Noshin': Eating with the help of Minnesota's Only Organic Jewish Farmer

There are a few things I’ve realized in the past few years that I really like and that are important to me, including (although certainly not limited to) : 1) Eating locally; 2) Supporting local businesses; 3) Socially-conscious anything. Which means I was pretty darn excited when I found out the St. Paul JCC is partnering with Hazon to offer a CSA — and not just any CSA (localized food systems that directly link a farmer to a consumer), but a CSA provided by Minnesota’s only Jewish Organic farmer (!!!).
Mike Jacobs of Easy Bean Farm, is offering JCC members and the general community an opportunity to join Tuv Ha’aretz (his CSA) this summer. You and your family can “eat with the seasons” and have fun with new fruits and vegetables (it’s like your birthday and Hanukkah every week, getting to open the box of goodies and not knowing what gems you’ll find)! Purchase an entire season’s worth of organic produce at competitive prices while supporting a local farmer.
Full shares cost $510 and half shares are $390 — and I can report from personal experience that this is, in fact, a very competitive and appropriate price (spread over 17 weeks, that breaks down to $30 a week for 7-12+ pounds of organic, fresh produce — a total bargain). For an extra fifty bucks a season, you can also get organic, free-range eggs with your share, which in my opinion are incredibly superior to anything you’ll buy in the store — the taste is noticeably better, plus there isn’t the guilt associated with eggs from miserable, caged chickens.
In exchange for your commitment to purchase an entire season of produce, you will receive a box of organic food, a newsletter with recipes, and reports from the farm each Friday. Pick-up is at the St. Paul JCC. Tuv Ha’aretz is a project of Hazon, a Jewish organization working to create a healthier, more sustainable Jewish community. Sign up for the CSA here.

Although this is a wonderful opportunity, I also know from my experience with a CSA last year was that — like a gym or anything else in life — if it’s not convenient for your life, it’ll become more of a burden than a blessing. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t investigate other CSA options — the Land Stewardship Project has a whole directory of Minnesota CSAs. I encourage, nay — implore you — to find one that works for you and sign up. You can come back and yell at me in September if you’re at all displeased.
And speaking of socially-conscious and local food systems, one of my favorite non-profits is Youth Farm & Market Project. YFMP is about youth gardening, cooking, nutrition, and entrepreneurship. It’s about youth connecting to their food and the environment – YFMP youth currently farm 9 garden sites – over 2 acres of urban land in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
I volunteered with them last summer, and I was blown away at how knowledgeable these 7-, 8-, 12-, 16-year-olds (and everywhere in between) are about what they eat, how to grow it, how they like to cook it (and what they’ll eat!) — and how to promote and sell it.  Yes — the kids promote, sell (and deliver via bike in the Lyndale neighborhood!) the food they grow. If you live near one of their gardens, I recommend doing something good for your community, youth, AND your plate and seek out their produce.
Photos: Easy Bean Farm, Youth Farm & Market Project