small bites

Worden Farm CSA

By Vanessa Caceres / Photography By Kathryn Brass-Piper | January 12, 2018
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If you visit the Sarasota Farmers Market or the Saturday Morning Market in St. Petersburg, you’ve likely seen the colorful, busy display areas from Punta Gorda–based Worden Farm. The organic operation is well known in our area for its bounty of beautiful produce.

Now, if you live or work near Lakewood Ranch, getting that produce has become a little easier. The community of Lakewood Ranch has partnered with Worden Farm to offer a community-supported agriculture (CSA) harvest subscription program for 20 weeks. With a CSA, you pay a set amount of money and every week you receive in-season vegetables fresh from the farm.

A typical box includes a head of lettuce, a bunch of kale, a bunch of carrots, a quart of tomatoes, a quart of squash, a bunch of scallions, a quart of green beans, and a bunch of basil, according to the Lakewood Ranch site promoting the CSA. The bushel box of veggies is about the size of a file storage box typically found in offices, Worden says. The amount of veggies is enough to support two people who cook most of their meals at home or four people who may eat out sometimes, says Eva Worden, who operates the farm with her husband, Chris. If you have a smaller household, you could share the box with a friend or neighbor, she suggests.

Once in a while, the Wordens will include less-common items in their boxes, such as daikon or kohlrabi. A staple every week in the boxes will be the farm’s leafy greens.

The veggie boxes are available for pickup every Wednesday from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Sarasota Polo Club as part of the new farmers’ market at Lakewood Ranch. Both the market and the CSA program will take place in December through April. The new market features the CSA pickup and vendors like Grove Ladder Farm, Sarasota Honey, and Fermentlicious as well as cooking demonstrations as other health and wellness products.

You don’t necessarily have to live or work in Lakewood Ranch to take advantage of the CSA, Worden says. The only requirement is that you be able to pick up your box on Wednesdays.

Worden Farm operates other CSAs in Southwest Florida. “We’re really excited about working with Lakewood Ranch,” Worden says. There are chefs in Lakewood Ranch who already use produce from Worden Farm, including those at some of the area’s country clubs, Worden says.

The new CSA is a natural fit for Lakewood Ranch, which emphasizes healthy living, says Monaca Onstad, director of community relations for Lakewood Ranch communities. Expect to see other collaborations between the community and Worden. “We think the world of Eva and Chris,” Onstad says.

The cost of the CSA program is $580, which averages out to $29 a week over the 20-week season. There has been a lot of buzz around the program, just as the Wordens have encountered in other areas with their CSA. People who sign up year after year have said they are thrilled with the variety. “They say it’s like Christmas every week,” she says. “It’s freshness beyond what you can find anywhere else.”

For more information, go to lakewoodranch.com/life-on-the-ranch/worden-farm

Article from Edible Sarasota at http://ediblesarasota.ediblecommunities.com/shop/worden-farm-csa
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