Five more farms to use Grainery as drop zone

Grainery supporter Oscar Jarsky, 9, helps his mom Lorrie prepare for the 5 p.m. rush of CSA customers.

Andre Bellefeuille almost drops the eggs as he picks up his vegetables on Tuesday. It's his first year in this community supported agriculture program.

HALIFAX — One farm used the Grainery Food Co-op last spring as a place to deliver family-sized boxes of vegetables directly to customers. This summer there could be as many as six farms doing the same thing.

The Agricola Street store is busy from the new popularity of community supported agriculture, or CSAs, where farmers bypass selling to wholesalers and instead deliver regularly to people who pre-order “shares” in the season’s crop.

Grainery volunteer Janet King says by helping farmers deliver their food boxes, the co-op is seeing new people come in the door. That is helping the co-op sell more of the grains, beans and eggs it carries on its own shelves.

“We probably have 30 or 40 more people coming into the store on a weekly basis,” King says. “And it means we have more regular hours because we’re always open, because of (TapRoot Farms on Tuesday), and Wednesday because of Moonfire Farm.”

In addition to TapRoot and Moonfire, farms in Cumberland, Hants, and Annapolis counties have set up the Grainery as their CSA pickup spot. They include meat farmer Danny Bruce, who is offering subscriptions to a monthly all-beef box.

“It’s a quarter of a beef, but I’d sell it to you over six months,” he says.

Bruce, who has sold through the Farmer’s Market, said he first discussed the idea of a CSA a few years ago with Grainery members, but “when I approached them they were all vegetarian.”

This year, the Grainery agreed to help distribute the organic meat Bruce produces. He said people are slowly getting used to the idea of a CSA that doesn’t involve vegetables. Halifax members pay $60 for a monthly delivery of 10 pounds of beef, cut into smaller packages like steaks, roasts and ground beef. Bruce hopes to sign up 20 members this summer.

TapRoot owner Patricia Bishop, the farmer who first agreed to deliver to the Grainery last year, now drops off nearly 50 boxes of vegetables each week. She also delivers to locations in Dartmouth and Hammonds Plains.

Charlie, 4, and Sian McKenna take their box from the pile during TapRoot Farms' weekly pickup.

“People who are signing on to this need to understand that what they are doing is making a tremendous impact to the face of agriculture in this province,” said Bishop. She said if CSAs continue to grow at this pace more farmers will benefit.

“We will see a huge change in the age and the face of agriculture in Nova Scotia: younger, smaller, sustainable, profitable farm operations.”

Brenna Koneczny, of Vista Bella Farm in Malagash, Cumberland Co., is one of those young farmers. Vista Bella’s CSA will do its pickup Mondays starting June 21. When she and her husband were brainstorming for a possible drop location in Halifax she remembered the co-op from when she recently lived in the city.

“I didn’t even realize they were in connection with a whole bunch of others CSAs,” said the former Grainery volunteer. “I just thought of it and contacted them and they had told me they already had CSAs on the go. So there must have been a few people thinking alike.”

Whippletree Farm, of Hants County, and a farmer intending to specialize in root vegetables are other CSAs intending to use the Grainery this season.

Directions: The Grainery Food Co-operative is at 2385 Agricola Street. A meeting for new co-op members is scheduled April 27. To join a farm CSA contact the farmer directly.

© Copyright 2008-2009 North and Agricola

1 Response to “Five more farms to use Grainery as drop zone”

  1. 1 Tammy McLeod April 16, 2010 at 9:48 am

    Great neighborhood you have there! It’s impressive to see so much concentrated CSA participation.

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