Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Get your veggies at Habersham Gardens!

There is a great article in this week's Atlanta Business Chronicle about Habersham's recent affiliation with Farmer's Fresh CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). We are now a convenient intown Atlanta drop-off point which makes it easier than ever to eat fresh, organic, locally grown produce every day. Read more about the CSA and visit their website to join up - http://www.farmersfreshcsa.com/.
Here's the article which appeared in the Atlanta Business Chronicle:

Atlanta’s Habersham Gardens, an independent garden center and professional landscaping company, has launched a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program to promote local products, business growth and community outreach — and to offer residents a way to bring farm-fresh produce to their doorsteps.

Habersham Gardens will serve as a major intown CSA participant becoming the newest food pickup site in the CSA program, and support 20 local farmers who grow sustainable produce and supply locally grown food to Atlantans.

The CSA program is a cooperative made up of farmers with sustainable growing practices and urban organizations and businesses like Habersham Gardens with strong public followings or customer bases and physical locations conducive to easy pickup of food items for area residents.
Over the last 20 years, CSA has become a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer.

“Many Atlantans have interest in their own vegetable gardens given the ‘home-grown edibles’ and ‘backyard to table’ trends, but simply do not have the necessary time. Habersham Gardens initiated becoming a CSA participant to act as a liaison between local farmers and intown residents,” said Deborah Harrison, founder and co-owner of Habersham Gardens.

Atlanta consumers can participate in the program through food-purchasing memberships and access weekly deliveries of seasonal, ultra-fresh produce such as fruits, vegetables and other organic food items. Regional farmers, in turn, are able to market food products to urbanites and receive membership payments early in the year prior to harvests.

The advance-pay food memberships lead to more steady cash flow for farmers’ crop development and address common interest in organic food among Atlantans. Habersham Gardens serves as the link between the two.

Habersham Gardens’ CSA participation offers a link to a wide variety of food items, including vegetables, fruits, herbs, eggs, grains, coffees, meats and other items that become available over time.

“Now, when our customers come to the garden center for plants or garden accessories, they can also register to receive weekly shipments of locally grown and diverse foods,” said Harrison.
Customers are able to fill out member profile surveys that determine food preferences. These preferences are then passed along to the farmers so they can plan crops according to member needs.

Becoming a sustaining member permits customers to participate in food crop planning and receive a special startup pack including a special CSA cookbook.

Habersham Gardens also offers local residents with staff members trained to assist member-consumers during the weekly food pickups.

More than just a good way to help area residents find and purchase locally grown and organic food items, Habersham Gardens’ CSA participation is also part of a strategic business plan.
“Implementing the CSA program at Habersham Gardens was a natural fit for us since we have been an intown retailer of home and garden products for many years. Adding local, seasonal produce and food items to our inventory has brought about an additional sense of community as well as business opportunities for us,” said Harrison.

Harrison and her staff plan to schedule a series of seminars open to the public to discuss cooking with vegetables and herbs. Habersham Gardens’ e-newsletters, Web site and blog will also feature appropriate recipes for common and seasonal CSA food items.

“Through CSA and because our garden center sources plants from local and regional growers, Habersham Gardens has relationships with both farmers and urban residents. For us, acting as a go-between for both groups is a way to better meet the selling objectives of farmers in business to make profits, and local residents who strongly desire local produce with little way to find it,” said Harrison.

To become a member for weekly food deliveries at Habersham Gardens, call (404) 873-2484 or visit 2067 Manchester St. N.E. in Atlanta. For more information about Habersham Gardens, visit www.habershamgardens.com.