As many probably know by now, a CSA (community-supported agriculture) enables consumers to buy "shares" of a farm and share that farm's products for a specified period of time.
I've known Oak Parker Mark Brewer for almost twenty years; he and I used to work together for a communications consultancy. I was a little surprised to hear that he's turned in his pen for tractor, moving to the Tree of Life farm in Cuba City, Wisconsin, and working to bring that farm's CSA to Oak Park. Brewer explains that "After eating the fresh food at the farm in Cuba City, I was convinced of the health benefits of eating super fresh vegetables and fruit grown with love but without industrial chemicals."
So how is the organic food that Brewer is now helping to grow and distribute different than, say, the organic food at a place like Whole Foods? According to Brewer, "Even if it's organic and from Whole Foods, the food's been shipped cross-country or from another country and then sits around for a week or more losing its nutritional density. Most of this food is modified to enhance shelf life. Tree of Life offers a much wider variety of produce grown the old-fashioned way and meant to be eaten fresh."
For years, my family and I have received CSA shipments from Genesis Farms, which drops off every other week at Geppetto's Toy Box. One of the reasons we subscribe to a CSA is because local produce is difficult to come by this time of year, and I like the specialty items offered by Genesis Farms (it's more fun to eat vegetables if they're a little more interesting than the stuff that comes in plastic bags at any supermarket).
I asked Brewer if Tree of Life was planning to offer any special vegetables, and he told me "We have all sorts of interesting vegetable varieties: blue potatoes have a great flavor and look great in a potato salad; lipstick sweet peppers, red kuri squash, 20 varieties of tomatoes, including red zebra, green zebra, moskovich, indigo rose, and tommy toe. Right now we have tyee spinach and red Russian kale growing in the greenhouse, ready to pick and eat."
Sound good? You can find out more about Tree of life at their website.