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CSA programs connect community to locally grown foods

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MISSION VALLEY — Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a program offered by The Western Montana Growers Cooperative that connects community members to fresh, locally grown foods.

Program participants purchase small or large shares of fruits and vegetables harvested and delivered weekly to various pick-up locations. Milk, eggs, flour, honey and other locally grown/produced items can also be purchased and added to weekly shares. A weekly CSA delivery includes a variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables along with occasional herbs. A small share contains five to ten items in a weekly delivery while a large share typically has seven to twelve items.

According to CSA Program Manager Autumn Lee, 15 local farms contribute to the program. One of those is Swift Current Farms - who provides nutrient dense mushrooms, such as Lion’s Mane, and many others to the CSA. Swift Current Farms is a family-owned business located in Stevensville, Montana, that aims to preserve natural resourses while limiting their carbon footprint. Main farms that grow the most for the CSA program include Foothill Farm, Ploughshare Farm, Lowdown Farm, Rocky Mountain Produce and Harlequin Produce.

Mixed Meat shares are also available through the CSA program. The meats included in this share are chicken, pork, beef, and lamb provided in a variety of cuts including chops, ground, steaks, roasts and sausages. The summer CSA season is fast approaching and runs from May 23-Oct. 3 for fruits and vegetables. The season for meat starts a week later running from May 30-Oct. 3. There is also a fall season that runs from Oct. 10 to Nov. 14 for later harvest items (such as apples and squash). Those interested in signing up for CSA shares can do so by visiting: Once there, create or log into an existing account, go to account overview and click “shop subscriptions.” Use code “MIXEDMEAT” for an early bird discount on meat before April 30; use code “EARLYBIRD2” for the early bird discount on fresh fruits and vegetables before April 1. Shares may be purchased after these dates but the early bird discount will no longer apply.

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