Feb 29, 2012 04:08PM
By Jon D'Auria
Luckily for Tucsonans, the vast landscape of the Southwest desert is blessed with seasonal crops of vegetables, fruits and produce that is cultivated and harvested by local farmers and prepared for community supported agriculture (CSA) pick-ups. Contrary to what may be perceived about the arid land we live in, the desert soil bears bountiful and healthy treats such as carrots, broccoli, apples, citrus, melons, leafy greens, cucumbers, cauliflower, peppers, beans, squash, potatoes, herbs and what seems to be an endless list of other delectable crops. Helping Tucsonans bring the farm-totable mentality home, here a few of the prominent CSA organizations that bridge that gap between local farmers and local foodies.
Tucson Community Supported Agriculture (TCSA) has been serving the community for more than eight years, with a focus on sustaining the local environment, supporting local farmers and bringing delicious, homegrown flavors to the residents of Old Pueblo. Located in the Historic Y on 300 East University Boulevard at 4th Avenue, the TCSA specializes in produce, cheeses, breads and grass-fed meats that are entirely organic, pesticidefree and grown locally at Crooked Sky Farms. TCSA offers recipes for each individual item of produce purchased by its members and offers pick-up days every Tuesday and Wednesday. Visit TucsonCSA.org.
Sleeping Frog Farms (SFF) is beautiful, 75-acre farm located in the Cascabel corridor of the San Pedro River Valley. The dedicated crew of farmers founded the farm using permaculture design and biodynamic growing techniques. Sleeping Frog focuses on growing heirloom fruits and vegetables, but also raises laying hens, dairy goats and honeybees to provide the freshest eggs, cheese and honey. Not only does the SFF run their own CSA, but they also have programs for farm-to-school and food co-ops and supply many Tucson restaurants with their delicious foods. You can find Sleeping Frog produce at their three CSA pickup locations at St. Phillips Farmers’ Market, on Sunday mornings, at the Food Conspiracy Co-op, on Sunday afternoons, and at Civano Community School, on Wednesdays. Visit SleepingFrogFarms.com.
Sunizona Family Farms was founded in 2002 in Wilcox, Arizona, and has become a local and regional favorite for fresh produce and sustainable agriculture. Cultivating seasonal outdoor crops and utilizing the Arizona sun with their greenhouses, Sunizona functions year round to bring residents of Southern Arizona the freshest fruits, vegetables and microgreens possible. Their CSA, which is affectionately called “The Farm Box,” offers both standard boxes and customizable boxes of produce that can be picked up weekly at Mercado San Agustin, Harvest Restaurant, Hacienda Del Sol, Renee’s Organic Oven, Second Street School and Barefoot Studio. With this many options, you have no excuse not to join in on the harvest. Visit SunizonaFamilyFarms.com.