Ryan Chartrand

The Cal Poly Organic Farm is offering an easy way to get nutritious food and easy meal plans without spending hours at the grocery store. But you have to act fast in future months, because the program has already sold out.

The seventh annual Fall and Winter Community Supported Agriculture Program, which offers weekly selections of farm fresh organic vegetables, fruits and eggs through a subscription membership. Just two weeks into the 26-week program, running from Sept. 18 through March 12, the program is already full and offering a wait list to interested subscribers.

Vegetable lovers can sign up for a weekly full-share harvest box that feeds four to five people for $650, which works out to $25 per week. Another option is the weekly half-share harvest box that feeds two to three people for $468, or $18 per week, for the entire length of the program.

Students can subscribe to a special 11-week program on a quarterly basis for $198, or $18 per week, to receive a half-share of produce each week. Since the current fall quarter program is full, interested students will be able to sign up for the winter program in December.

The Community Supported Agriculture Program has been an overwhelming success for Cal Poly’s Organic Farm, filling up every year since it began in 2000.

“Community Supported Agriculture is a partnership, really. In exchange for a commitment to buy a share in our farm’s harvest, students and staff commit to grow high quality herbs, vegetables and fruit for you,” said CSA program coordinator Elaine Genasci.

Members can pick up their harvest boxes each week at the farm located on Mt. Bishop Road, or at other locations in Morro Bay, North County and South County. Pick-up days are Mondays and Thursdays from 3 to 6 p.m. and the locations are determined by demand.

“All the produce is harvested the same day you receive it, so freshness and nutrition are at their peak,” Genasci said.

The kinds of fruits and vegetables in each box vary weekly, depending on what is ready for harvest. Fall and winter crops include lettuce, leafy greens, onions, arugula, leeks, carrots, tomatoes, eggplant, corn, bell peppers, melons and more.

Members also receive a weekly newsletter with recipes, farm-related information, an events calendar of farm activities and workshops in their box each week.

The Community Supported Agriculture Program’s success has even reached beyond local residents and students.

“We have several local restaurants and stores that order from us regularly,” Genasci said.

Clients include Big Sky and Linnea’s in San Luis Obispo, Giuseppe’s in Pismo Beach and Cambria Pines Lodge in Cambria. Markets like Vons and Food 4 Less in Paso Robles and Spencer’s in Morro Bay also order from the CSA Program.

Even with the expansion of services the CSA has begun to offer in the past several years, like collaborating with local growers to provide a greater range of produce and offering free range egg subscriptions, Cal Poly’s Organic Farm does not plan to sacrifice the quality of their products for future growth plans.

“There is a point in growth where you compromise the customer service you can give,” Genasci said.

The Cal Poly Organic Farm is an agricultural program jointly managed by the Horticulture and Crop Science Department, students and farm staff. According to their brochure, “Students enrolled in the Organic Farm Enterprise gain hands-on experience related to organic and sustainable crop production practices.”

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