As a supplement to this week's Last Supper column, I've asked a handful of farmers a few questions about their CSA. The hope is that, if you're interested in becoming a member this year, we'll help you find a good fit. There are dozens of great options in the area—our sample is by no means exhaustive. LocaHarvest.com is a great place to start, but the PSU Farmers Market opened last week—stop by and ask around. Today's installment features La Finquita del Buho, a Helvetia farm started by Lyn Jacobs and Juvencio Argueta.
How did you first get involved with CSA’s? How long have you been operating?
Juvencio studied Horticulture at Clackamas CC and he was wondering how to put his degree to good use. Both of us loved gardening and growing food, we did some reading and found the CSA model to fit our needs. We started in 2000 with an oversized family garden with 7 friends. We have grown over the years to feed over 90 families.
Why do you think the business model is important? How do you think it fits in with Portlanders today?
The business model shares the risk and ensures that our vegetables have a home to go to. We have created a community where people know where there food is grown and with what practices. They know their farmers and have the opportunity to participate on the farm. We make it possible for children to get to know farm animals, plant vegetables and pick fruit. Members feel like this is their farm and bring visitors from all over to see “their farm”.
How large is your CSA? How many members do you have now and how many can you support?
We have 62 full shares and have capacity for 65 — 68.
What’s the range of produce you feature? What can members expect from week to week?
We offer over 55 different veggies with some fruit (apples, pears and sometimes plums) We give 6 — 18 items a week.
What are a few highlights? The vegetables you’re most excited about, or have been most pleased with in the past?
We give a really delicious Chinese broccoli in spring, tons of regular broccoli later on, we strive to give lettuce almost every week and we love cucumbers. We had a great tomato and pepper crop last year even through the rain and cool summer as we planted in the hoop house as well as outside. We also do a lot of basil.
How much is a full share?
Full cost is $800 for 29 weeks. Some people share every other week. We can help set that up
How do you handle distribution? Where are your drop points?
People pick up at the farm 15 miles west of Portland. Many people use this as a weekly or bimonthly family outing bringing out the kids to pet the goats and picnic in the orchard or collect eggs from under our happy hens.
How long is your season?
April 11 — October 31 (29 weeks) plus add-on Thanksgiving share
What makes your farm stand out from others in the area?
Community events: opening potluck with pizza making, square dancing and farm tours, canning party where over 20 members participate to can 12 different recipes and over 300 cans, harvest festival where over 200 people come out to the farm for an afternoon of culture and fun. We have pick-up at the farm so members are really connected to the place and see, touch and feel their food being grown. We know many people personally and people can help as much or little as they want. We use organic practices only.
Get the best of the Mercury each week in your inbox!