native Guarani, on the other hand, the natural use of Mate for healthful purposes has persisted. They use it to boost immunity, cleanse and detoxify the blood, tone the nervous system, restore youthful hair color, retard aging, combat fatigue, stimulate the mind, control the appetite, reduce the effects of debilitating disease, reduce stress, and eliminate insomnia. Mate (flex paraguariensis) is an evergreen member of the holly family. It grows wild in Argentina, Chile, Peru, and Brazil, but is most abundant in Paraguay where it is also cultivated. The plant is classified vaguely, according to Western herbal medicine, as aromatic, stimulant, bitter, aperient (laxative), astringent, diuretic, purgative, sudorific (sweat inducing), and febrifuge (fever reducing). Mate contains numerous vitamins and minerals.

The Matte’

Yerba Mate, or Mate as it is often called, is a South American herb that has won many admirers in wide-ranging parts of the world. In the search for a natural stimulant devoid of side effects and toxicity, Mate currently holds the most hope. An invigorator of the mind and body, a natural source of nutrition, and a health promoter par excellence, Mate deserves the attention of every person interested in optimum health. Yerba Mate was introduced to colonizing and modern civilizations by the primitive Guarani Indians of Paraguay and Argentina. It has seemingly always been the most common ingredient in household cures of the Guarani. In modern Argentina and Paraguay, however, Mate tea has become almost pathologically ritualized in a manner reminiscent of coffee and tea abuse in Western and Eastern countries. Among the native Guarani, on the other hand, the natural use of Mate for healthful purposes has persisted. They use it to boost immunity, cleanse and detoxify the blood, tone the nervous system, restore youthful hair color, retard aging, combat fatigue, stimulate the mind, control the appetite, reduce the effects of debilitating disease, reduce stress, and eliminate insomnia. Mate (flex paraguariensis) is an evergreen member of the holly family. It grows wild in Argentina, Chile, Peru, and Brazil, but is most abundant in Paraguay where it is also cultivated. The plant is classified vaguely, according to Western herbal medicine, as aromatic, stimulant, bitter, aperient (laxative), astringent, diuretic, purgative, sudorific (sweat inducing), and febrifuge (fever reducing). Mate contains numerous vitamins and minerals.