Over the many years we have been farming in Arizona, we have taken notice of what some may call a magic act. A disappearing act to be exact. The contestant; Arizona farmlands. However, there is no illusion. It is not a trick. It is a reality. Once farmland has been developed for housing, manufacturing, or other infrastructure, it is gone. There is no going back behind the curtain to find our farmlands waiting in the wings. And, in most recent years this “magical disappearing act” has seemed to increase at a steady rate. With this, we become increasingly more dependent upon other states and countries to grow our food.
This is why it is important now more than ever, to support your local farmer. In doing so, you are investing in the security of your state’s food supply. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs, are an amazing way to show your support of local agriculture. Through a CSA program you are supported by receiving food you can trust because you know the farm and the farmer. They are your neighbors! In turn, the farmer can continue producing high quality crops that feed your family. And, Arizona farmlands continue on for generations to come.
The CSA members of Blue Sky Organic Farms make a huge impact on the vitality of our Farm. We appreciate their consistent support because they help us to continue living our passion in growing beautiful food. Our CSA members are varied and unique, creating this beautiful tapestry of people. In honor of these individuals and their commitment to our farm, we are introducing our first CSA Member Spotlight.
~Honoring those who continue to put their faith in our farm. Thank you!
Without further ado, I am pleased to introduce CSA member, Hope Mendrin!
I am so honored to be the very first CSA Member Spotlight. My name is Hope Mendrin. My husband Jacob and I, own and operate our local family business, Pool Care Arizona. I love supporting local gems – Blue Sky Organic Farms has become a part of our everyday life.
What are some of your favorite hobbies? I love to keep active by going hiking regularly in our surrounding mountains. Photography is my passion and I just love capturing special moments, local scenery or pictures of my food. I enjoy baking fresh naturally leavened sourdough bread and eating it. My food obsession is pretty real, too. Super health conscious, but I enjoy my little treats.
How did you hear about Blue Sky Organic Farms? I stumbled across Blue Sky Organic Farms in 2015. I was looking for a local supplier for honey and Google recommended Blue Sky Organic Farms. I continued to buy fresh vegetables here and there at the farm store and when they attended farmers markets. I hadn’t signed up to the CSA box until recently and wished I have done so sooner!
What is your favorite part of being a CSA member? I love being a CSA member and always having the comfort that my produce is LOCAL and FRESH! I love visiting the store and exploring new finds or simply having a great conversation with the staff. (Okay, that’s my favorite part, maybe they need to start up a coffee shop, too?) No more being stuck in a veggie rut and I love being surprised every time with new selections. I also don’t have to make regular trips to farmers markets, just straight to the farm source! A CSA box makes it easy for us to get dark leafy greens, brightly colored veggies and sulphur-rich vegetables into our diet. These are veggie protocol guidelines to boost nutrient diversity from Dr. Terry Wahls M.D.
Do you have any tips for making the most of your CSA Farm Box? (storing, meal planning, etc.) I store my CSA box in the fridge. I take the bag out of the box and lay it on the shelf. Since everything is so fresh I can go two weeks without needing to transfer to individual ziplock bags or into the fresh drawer. Herbs and long onions are stored stem down in a glass jar filled with water and ziplock bag over the top to keep fresh. If I’m feeling like the week will be busy and I know what meals are on the menu, I will pre-cut the vegetables and store them in glass containers. Thank you Blue Sky Farms for pre-washing the bagged greens, this saves so much time.
Do you have a favorite vegetable? I have always loved a variety of vegetables so it is very hard to choose just one. I am always creating odd and exciting veggie dishes. Right now I am loving collard greens. I’ve included a recipe below of my favorite way to eat it. Other favorites include: spring mix (salads for days), cauliflower (rice alternative), citrus (love a squeeze on everything), and white turnips (just as is, delicious!).
Is there a vegetable that stumps you in the kitchen? White daikon radish. I opened my box and I was like, “what am I going to do with this?”… I love going online and finding new and different recipes so I can make the most out of the unusual pickings in my boxes. I found a recipe online for radish french fries, that didn’t end well. So next time I am going to try pickled daikon radish colored with red beets.
Why do you choose to eat organic produce? I choose to eat organic produce because it is simply more nutritious and less dangerous to my health. I’m not perfect in my eating habits, but I know one thing, with the help of a CSA box, I get a healthy rotation of vegetables grown in healthier local soil with natural fertilizers and no use of harmful chemicals. Win win! Most importantly, I truly feel a difference when going organic in the way my body feels. Our human bodies are truly magnificent.
What is your favorite new item in our Farm Store? Recently the farm store added Honey Mama’s dairy-free chocolate. I find myself trying a new flavor each visit. It is so tasty and full of simple ingredients. There is an empty packet, pictured below because it was gone in one sitting. Don’t judge. It is that good! The peppermint flavor is good, too!
Do you have an easy to prepare recipe(s) you would like to share with our readers? Collard greens have a delicious earthy taste and I love it with a pairing of citrus. Here’s a staple recipe we have been enjoying.
- Slice and saute collard greens in olive oil or ghee on medium heat (optional: add garlic, ginger or herbs at this time).
- Squeeze in ¼ to ½ of a lemon. Stir until just aldente. Serve as a side or eat on its own. Sprinkle sea-salt to taste.
Thank you, Hope! This collards dish looks delicious and easy to prepare!
We also wish to thank each of you who support us by sharing about our farm with your friends and family, shopping at our Farm Store, and our Farmer’s Market booths. We wouldn’t be here without our community. Cheers to the safety and security of Arizona farmlands! Cheers to health and well-being! Until next time friends, be well.
If you are interested in supporting our farm in a great way, please follow this link to sign up to become a CSA member. http://blueskyorganicfarms.csaware.com/store/