If you want to remind yourself what the freshest garden vegetables taste like, but don't have the space or time to manage a garden yourself, you may want to sign up (soon) for the next best thing: a CSA share. Find out more about 'CSAs' on this 'Local County Stories' featuring Andrea and Denis Forstbauer of Grey Arrow Farm near Camrose, AB.
"Why sign up to become a Veggie CSA member?" Andrea answers by saying "Its a great way to support local, eat healthier, it's fresh and delicious, and you get to enjoy relationship with the very farmer growing your food! A CSA is an awesome way to experience local grown and invest in your local farm".
If you want the 'get your hands in the dirt' farm experience as well as the seasonal veggies, read on below to find out how you can participate in the 'Garden Time' option.
Here now is my interview with Andrea:
Laura: What is the nature of your farm and can you tell a bit of the story about how you got started?
Andrea: We are a young family farm sustainably growing no-spray veggies and herbs for our CSA, farmer’s markets and restaurants. Denis grew up on his family’s organic vegetable farm in Chilliwack, BC, working hard (and playing hard) alongside his 11 brothers and sisters. We met back in high school where he began inviting me out to the farm. I ended up spending the next many summers working alongside him in the field- planting, weeding, and harvesting delicious produce with him. I fell in love with the lifestyle (as well as the farm boy), and 15 years (and 5 kids) later found us building our own dream and beginning our vegetable farm here in Camrose, AB. It’s been a learning curve for sure, coming from the mild and mountainous Fraser Valley to frigid and flat central Alberta—but we have slowly become prairie lovers, basking in those endless skies and gorgeous sunsets. Grey Arrow Farm is our little prairie oasis.
Laura: What have you found to be an unexpected blessing/perk of having this farm/CSA?
Andrea: We particularly love selling our produce to customers through our CSA (subscription veggie box program), because it’s creates a real connection between our farm and the recipient. We love having relationship with our members, and knowing who we are growing food for each week. The option for ‘Garden Time’ is a unique facet of our program, and we love having many of our members out to the farm getting their hands dirty in the garden right alongside us. The connection of it all, the relationship, has been the real blessing of it.
Laura: What has been a challenge/learning opportunity as you’ve pursued this CSA?
Andrea: One of our biggest farm challenges has just been adjusting to the different climate (and new pests like the gopher) that were foreign to us having come from the west coast. Our first couple years has been a big learning curve with all of that, but we are adjusting.
Laura: What is one interesting/unique thing people would be surprised to know about your farm?
Andrea: Well, we have some unique facets to our CSA program. In addition to our weekly veggie boxes, we offer farm fresh add-ons such as free range eggs, chicken, beef, honey and coffee! We love connecting our community to all kinds of delicious local goodness.
Laura: How can people best follow you/contact you to learn more about your farm?
Andrea: For more about our life and farm, be sure to follow us on Instagram or Facebook (@greyarrowfarm). To learn more about our CSA program or to join, visit our website: greyarrowfarm.ca We looking forward to another great season for Summer 2019!