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Fresh Winter Veggies Hit the Spot

Mountain Bounty Farms offers year-round CSA
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Forget the election and the threats of La Niña, it seems that everywhere I look food is in the headlines. From recent films such as 'Food Matters' to the news that the McRib will soon be sweeping the nation, I found myself yearning for simple, fresh vegetables. Of course, it’s November and we live in a mountain town; our growing season is painfully short. I was sure I had missed the CSA (community supported agriculture) boat, until I stumbled upon a flyer from Mountain Bounty Farms featuring sign-ups for a winter CSA share, which would bring me a large box of mixed vegetables from the farm on a weekly basis.

Located in Nevada City and run by John and Angie Tecklin, Mountain Bounty Farms expanded its delivery service to Truckee three years ago and to Tahoe City just this summer. This winter, Mountain Bounty is announcing a new Kings Beach pick-up location and year-round service. Just imagine a box plump full of fresh, just-picked veggies nearly every week of the year! The increased service means there will only be four weeks in the year without CSA service.

Tecklin and his wife have seen 13 harvests come and go. They just recently expanded their cultivated land from 10 acres to a whopping 22 come next spring. Tecklin attributes starting the farm to a love of food that grew into a love of cooking. 'As a young adult I was really into cooking for friends, which lead to gardening, and then the gardening got out of control,' said Tecklin. As CSA Manager Jen Ellermeyer explains, Tecklin isn’t a traditional farmer, 'He gardens more than farms.'

From the start, Mountain Bounty has primarily been a CSA-focused farm, and only attends one actual farmers market in Nevada City. With winter fast approaching, Mountain Bounty will undergo a transformation. Once the temperature starts dropping, the staff shrinks, the greenhouse starts hopping in January, and starting at the end of November, the CSA boxes are divided into two categories, veggie shares and citrus shares.

For those looking at getting a winter veggie share, your produce will come from Mountain Bounty partner Riverdog Farms in Guinda, Calif. According to Tecklin, 'We [Mountain Bounty] are just the organizing body, ensuring our customers have a consistent supply of food… We manage the signups and transportation to the same sites. They do a 24-week season and so do we.'

Both Tecklin and Ellermeyer assured me that while Mountain Bounty and Riverdog’s styles are slightly different, there won’t be a large transition from box to box. 'They have a different climate from us, resulting in different vegetables,' said Ellermeyer.

'We can’t grow year-round, but they can, which makes this an amazing opportunity for our subscribers.' Mountain Bounty is located in Nevada City, a mere 56 miles from Truckee; Riverdog Farms is only about 100 miles from the Mountain Bounty Farm. 'It’s pretty far, but local in the grand scheme of things,' remarked Tecklin. The veggie share could include anything from arugula to beets, brussels sprouts, cabbage, collard greens, and fava beans alongside dried tomatoes, turnips, and even pomegranates.

If citrus is more your thing, Mountain Bounty is also offering a 17-week citrus share. 'It’s a new thing for us,' said Tecklin. 'We sourced from one farm last year, and it wasn’t as good as we wanted it to be. [This year] we are going to source from a different bunch of farms so we always get the best stuff.'

Tecklin and Ellermeyer both agreed that being stuck in one place (or committed to one farm) means weather can really hurt you, and in turn, hurt your subscribers when it comes to citrus. 'We are offering better citrus this year, from kiwis and persimmons to kumquats, mandarins, maybe some nuts,' said Ellermeyer. Mountain Bounty’s citrus sources include farms in the low foothills, including farms in Penryn, Newcastle, Gridley, and Marysville. 'These farms are all 50 miles away [from Mountain Bounty] at the most,' said Tecklin.

Both the veggie and citrus boxes will include a newsletter explaining what is in the box, highlights from the farms, and recipes. If you’ve received something in your box and you don’t know what to do with it, Ellermeyer said to call Mountain Bounty for a few tips.

Signing up for the shares is amazingly simple. You can sign up directly on the website (mountainbountyfarm.com) or call the farm. Veggie shares for the Tahoe/Truckee region are $624 for the 24-week season, and citrus shares are $263.50 for the 17-week season. Payment is preferred up front, or can be broken into three post-dated checks divided into thirds. Financial assistance is also available.

The first delivery starts Wednesday, Nov. 24, and Ellermeyer said if you miss the first week, the farm will prorate the share to start the second week. There are currently 220 subscribers for the winter share, but don’t fret, there is no cap on boxes making it up the hill.

'[The CSA membership is] a commitment to cooking fresh,' said Ellermeyer. 'It can definitely be a mind shift.' Luckily, you’ll have 24 weeks to help enforce the shift.

 
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February 14, 2019