Local food movement growing

Morgan Rohrbach and Jo Myers prepare to seed Madison Bay Petites (oysters)  at the shellfish farm near Bloedel Reserve.  - Brad Camp/For the Review
Morgan Rohrbach and Jo Myers prepare to seed Madison Bay Petites (oysters) at the shellfish farm near Bloedel Reserve.
— image credit: Brad Camp/For the Review

While most islanders are still hunkered down out of the February rain, island farmers are already in the fields in preparation for another season of growing produce to their neighbors.

Farmers have seen a steady interest from islanders looking to put locally grown foods on their table, and their options are growing, too.

In addition to the Bainbridge Island Farmer’s market, which begins this year on April 9 and runs through October, islanders can receive fresh food directly from farmers through a community supported agriculture (CSA) program or by purchasing products from two local stores that will be served by Sound Food.

Through a CSA, islanders can sign up and pay a flat fee to receive a weekly allotment of food throughout the growing season.

Brian MacWhorter, who owns Butler Green Farms with his wife, Amy Kuhl, is in his 27th year of farming on the island and said his program is up to about 150 members. A full CSA share costs $500 and feeds a family of four while a half share costs $250 and feeds two.

MacWhorter runs a CSA shop, open twice a week, where folks can pick out the food they want. This year he will include an assortment of meat including lamb, chicken, pork and eggs along with produce.

Patti Dusbabek will offer her CSA program again this year from her island farm Holly Lane Garden.

Dusbabek has goose, duck and chicken eggs as well as heirloom vegetables, fruits and at least 100 different varieties of herbs.

“I like to talk to people about the kinds of foods they want to eat,” she said. “Sometimes people like to come out and pick their own produce from the field, and that’s fine with me,” said Dusbabek.

Dusbabek offers a full share for $25 per week and half shares for $15.

For those with a taste for seafood, there is a local CSA to fill up on too. The Port Madison Community Shellfish Farm is looking for 15 more families for 2011.

In its second year, the shellfish CSA has five harvests beginning in May. Memberships cost $90 for 120 oysters, $180 for 240 oysters and $270 for 360 per year. Proceeds benefit water-quality improvement projects around the island.

Jo Myers, who works for the Puget Sound Restoration Fund, said last year was a great success with the six families who participated.

“Most members came down to the farm to help with a harvest,” said Myers. “It really is fun having that connection of seeing where your food comes from and helping to be a part of the harvest makes it that much more enjoyable.”

For those who don’t want to commit to a CSA, nonprofit Sound Food is working with Bay Hay and Feed in Rolling Bay and Pane d’Amore Bakery in Lynwood Center to provide options.

Beginning in April, both locations will carry items such as Port Madison cheese, eggs and meats in addition to produce from local farms. Pane’ d’Amore will expand on the produce they offered last summer.

Sound Food founder Carolyn Goodwin said they will help coordinate the farmers and food, and plan to use as much produce from the island as possible. They may pursue options in North Kitsap and the outlying county if necessary for items not available on island. All the meat will be frozen, grass-fed and sustainably raised.

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