Intimate Interactions Using CSA model to know your farmer
By Amanda Kelly
n San Diego, our neighborhood farmers’ markets are plentiful with organic produce and sustainably raised meats. What’s more, our markets span nearly every day of the week.
Photo: Chris Rov Costa
At the end of March I visited Phil Noble of Sage Mountain Farm and Beef to discuss his meat CSA and how the community can help small farmers like himself thrive by buying directly from them. Farmers’ markets provide an Adrian of Sage Mountain Farms shows off spicy pork Italian sausages in the current CSA package. essential space for earth-conscious meat consumers and small farmers to CSA may also include cerveza beef, which reception he and his wife have received over come together in supporting sustainable Noble receives through partnerships with the years from customers at the markets. agriculture. Without markets, or the model local breweries. This is a win-win situation Noble says the best ways help local farms of community-supported agriculture in terms of sustainability as thousands of are to purchase a CSA share, shop at your (CSA), many of our most cherished pounds of leftover brewer’s mash stay out local market or frequent businesses that small farms would go out of business. of landfills and supplement the animals’ source from farmers. Every dime you CSA programs support farmers in raising all-vegetable diet. spend locally goes a long way to keeping healthy livestock throughout the year and, “The CSA model keeps our farms small small farms in business. in turn, shareholders receive a prearranged and running throughout the year, ” Noble quantity of meat per month. “It’s priceless. It does something to you,” says. “If we cannot get support from our Noble says of his experience at the farmers’ The grass-fed beef that Noble sells at communities, farmers either go out of markets. “It is incredible to interact with weekly markets in Hillcrest and Little Italy business or turn to less sustainable, even somebody that loves what you’re doing.” and through Sage Mountain Beef CSA is agribusiness, models to keep afloat.” raised at partner ranches in Santa Maria For more information about Sage Mountain began as a garden in Phil and or Woodlake. Historic drought across the Sage Mountain Beef CSA, visit his wife, Juany’s, backyard and has evolved state creates challenging conditions to SageMountainFarm.com. into a full-fledged operation that now raise grass-fed beef in Southern California. includes growing certified organic produce His green-fed beef, which means the Amanda Kelly is a freelance writer based in San and raising sustainable beef and pork. Phil’s livestock are raised on a mixed diet of Diego. Her roots rest somewhere between the experience stems from what he learned about certified organic, seasonal produce like Pacific Northwest and the headwaters of the gardening as a child. beets, arugula or kale, is raised in southern Mississippi River. She strives to inspire a greater Riverside County. Noble allows his appreciation for Mother Earth through the art “It really goes back to my dad,” he says. “I of storytelling and living each day naturally and customers to select the type of meat and don’t know that I would have put in a big to its fullest. A portfolio of her published works is cuts that they receive each month. garden when I first moved out to the country
At any given time during the year, the 20
edible San Diego
if I had not experienced that growing up.” He also attributes the success of his farm to the
available at Amandakkelly.wordpress.com.
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