2015 Local Farmer Open Houses

MKEFarmerOpenHouseAre you looking to join the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) movement in 2015? Well, you’re in luck. On March 7 and March 8, 2015, there are two free farmer open houses in Milwaukee and Madison, Wis., where the public can get up close and personal with Wisconsin farmers and sign up for CSA subscriptions.

The Riverside Park Urban Ecology Center in Milwaukee, is hosting the 13th Annual Local Farmer Open House on Saturday, March 7, from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Over 15 CSA farms will be on hand, including Backyard Bounty, Full Harvest Farm, HighCross Farm, JenEhr Family Farm, LotFotL Community Farm, Old Plank Farm, Pinehold Gardens, Rare Earth Farm, Stems Cut Flowers, Three Sisters Community Farm, Tipi Produce, Turtle Creek Gardens, Wellspring, Wild Ridge Farm, Willoway Farm, and Young Farmers CSA.

Besides getting to know the farmers, their growing practices, and what they have for sale, the event also consists of two workshops throughout the day. Jamie Ferschinger, the Urban Ecology Center’s Riverside Park branch manager, will give an “Introduction to CSAs” (11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.), and Annie Wegner LeFort of the Mindful Palate, cooking instructor and master food preserver, will share ideas on “Eating Healthy All Year.” (12 p.m. and 12:45 p.m.) Learn how to use the contents of a weekly CSA box to prepare quick, healthy meals, shopping farmers markets, preserving, and more.

FairshareCoalitionOpenHouseIf you live in the Madison area, the FairShare CSA Coalition’s 23rd annual CSA Open House is being held on Sunday, March 8 from 1 to 4 p.m. at Monona Terrace.

This year 36 CSA farmers who deliver to the Madison area and beyond will be on hand. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet with CSA growers and attend two workshops, including “Making the Most of Your CSA Share, presented by Pat Mulvey of Local Thyme CSA Menu Planning Service (1 p.m. and 3 p.m.), and “What’s in the Box? CSA for Newbies,” (2-2:30 p.m.) a panel discussion where the public can ask questions of experienced CSA members and farmers.

For more information on these events, visit urbanecologycenter.org and csacoalition.org.

FAQs for CSA Farmers

  • Where (and when) are your pick-up sites?
  • What is the length of your season/number of deliveries?
  • Describe the size, contents and cost of your share(s).
  • What do you offer besides vegetables? Can I make any choices about what’s in the box? Can I order extras?
  • Do you offer worker shares? Payment plans? Have an assistance fund? Do you take the Quest card? Electronic payment?
  • What are your growing and production practices? (Certified organic? Sustainably grown?)
  • Can I visit your farm? Do you have open houses? U-pick days? Do you have a newsletter?