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Fri, Aug. 14

4 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT Verde Valley Community Supported Agriculture – CSA

Hilary Barnett, front, and her mother Denise Gould check lettuce as it grows from inside a row cover at their Willowbrook Farm in Camp Verde. The barrier allows 80% of the available light in for growth,” Gould said. “It doesn’t always keep the squirrels out, but it keeps the bugs out pretty much.” VVN/Bill Helm

Hilary Barnett, front, and her mother Denise Gould check lettuce as it grows from inside a row cover at their Willowbrook Farm in Camp Verde. The barrier allows 80% of the available light in for growth,” Gould said. “It doesn’t always keep the squirrels out, but it keeps the bugs out pretty much.” VVN/Bill Helm

VERDE VALLEY — Since 2007, Verde Valley Community Supported Agriculture – CSA – has delivered organic, freshly-picked, local produce to the Verde Valley.

Customers, known as shareholders, buy a portion of the produce grown by local farmers during the growing season. Members’ produce shares are distributed on a weekly basis.

Wednesdays from May 20 through Oct. 14, customers pick up their produce baskets at one of three locations: from 4 to 6 p.m. at Windmill Park, 9950 E. Cornville Road; and from 1 p.m. until 2 p.m. at Willowbrook Farm, 2773 Middle Verde Road in Camp Verde.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sedona pickup has been moved until further notice, Verde Valley CSA Director Meghan Kincheloe said.

The new Sedona pickup is at Running River School, 221 Brewer Road, from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m.

Visit verdevalleycsa.com or email verdevalleycsa@yahoo.com for more information or to be a CSA customer.

1- Has the COVID-19 pandemic affected farmer participation in this year’s CSA?

According to Kincheloe, the “desire for local food has been overwhelming and wonderful.”

“We’ve been getting calls almost every day from people trying to source local meats, eggs and produce,” Kincheloe said. “Our waitlist has more than 30 people on it this year. Last week, we decided to increase the number of shares we offer from 50 to 60 so we could meet some of that demand. We have never served so many shareholders before.” 

2- How do you choose what goes in the weekly basket?

The contents of the baskets vary from week to week and from season to season.

Each week, Verde Valley CSA growers and volunteers decide which crops are ready to harvest, and they then choose 6-10 different items to include in the CSA basket. Items include vegetables and fruits, along with a handful of unusual produce.

Verde Valley CSA’s primary growers are Willowbrook Farm (Camp Verde) and Whipstone Farm (Paulden). Eggs are provided by Sunnyside Farm, Green Creek Farm, Fasteen Farms, Sanders’ Farm, Marilyn’s Orchard, Gratitude Orchard, Fred Wong and Bob Haskill.

3- What if I don’t like something in my basket?

Verde CSA provides a trade basket, where you can place your unwanted items and pick up something else that another shareholder has donated to the basket.

However, most shareholders take home everything in their basket.

One of the benefits of being a shareholder is experimenting with new produce. Verde CSA’s weekly newsletter provides recipes, usually focused on the less typical produce you receive that week.

4- What if I can’t pick up my basket?

Please arrange for someone to pick it up for you. Produce that has not been picked up at the end of distribution is donated.

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