I’ve fielded some questions lately from our members about the quality of and sources of the food that is in our shares and offered as Extras. I think some of the answers below might help folks in general get a better view of where to go for good food and some of the broader implications.
With the Romaine lettuce recall, growing understanding of the prevalence and harm of pesticides and lack of transparency and honesty in our larger food system, it’s very understandable that, even in the realm of local foods and CSA, people are nervous about their food and are rightly asking questions! The CDC had to ban all Romaine lettuce in November because the tainted lettuce could not be tracked accurately enough back to the growers to single out the problematic stream. Meanwhile, our members were eating Romaine we knew was grown, handled safely, and delivered by a farm we trusted directly into their hands.
The key here is knowing your growers or at least buying directly through someone you trust who knows the growers! This direct to consumer relationship supports the grower in setting the bar higher, knowing people care and are paying attention, sustaining their resolve for integrity and continual improvement, and vigilant to sustain their families, their crew, their land. their businesses, and all the life that supports and is affected by their growing.
A foundational purpose and value of Shared Harvest is supporting local growers who care for their land and communities. Our entire share and most of our Extras are grown within 100 miles of our pickup location by small scale family farms that I know personally. Our shares are composed of 100% certified organic veggies, certified organic dried beans, and IPM apples (see below). I’ve become personally acquainted with the land and know the farmers that grow the shares and most of our Extras, including those who sell us meat and cheese.
All of the Extras we offer are made of food grown only in New England (with few exceptions like salt or spices). Many farmers markets and farm stands, including Wright-Locke, widen the offerings to include small scale local producers who may source ingredients from regions beyond. At some pickups, we make available this broader offering as “Extra Extras”, as we help Wright-Locke and Picadilly close down their regular season inventory of added value goods.
2. While they are not certified, Noah and Sophie at Alprilla Farm work in harmony with a beautiful landscape, surrounded by biodiverse natural forest, grassland, and marshland communities, use smart holistic farm planning and management, and teach classes on biological soil regeneration for other growers and gardeners. In comparison to certified organic in stores or at the farmers market, their food is the same or better nutritionally and certainly safe from pesticides. This season’s
Extras from Alprilla included garlic, shallots, potatoes, beets, celeriac, parsnips,and the grain flours. Alprilla utilizes the latest in soil-building practices, including holistically managed grazing, carefully trained and timed animal impact in the crop fields (with oxen!), carefully balanced compost and soil amendments, and the invaluable effect of vigilant growers in the field every day.