Tired of the lines at the weekend farmers markets? How about getting a box of freshly picked, organically grown seasonal produce, delivered every week to a convenient neighborhood location, or even to your door? All you have to do is subscribe to a community-supported agriculture group linked with a small farm. In San Francisco, subscribers to Terra Firma (a 40-acre farm in Winters) get weekly organic produce deliveries, enough fruit and vegetables for an average family of four (you can share with another family), for $175 for three months, or $60 for a trial month. They also get a newsletter with farm news, preparation tips, and recipes. According to coordinator Marcy Freedman (415-826-7198), the boxes are 90 percent vegetables (in summer: sweet corn, tomatoes, basil, green beans, summer squash, and cucumbers, plus year-round veggies like onions, potatoes, and carrots) and 10 percent fruit (summer watermelon, cantaloupe, plums, and grapes). Over 200 boxes are delivered weekly in San Francisco and the East Bay to neighborhood locations. Mark Burnett's An Organized Garden delivers weekly boxes of organic fruit and vegetables to homes on the Peninsula from his nine acres of farmland in Santa Cruz and Portola Valley. Minimum delivery is $15 per week (which feeds two people); you can custom order as well. There's a waiting list for San Francisco service, which will start at the end of August. Call (415) 917-1000. Dish recently had some raspberries from Burnett's farm and can testify to their lusciousness. And if you're going beyond organic to biodynamic farming (no sprays or pesticides, plus methods to improve the soil) you can become a shareholder in Live Power Community Farm in Covelo. The 54 city shareholders join clusters, and once every seven weeks members sort the produce and deliver it to their group. Cost is $700 for the May-through-December season. Call Barbara Allen at (415) 564-2287. Both Terra Firma and Live Power sponsor work days and social events on the farms.
A Maize-ing Grace
Summer means corn. For the past couple of weeks, dinner Chez Dish every night has meant fresh corn, popped into boiling water for a maximum of two minutes and served on the cob with a touch of butter, salt, and pepper. For fellow maize enthusiasts, Corn, a gorgeous new cookbook by David Tanis, formerly of the Cafe at Chez Panisse, is a treat, if only for the seductive photos of varieties such as Silver Queen, Burpee's Peppy, and Early Sunglow. And the recipes, from spicy Bombay popcorn to fresh corn and roasted duck tamales with smoked chile, are tantalizing. Corn is published by CollinsPublishers San Francisco.
By Barbara Lane