The summer season is coming to a close and so are farmer’s markets – but that doesn’t mean they’re taking our access to local foods with them.
Here are a few resources for getting fresh-from-the-farm food throughout the year.
Community-supported agriculture, or CSAs, are programs that allow people to buy a share of a farm’s seasonal produce. Typically, this means that people pay a seasonal or weekly fee for a box of assorted fruits and vegetables each week.
Willie Green’s Organic Farms in Monroe offers a 16-week CSA program in the winter, beginning the first week of October.
The farm delivers boxes of produce to pick-up points from Monroe to Bellevue. Participants can choose from three box sizes, each containing a different number of seasonal items. Owner Jeff Miller said that 98 percent of the items are grown at the farm.
Sometimes they add items from organic orchards in Yakima and other Washington farms. The farm tells customers about these items by posting information to its website.
The boxes will be delivered to several farmer’s markets until most of them close down for the season in mid-October. Pick-up locations will then be moved to nearby locations. See www.williesgreen.org for details.
Chinook Farms in Snohomish has a 22-week CSA program, but it is full for the year.
PCC Natural Markets in Edmonds gets some of its produce from local farms like Rent’s Due Ranch in Stanwood, Full Circle farm in Carnation and Dungeness Farm in Sequim.
Elliott Lamoureux, the store’s assistant produce manager, said the produce department has a chalkboard where employees write a few of the local, seasonal items they have in stock. He said that his staff will be able to point customers to local and seasonal items.
“We’re very knowledgeable,” he said.
The store’s website allows customers to search seasonal produce by the month at http://tinyurl.com/PCCinseason.
Manna Mills Natural Market in Mountlake Terrace buys meat and dairy products locally.
Joseph Gordon, one of the store’s four sales associates, said that the market sells eggs from South Alderwood Egg Farm, beef products from Skagit River Ranch in Sedro Woolley and raw milk from Old Silvana Creamery in Silvana.
He said it’s important to find out where foods come from because buying local offers shoppers the freshest foods while supporting local farms.
“Be aware and check the labels,” Gordon said.
U-pick farms allow people to harvest their own produce. Snohomish County has a list of these farms at http://tinyurl.com/upicksnoco.
Plant your own garden
Washington State University offers a Master Gardener program in Snohomish County. The program teaches students about organic vegetable gardening techniques, like how to preserve water quantity and quality, how to improve soil and how to choose appropriate plants for the area.
For more information, go to http://tinyurl.com/mastergardenerWSU.
Gardening clubs can provide a network for sharing techniques.
The Alderwood Garden Club meets at Crossroads Church in Lynnwood. For details, call 425-743-1430.
The Mountlake Terrace Garden Club meets at the Mountlake Terrace Library. Their next meeting is at 7 p.m. Sept. 10. Go to www.mltgardenclub.com for details.