Fresh To You Produce and Garden Center is going back to its roots, said Nancy Hendricks, owner of the business with her husband, Carl. They’re adding Community Supported Agriculture to their services.
“That’s how we started way back when – 10 years ago,” when the couple began their business with a farmstand, Hendricks said.
The CSA concept has gained in popularity across the country in recent years, but theirs is the first in the Santiam Canyon area.
A CSA operates as an agreement between a farmer and the public. The customer purchases a share of a season’s crop in advance and in return receives a box of produce each week. Benefits come to both the grower and the consumer. The farmer gets payment up front, which helps for outlay during planting and maintenance season; and the consumer gets a steady supply of nutritious food for several months.
Fresh To You, located at 41639 Stayton-Scio Road in Stayton, is taking orders now for its 25-week season, which will run June 3 to Nov. 18. The cost comes to $20 a week.
Fresh To You began with 10 to 15 acres of vegetables and Nancy and Carl selling their produce. Along the way they branched out, adding a nursery and landscape clients. As things got busier, the nursery and retail business took over the majority of their time.
Both Nancy and Carl come from long lines of farmers. They are fifth-generation growers in Stayton. Nancy earned a degree at Oregon State University in fruit and vegetable production.
She says their CSA boxes will be different from others.
“The unique thing about us is we grow a lot of fruit also,” so boxes will include cherries, prunes, peaches, apples and a variety of berries. Fresh eggs from the farm and Willamette Valley Cheese also will be available for an extra cost.
Throughout the season the selection will change depending on ripening schedules. The Hendrickses are planting unusual varieties, exposing the consumer to new foods.
“We have 20 different varieties of tomatoes; some purple, yellow and red potatoes; there will be different lettuces, kale, edible pod peas, bok choy …” she said.
If you don’t know what to do with bok choy – a recipe will be tucked in the box. Trying new things is all part of the adventure of eating.
Hendricks said children seem to really enjoy vegetables when they know where they came from. Fresh To
You will have a couple of gatherings on the farm so their CSA partners can bring their families to meet the farmers and tour the garden.
“People are wanting to be more linked to their food,” she said.
Another benefit to CSA participation is that produce picked at the peak of ripeness is more flavorful and has more nutrients.
“Since it tastes better, people eat more” of the healthful foods, she said. “One of our values is to help people eat healthy.”
To find out more, go to www.ftyp.com or call 503-769-9682.