Reap what county farms offer

Charmaine Ortega Getz

Think you’ve seen
Boulder County
farms offer at
your favorite
grocery store or farmers’
As you read this, boxes of
fresh, local farm products are
being picked up or delivered
to people who have memberships
in a community supported
agriculture program.

Generally, in exchange
for an advance fee, a farm
will provide a season’s worth
of “shares,” usually a certain number
of boxes of fresh produce that are
supposed to be enough to feed from
two to four people. Shares could also
be honey, eggs, meat, flowers, herbs,
baked goods or whatever else the
farm produces, in season.
Not all of the farms are certified
organic, but the emphasis is on sustainable
and responsible farming.

Each farm has a finite number of
shares available; some offer halfshares
or other arrangements such as
including volunteer work as payment.
Some CSA programs offer custom
shares, with members able to choose
what to take, others are a take-it-orleave-
it proposition.
Bad weather, pests, or sometimes
just plain bad luck could mean a limited
or skipped share, which is part of
the risk of “sharing” a farm’s fortunes.

The idea is that the long-term benefits
will be worth the gamble.
It must be working; Boulder
County’s EAT LOCAL! Online
resource guide and directory says that
CSA shares have increased exponentially
since its campaign to raise public
awareness for eating locally produced
food was launched in 2007.

Farm dinners, restaurant-quality
meals chock full of the freshest ingredients,
are another way of enjoying
the harvest with less commitment.
From casual to upscale, the dinners
are sometimes created by chefs from
the very restaurants these farms are
providing with their regular fixin’s.

Not just food, by the way, these
events provide tours, talks, sometimes
live music and wine.

They can be as
relatively modest as Frog Belly Farm’s
upcoming four-course meal for 40
guests at $75 each on June 26 (seats
still available) to the lavish Munson
Farms banquet now in its
third year of serving 200
diners at $210 a pop.
(Tickets for the July 25
event, arranged by the
national farm dinner sponsor
Outstanding in the Field, are
already sold out.)
Another fresh innovation
offered by some farms today
is summer camp for kids.

sleep-away accommodations,
and few of the things you
might otherwise associate
with traditional summer
camp, this is more about
introducing children to the basics of
farming, animal care and an appreciation
for growing food.
And that’s not all — some farms
in Boulder County are also offering
tours, workshops, festivals, even concerts.

t’s definitely worth a little digging
to reap the benefits of today’s
But even if all you’re looking for is
an old-fashioned farm stand, know
that this tradition still thrives. Stands
are now open or soon will be, so it’s
worth the drive to check ’em out frequently,
or scan their websites for
schedules, product lists and news.

For farms, dairies and ranches
offering these goodies to the public,
see Boulder County’s EAT LOCAL!
website directory at www.eatlocalguide.