PHOTO: Stephen Patton
This is the time of year when thoughts of farm-fresh food start to entice the taste buds. Juicy tomatoes. Spicy radishes. Crisp lettuces and spinach. Aromatic herbs to waken the flavors in a homemade meal. A weekly, bountiful harvest of fresh produce from May through October awaits University of Kentucky faculty, students and staff who sign up for a share in the UK Community Supported Agriculture Project. Registration is now open for the 2017 season.
Community Supported Agriculture, also known as a CSA, is a subscription-based program where consumers buy “shares” in a farm’s output. Members benefit from receiving fresh, local and affordable produce from growers they know and trust. The UK CSA is sponsored by the Department of Horticulture in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. Students help grow the fruits and vegetables on theU.S. Department of Agriculture-certified organic unit of the Horticulture Research Farm in Lexington. The farm acts as both a formal and informal classroom, affording students experience in sustainable agriculture practices. The project is an integral part of the experiential education component of the sustainable agriculture degree.
The college’s organic farm is not a commercial operation and is not managed for profit. Financial proceeds from the sale of shares support production during the growing season and student educational activities in the sustainable agriculture program, including student study tours and support for conference attendance.
For less than $30 per week, UK CSA shareholders will receive a weekly assortment of freshly harvested produce from May 25 through Oct. 19. Share costs are $650 for faculty and staff and $584 for students. In addition and at no extra cost, shareholders will have access to a variety of you-pick crops available on the farm. The produce in the shares will vary according to the time of year, but based on a typical growing season, shareholders can expect to find such items as spring salad mix, radishes, spinach, kohlrabi, turnips, broccoli, cucumbers, basil, corn, melons, onions, squash, potatoes, cabbage, cauliflower and tomatoes, among others.
The number of shares is limited and offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Full payment at the start of the season is encouraged, but payment may also be made in four separate installments.
When registering, participants can choose to pick up their weekly shares on Thursdays either from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. EDT in the parking lot of the E.S. Good Barn on campus or from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the UK Horticulture Research Farm.