Farm to Table CSA season kicks off | Chow | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Coverage for Central Oregon, by Central Oregonians.
100% Local. No Paywalls.

Every day, the Source publishes a mix of locally reported stories on our website, keeping you up to date on developments in news, food, music and the arts. We’re committed to covering this city where we live, this city that we love, and we hear regularly from readers who appreciate our ability to put breaking news in context.

The Source has been a free publication for its 22 years. It has been free as a print version and continued that way when we began to publish online, on social media and through our newsletters.

But, as most of our readers know, times are different for local journalism. Tech giants are hoovering up small businesses and small-business advertising—which has been the staple for locally owned media. Without these resources, journalism struggles to bring coverage of community news, arts and entertainment that social media cannot deliver.

Please consider becoming a supporter of locally owned journalism through our Source Insider program. Learn more about our program’s benefits by clicking through today.

Support Us Here

Food & Drink » Chow

Farm to Table CSA season kicks off

Over the last few weeks, Sarahlee Lawrence has been cutting up fifteen varieties of potatoes.

by

comment

Over the last few weeks, Sarahlee Lawrence has been cutting up fifteen varieties of potatoes. She has pink ones, purple ones, blue ones and the standard run-of-the-mill white spuds. She's so excited about planting these bits of root vegetables for this year's harvest that her voice quickens.

"We've got the full gamut of vegetables from early greens to pumpkins," Lawrence says. "It's going to be quite the experience."

This may be an understatement for Lawrence as this is her first season running a CSA . Last year she tended and harvested a test garden on her family's 30-year-old farm, Lawrence Farm in Terrebonne, but this year she's growing three acres and two greenhouses worth of vegetables and flowers for her garden called Rainbow Organics. All season long, Lawrence will put together baskets of veggies and flowers for her CSA members and sell the remaining produce at the Northwest Crossing farmer's market. In addition, members are invited to tour her farm and participate in events such as a canning day.


CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture, is a buzz term that has gained growing popularity over the past few years. For a few hundred dollars, families or individuals can sign up to receive a weekly bounty of a farm's best produce (as well as flowers, meat and eggs on some farms) from mid-spring until late fall. Many of Central Oregon's farmers meet weekly to discuss farming techniques, share tips and just hang out. "We get together and have potlucks," says Jerre Kosta Dodson of Dancing Cow Farm in Prineville. "It's a really good community."

Although Central Oregon's persistently frosty nights and searing hot summer days pose their share of challenges, local farmers are growing hundreds of varieties of vegetables, from lettuces and tomatoes to cucumbers and watermelons.

"I think there is a misconception about the diversity of food that we can grow here," says Gigi Meyer of Windflower Farm in Bend. "There are actually very few varieties of veggies that we can't grow. I grow tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers in the greenhouses - you'd never know they were grown in this high [elevation]."

While receiving fresh local produce is an obvious benefit of joining a CSA, there are many more advantages for farmers and members alike. In addition to keeping your carbon footprint low and supporting local businesses, the springtime membership fees help farmers finance the front end of their growing season, when they need the most financial support. "The CSA allows the farmer to buy seed and pay [staff]," says Dodson, who notes that extra help is needed during springtime for planting and preparation.

The farmers are also assured that they will have customers every week. "Knowing you have people to feed is really wonderful, especially when you're growing something like a vegetable that is very perishable," says Lawrence. "Knowing you have people who are going to eat your vegetables is a real blessing."

However, for many farmers, the real reward is the relationship built between the farm and the community.

"The best part is sharing in the joy of the community," says Kim Kambak from The Last Stand Farm in Prineville. "Of course I love it that people want to be part of a CSA, but I also love it that they learn how to garden themselves. That's what sustainability is - learning to provide for oneself in community," Kambak says.

Central Oregon CSAs

Paradise Farm, Bend

$25 wk/$100 month/$800 for 8 months

Pickup: Paradise Produce - 30 SW Century Drive

541-749-8024

Plainview Farms, Bend

$25 wk/$100 month/$800 for 8 months

Pickup: Paradise Produce - 30 SW Century Drive

541-420-0906.

Big Star Farm, Bend

$550 per season

Pickup: Downtown

541-318-9132

Dancing Cow Farm, Prineville

$484 to $550 per season

Pickup: Bend, Prineville, Redmond,
Powell Butte, Terrebonne

541-306-0226

Fields Farm, Bend

$600 per season

Pickup: Downtown
541-382-8059

The Last Stand Farm, Prineville

$550 per season, $638 with eggs

Pickup: Prineville and downtown

541-771-1923

Rainshadow Organics, Terrebonne

$600 per season

Pickup: Downtown, Sisters,
Terrebonne, Redmond

541.279.0841

Windflower Farm, Bend

$675 per season.

Pickup: Downtown and home delivery

541-318-1417

About The Author

Add a comment

More by Sara Roth