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high-end local restaurants and a weekly farmers market. He and his wife, Caitlin Law, decided to return to North Carolina to start their own farm, and Red’s Quality Acre came into existence in 2015. “Dave went to Chicago with the goal of learning as much as he could, [and then] return home and grow for his community,” Caitlin says. They grew on one acre that first season and have grown to two acres of production, utilizing all organic and sustainable practices, having been Certified Naturally Grown (a peer-reviewed certification process for small farmers) – for the past two seasons. Apart from their CSA, they also sell wholesale to Weaver Street Market and Durham restaurants. Red’s CSA is comprised of about 50-60 members a season (April-October) with a variety of share options in order to make it sustainable, accessible and enjoyable for members. This year, Red’s has drop-off locations in Watts-Hillandale and at the farm, off Mt. Sinai Rd. on the border of Durham and Orange County. “We [also] do a bi-weekly drop off at Big Spoon Roasters for their staff, who receive an annual CSA stipend, as well as a bi-weekly CSA at Carolina Friends School for the staff and families,” Caitlin says. “We think CSAs are a mutually successful model for farmers and consumers alike,” Caitlin adds. “By joining, a member is providing the essential capital farmers need to buy seeds, soil amendments and other large costs to get the season started. We spend [close to] 80% (excluding labor) of our annual budget in the winter and early spring, while very little is being grown and sales are at their lowest.” Caitlin says they ask that CSA members sign up before the season starts, but are happy to accommodate new members who email email@example.com.
FRESH FROM THE FARMSTAND
Funny Girl Farm’s first CSA was a simple egg share when the
farm started about five years ago. “At that time, we had more pasture-raised eggs than we could sell!” says Marketing and Sales Manager Casey Roe. “Now customers clamor over our eggs, and we have a modern, flexible and convenient farmstand CSA [where] members can choose from all of our farmstand offerings.” Funny Girl’s CSA is unique in that way – members can just drop by the farmstand on their own schedule during its regular hours and shop from a diverse array of consciously grown vegetables and fruits, eggs, mushrooms, honey, cheeses, meats and much more. “We load a card in your name and keep a running balance for you, so you can shop at your pace and don’t miss out if you go out of town,” Casey says. “We offer half-shares and pro-rated shares. We’ll find a CSA share amount that works, and your balance rolls from one session to the next. We want our CSA to work for you!”
The farmstand also offers a chance to meet the farmers you’re buying from and see how your food is grown on special CSA member tours. Other perks include member deals: One or more farmstand items are on sale for CSA members each week, and returning members earn a bonus farmstand credit (up to $25). “Our CSA members support the success of our small farm, the local economy, opportunities for beginning farmers, and mindful stewardship of the land and soil,” Casey says. “Upfront payment helps us to invest in seeds, supplies, equipment and our farmers.” Funny Girl is accepting signups for its fall (September-November) and fall and winter (September 2018-February 2019) farmstand CSA sessions. Find more info at funnygirlfarm.wixsite.com/funnygirlfarm/csa.
Get It GreenToGo
REENTOGO JUST WRAPPED UP ITS INAUGURAL YEAR of implementation as the first city-wide reusable, returnable takeout container service on the East Coast. Offering restaurant customers the option of choosing reusable containers rather than throwaway boxes, people pay $25 for a one-box membership (which covers costs of the box, return stations, operations and management, etc.), receive their food in the box(es) from participating restaurants, take the food home to eat it, and then return the containers to any station in town. GreenToGo collects the containers, transports them to the central wash facility for cleaning and sanitation, and then redistributes them to the restaurants. Currently available in 25 restaurants, GreenToGo expands to an average of three new restaurants each month. In July, COPA, Dain’s Place and GRUB Durham joined the list, and Blue Corn Cafe and the new Neomonde location downtown were slated to join in August. “We’re taking our experience and best practices to the next level by exploring how reuse systems like ours can be scaled to other industries,” says Crystal Dreisbach, executive director of Don’t Waste Durham, which manages GreenToGo. “We are also currently developing a new technology that will automate and simplify our existing system. We expect it to improve the customer checkout and return experience, strengthen inventory management and further expand our positive environmental and economic impact.” For a list of participating restaurants, visit durhamgreentogo.com/restaurants.
THE FOOD & DRINK ISSUE