Making a local food connection

By on May 9, 2013

CSA Shares.

A CSA Share filled with fruits and vegetables. (CFCO)

Coastal Farmer’s Co-Operative is a locally owned and operated business, supporting farmers in North Carolina. It started six years ago by growing and selling produce as well as helping farmers distribute, sell and market their products.

Nicole Spruill is the owner of the co-op, offering the first organized year-round Outer Banks Community Supported Agriculture, also called CSA. She sells fresh organic foods delivered via CSA shares and seasonal farmer’s markets.

Business spotlight

CSA Shares are boxes filled with seasonal fruits, vegetables, herbs and eggs. In the share boxes, sometimes you might find seasonal flowers for your table as well. The co-op participates in local farmers markets, selling other products such as honey, dairy products and meats that are allowed in an open air market.

Also offered are bulk foods for canning and preserving. Rent dehydrators and meal sealers by the month, and season, as well as canning and freezing supplies.

CSA Shares are offered through memberships, which are $35 a year and paid up front with the application and first box order. The annual fee covers packaging costs, recycling and sanitation of recycled goods. Most of the containers will need to be exchanged with every delivery. When filling out the application, there’s a section to mention foods consumers don’t like or are allergic to.

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A CSA Share in April. (Monica McLaurin).

Members pay for their shares when they pick them up. Boxes cost range from $25 to $40 for families and $75 to $120 for restaurants. A 2-percent tax is added to all purchases for the 2013 season.

“We will make individual deliveries with a fuel charge of $3 per share,” Spruill said, adding that office and school groups get a free delivery with a with a six-box scheduled order.

Members have the options to choose when they want their shares — weekly or biweekly.

“We are supporters of NC Farm to Fork Food System,” Spruill said. “If we import any food, it’s grown or produced in North Carolina.”

Coastal Farmer’s Co-Operative serves Pasquotank, Currituck, Hyde and Dare counties, but there’s more demand for fresh produce than what the farmers are able to grow.

The co-op has 12 sponsoring farms with three organic producers.

“If anybody is producing fresh foods even on the backyard level and are interested in distributing with us, call me,” she said.

The cop-op inspect backyard gardens to make sure it meets criteria for healthy and/or organic produce.

“We are also opening our first pick up opportunities for consumers this year,” Spruill said.

To find out about pickup schedule and locations, call her at (252)370-6367 or e-mail: coastalfarmers@gmail.com

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