This is the sixteenth in a series of posts on Happyday Farms, the CSA (Community Sponsored Agriculture) located up here on Bell Springs Road, run by Casey, Amber, Lito and Courtney.
I am only an observer in the theater which constitutes Happyday Farms, someone who stays well out of the way, and who tries to lasso a few images with my camera that I can share with those who take an interest in the availability of fresh, healthy food options.
In an era where one can no longer trust the local grocery store to provide wholesome produce, it’s nice to know where you can turn, to guarantee that you and your family have access to a healthy alternative. So preparing for market in Laytonville on Mondays, presents organized frenzy as the theme of the day, and the fact that everyone knows his or her role, paves the way.
There are at least five individuals handling the harvesting, cleaning, prepping, packaging and final preparations for hooking up CSA members with their shares. CSA, or Community-Sponsored Agriculture, is a program that links consumers with the small, organic farmer, so that each week, a share of fresh produce awaits customers at market. Additionally, Courtney sets up tables for displaying fresh produce in town, for anyone who stops by to purchase.
I focus on snapshots of the harvesting and cleaning process, and I also takes pics of what is growing on the farm on that day. Each Monday, when I post from 15-20 pics on face-book, I include images of flowers, rows of greens or brassicas, and I post a lot of photos of tomatoes growing. I am convinced we will have red tomatoes in early July, if not late June with the heat we have been experiencing.
As far as the CSA goes, in a perfect world, the consumer pays in advance, so that the farmer not only does not have to wait for harvest, he also has the money in hand to continue the operation of the farm. In either case, the cost of the share is always going to be less than what it would have cost to go to the hippie store in Ukiah and buy the same produce. Plus, it’s fresher.
One facet of Market day includes the gathering together of everyone at noon for a big spread, prepared by Annie. There is always a green salad and fresh veggies from the farm, and there is always a main entree, most often than not, comprised of meat grown on the farm.
Considering how much there is to be done prior to lunch, there is always a collective sigh of relief when the pace returns to normal. And this is only for the market in Laytonville, on Mondays. There is the Wednesday market at the quarry, and in past years there was the Harris market on Fridays.
I think Harris may be left off the ticket this season, but there will certainly be a replacement, maybe Willits, which has been in the discussion for years, and maybe a different environment entirely. With such a bountiful and beautiful assortment of goods available, Happyday Farms would fit happily into any comparable venue.