Pick your peppers

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If you feel that signing up for one of the six local CSAs is a bit like playing a game of musical chairs, one Albemarle farm is doing its part to make sure everyone finds a seat at the Community Supported Agriculture table.

Says Bellair Farm CSA Manager Jamie Barrett, “Our goal is to connect families to the land and their food.”

To do that, Barrett and farm owner Cynthia Davis will encourage shareholders to visit the 16-acre farm directly for pickup. The two have set up the share room to resemble a farmer’s market, where CSAers can load up on what they need rather than what the farmers choose for them, eliminating that pesky problem common with CSAs: an inconvenient surplus of unwanted veggies. Beyond what gets thrown in the brown paper share bag, participants can also nab fresh herbs, flowers and beans from the farm’s pick-your-own fields.

Barret says he and Davis plan to host weekly workshops on topics like canning and composting and will offer plenty of opportunities for volunteers. “Fencing, irrigation, weeding,” Barrett, who brings nine years’ farming experience to the job, says, “Whatever we’re doing that day, we’ll just plug ’em in.”

One of the 160 shares will run you $550 for 22 weeks, and Barrett tells us they’re offering 50 types of organically grown fruits and veggies (think potatoes, carrots and peppers, to name a few).

For more information, call 262-9021. To find out more about CSAs in your area, visit buylocalvirginia.org.

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