Fresh Off the Farm to Your Fork

Rancho Cordova, CA (MPG)  |  Story and Photos by Aubrielle Hvolboll
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Farm workers tend to fresh, leafy greens still in the ground.

  Share this pic with friends!

Farm workers tend to fresh, leafy greens still in the ground and follow with an initial quick wash.

Soil Born Offers a Special Local Service

Rancho Cordova’s well known urban agriculture education project, Soil Born Farms, is gearing up for its Spring/Summer Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) season, and it still has spots available for community members who would like to eat seasonal produce, support local agriculture and contribute to a number of education programs offered through the farm. Working in the field to harvest this week’s CSA, Elle Huftill-Balzer, a CSA manager, picks Deep Purple scallions while another group of Soil Born’s staff focuses on D'Avignon radishes and Jericho lettuce. Also among them are a volunteer and a first-year apprentice.

“We’re not just a production farm, we’re an educational farm. We run Harvest Sacramento [and] A Garden in Every School Symposium, working with school gardens. We have youth groups come out here and work in the Youth Garden; we do tours, field trips, nutritional outreach with adults and kids, as well as the adult apprenticeship program,” said Huftill-Balzer, who has been with Soil Born since 2010 and has run the CSA for the past two years.

When purchasing the Soil Born CSA, buyers get much more than just a box of vegetables: they are supporting a number of programs that cultivate community knowledge and futures in agriculture. This includes opportunities for CSA members themselves, who are invited to get to know the farm and the people who grow their food.

“People who come out to the farm to pick up their box, they’ll bring their kids and go for a walk around the farm. It brings them out of their normal life and see, ‘This is what agriculture looks like, this is where my food comes from,’” said Huftill-Balzer. CSA members are also invited to a number of the farm’s calendar events that range from Introduction to Urban Backyard Beekeeping on May 6th to Homegrown Herbalism on June 6th.

A Soil Born CSA box includes 8-10 of that week’s organic, seasonal fruits and vegetables. Purple cherry tomatoes, figs and peaches, white-striped eggplant, and other unique varieties can all be expected during the program’s 24-week run from May 24th through November 1st.

“We cover the broad categories, but then there are the fun varieties within that,” said Huftill-Balzer.

Community members may sign up to receive a box every week or every other week, with pickup on Wednesdays at any of three locations in Sacramento. The farm is open to the public M-F 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., closed Sundays. Office hours are M-F, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Their American River Rancho location is at 2140 Chase Dr., Rancho Cordova, CA. For more information on Soil Born and their CSA program, visit them online at soilborn.org or call 916-363-9685.

Farm workers tend to fresh, leafy greens still in the ground.Farm workers tend to fresh, leafy greens still in the ground and follow with an initial quick wash.Volunteers, community members and students of all ages get down and dirty as well as energetically up to their elbows during the growing and harvesting seasons.Volunteers, community members and students of all ages get down and dirty as well as energetically up to their elbows during the growing and harvesting seasons.