FairShare is a coalition of 49 thriving organic vegetable and sustainable animal CSA farms with farmers hard at work growing healthy, delicious food for local eaters. The article below introduces the farms endorsed by the coalition for 2013. Visit our Full Farm List for profiles of all of our wonderful farms.
CSA farms interested in being formally endorsed by FairShare apply in the fall for the following growing season. In addition to the application, farmers are interviewed by our committee of growers. To be accepted, all farms must grow or produce the vast majority of their products, demonstrate an ability to provide a high level of customer service, and veggie growers must be certified organic (or in transition). Fellow growers greet each new farm in the spirit of collaboration and camaraderie, which allows for networking and sharing of resources while building skills and farm efficiencies. That means more yummy food for you and your family!
Here is a quick glimpse into the fields of the newly endorsed 2013 farms:
Envision children and their caretakers playing in the dirt, picking salad greens for lunch, and perhaps for their family’s CSA boxes that will be picked up with the children at the end of the day. At NatureSense Gardens, this is exactly how harvest day goes.
Katherine Hansen and Thomas Hoke run holistic child care in conjunction with 2 acres in vegetable production in Edgerton.
“NatureSense is the name and it is very important to impart to the children that connection with nature and what is happening in nature,” Katherine said.
Thomas and Katherine’s passion for local, organic food stems from the benefits it has on the body and planet. Their goal is to create more community through their CSA shares, contribute to a greater awareness of the local food movement, and of course, supply satisfying CSA boxes to their members.
Parisi Family Farm is a mother-and-son team. As a recently retired teacher, Terry, and her son, Franco, run their 1-acre CSA together in Stoughton.
They have always gardened. A few years ago, Franco, who has a double degree in art and horticulture, saw what was happening with our globalized food system and decided to start growing more food for his family. And it just blossomed from there.
Eventually, he decided to sell the extra produce through a CSA. Now they are both glad to form a united front in the local foods movement, like the network of growers that make up FairShare CSA Coalition.
The best part for Terry?
“All my friends are jealous because I get to hang out with my son all day!”
Kate and Tyler Rowe of Burr Oak Gardens together farm 12 acres of vegetables and cover crops on family land in Rio. The two were college sweethearts and both earned horticulture degrees from UW-Madison. Like Franco who runs Parisi Family Farm, Tyler and Kate fell into farming and the CSA model by accident due to a challenging job market right out of college.
Kate explains that running Burr Oak Gardens is not a job but rather a lifestyle, and they both feel that this is what they are meant to do with their lives. They are farming on family land, the same place Tyler’s parents brought him home as a newborn. And the same place Tyler and Kate were married. (See a video featuring Burr Oak Gardens, here.)
Now imagine getting your veggies from a first generation American-Italian family who are also in the process of getting licensed and building a winery! Well that is exactly what you will get from Campo di Bella in Mount Horeb.
On top of outstanding Mediterranean-style CSA boxes, Marc and MaryAnn Bellazzini offer unique homegrown recipes. They also have the cutest breed of sheep ever, Olde English Southdown Babydoll sheep, who mow the vineyard for them. In addition to their orchard, vineyard, 1 1/2 acres of vegetables, sheep and pigs, they also have one dairy cow named Biscuit and her calf, Brownie.
Lastly, Dennis Fiser and Anne Drehfal, who run Regenerative Roots, recently moved their entire farm operation to a new home near Jefferson, where they plan to stay. Both are extremely passionate farmers with resumes packed with work on other FairShare farms such as JenEhr and Tipi Produce. Also, Dennis was recently FairShare’s grower program manager; now on the road to full time farming! On a recent phone call, Dennis was enthusiastic about the perennial food forest on their new farm.
“There’s juneberry, honeyberry, elderberry, aronia and currants, but there are also a good number of hazelnuts, korean pines (pine nuts), quince, almonds, and a few other exotic berries to round it all out (goumi, seaberry, jostaberry).”
We are all looking forward to a bounteous 2013 growing season as we fold these farms into our community of CSA growers – all working to transform the landscape and kitchen tables of our region and improve our community’s health.
Beth Nitz, FairShare intern, is a senior at UW Madison majoring in Community and Environmental Sociology. She will be the farm manager at Equinox Community Farm in summer 2013 and plans to start her own CSA, Winterfell Acres, in 2014.