Monday, November 10, 2008

Happy Children and the Holidays

One of my goals at Frog Hollow Farm (and in my daily life) is to connect people with their local farmers. Working on the farm, I have a great opportunity to do just that while having my finger on the pulse, so to speak. I think it's just as important to know your farmer as it is to know your doctor or your child's teacher. After all, we eat every day! I want to know how the food I'm putting in my mouth and in the mouths of my family got to my table. I have been a member of a CSA for 8 years and I love the excitement of seeing what's in my box each week as well as the comfort of knowing that a farmer I know grew, picked and packed that food with care.

Frog Hollow Farm has some great ways for eaters to connect with us directly. One way is our Happy Child CSA, another is our mail order business and a third is through local farmers' markets. As the holidays approach, I'd like to suggest some great ways to use these to achieve multiple goals: support local, organic family farmers, buy outstanding gifts and give your friends and family something they can feel good about.

This year for the first time, Happy Child CSA is now offering gift certificates. If you know someone who would like to try a CSA, this is a great opportunity. In addition to getting a weekly box of "legendary fruit" CSA members receive other benefits. Frog Hollow products can be had at a great discount. Our CSA coordinator, Karen, goes out of her way to meet the needs of all members. For more about CSA see: USDA-Community Supported Agriculture or Local Harvest CSA is great for the farm. We value the fact that members are willing to invest up front to support our ongoing operations. We are on the front lines of the battle to conserve farm land in the Bay Area and we love to know that we have neighbors who want us to succeed. The "dividends" you receive as an active investor and supporter are weekly boxes of the most delicious organic fruit from us and our neighbors.

This year for the holidays we have contacted some great artisans to compliment our fruit and fruit products. Josh and Carolyn at Rustic Bakery in Marin County are baking some amazing whole grain sourdough lavosh to compliment our Asian pear chutney. When paired with San Joaquin Gold cheese from the Fiscalini Cheese Company these are a wonderful autumn treat. The Fiscalini family make farmstead cheeses we were sold on from the first bite. We are also offering their extra mature bandage-wrapped cheddar with our creamy and juicy Warren pears. This is an unbeatable combo! All these great foods will soon be available on our website along with some new pastries and our holiday gift packs. We hope that when you buy the combinations we have created you will appreciate the artisans we have invited to join us and seek them out.

Farmers' markets are the most direct of all direct marketing options. When I'm at a market, I love to see the shoppers' faces when they bite into that perfect fruit or taste summer in a little spoon of conserve. Here in California we go year round. Right now, we are selling Bosc pears, Warren pears and some Taylor's Gold pears. When May comes, everyone is excited to see cherries and apricots but now is the time for fruits that keep. These pears will nourish my family right through the winter. I like to poach them and keep them on a visible shelf in beautiful glass jars. Along with my jars of tomatoes, pickled peppers and olives, they remind me of our bounty. Isn't that what this time of year is about?

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