Organic Today - For a Better Tomorrow!
Home of DFW's first All-Clean, Real Food, Real Farmer's Market Day!
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4710 Pioneer Rd., Balch Springs, TX 75180 (1 block north I20 @ Seagoville Rd.) 214-348-3336
SHOP / MARKET
Open 1st & 3rd Saturdays only
April - December
Eden's In the News & On-Line
Featured in Edible Dallas & Forth Worth - Winter 2009
Market Day Feature Story in NeighborsGo - July 2010
Chefs for Farmers Launch long-table style benefit dinner at Eden's. D Magazine
Eden's Garden CSA Farm is accepting applications for the summer season but we're getting underway so hurry! Harvest of warm season produce and first shares are scheduled to begin distribution in May. We are not a week to week co op like program. Our members pledge a season-long commitment to the farm so there are no pro-rated memberships.
See our list of FAQ's for more information on our CSA program and learn what CSA is all about.
To receive a detailed email about our CSA program, give us your email address below so we can send it to you. If you are already signed up for market day emails, just add CSA info to your profile.
Watch for an upcoming orientation about Eden's CSA and a farm tour. Kids are welcome, but please do not bring your dog. No Smoking Please.
In North Texas, we grow 3 seasons of veggies, growing virtually year round if the weather cooperates. We grow fresh produce and culinary herbs seasonally, without using synthetic pesticides or fertilizers. Working with nature using sustainable, natural methods, we call it "Clean Growing". (because the USDA wants us to pay them to let us call it organic)
"We must consider it a scientific fact that you are what you eat. The same molecules that make up the food we consume become the molecules of our minds and bodies. So, unless you are your own farmer, you should choose one as carefully as you would chose your doctor or your pastor. Therefore, it is fitting that farmers, like doctors, lawyers, professors, and pastors, should command a high level of respect and income, commensurate with this level of responsibility. I consider it an honor and a privilege that you have chosen me to be your farmer." Tom Willey of T&D Willey Farms
An important article from one of the "founders"
of the Community Supported Ag movement in the US
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WHAT IS CSA - Why is it important?
Farming, make no mistake, is a full time job, a labor of love. Yet, despite a renewed surge of people retiring back to the farm, it is an unpopular trade and we lose valuable farmland and experienced and talented farmers daily. Farmers don't expect special compensation, just a respectable working wage in relation to the work they do - what anyone else would ask for doing their job. Yet if you look at the percentage of food dollars that go back to the farmers, versus what the middlemen make, it's not hard to see why farms have trouble staying in business. Everyone wants "cheap" food and the more stops between the ground and your plate - the less the farmer gets. So they can either grow 3x as much - read work 3x as much - in order to maintain some profit, or they can look for ways to sell directly to you, the consumer. CSA is one such way.
I feel it is important that we find ways for farmers to be compensated fairly for the high quality of food they produce. In order to encourage younger generations to take over today's farms to help perpetuate local growing and feed America's families of tomorrow the healthiest, safest way possible, we have to show it as a viable business model. We don't want our future food system to be void of small, local farms, leaving our food supply in the hands of a few, corporate giants and our Federal government. We must do what we can to help support their survival. CSA is one way we can directly affect, support and preserve small, local farms and have a direct connection with our food source.
Workshare Member Phillip Shows off Some Summer Heirloom Tomato Beauties
Sadly though, in today's society, many people don't necessarily value real, wholesome food, or understand the risks associated with growing it and getting it to the marketplace. Resulting is the mass-produced, cheap "pseudo foods" that line the grocery store shelves. Frequently, the underpaid, often abused workers, (working at an ever narrowing field of huge corporate farms that are squeezing out small family community farms), are overlooked in the process, not painting a very enticing picture for future farmers and leaving us with very few choices for our sources of food. (See the movie FOOD, INC. or look for a community showing of FRESH!)
But, it doesn't have to be that way! We have an opportunity to make a difference in our own communities. Not only can we feel good about how CSA supports individuals and families by supporting their efforts as farmers, but local, organic, family run farms help strengthen local communities, steward the land for the future and help make healthy, local food available close to home to those who seek it.
At Eden's my goal is not only to grow food for people, but to grow people into this occupation and increase the interest in knowing where our food comes from and how it is grown. We are a working/learning farm.
Miyashige White Daikon Radishes
Community Supported Agriculture is a great way to get great food, but CSA is NOT;
Please remember, these are real, working, independently owned farms, not grocery stores being stocked worldwide by weekly deliveries.
Farms and the food grown on them are at the mercy of nature and lots of factors coming together favorably. That is why farming has traditionally been such a risky business. That is why CSA is a great way to help small farms stay in business and be a benefit to the community where it is located.
"I have been a member of Eden's Garden CSA since July 2009 and have thoroughly enjoyed the CSA experience of really fresh and healthy produce." Nancy Stack - CSA Member Since 2009
Getting your groceries through CSA from a farm directly is only 1 way to support Local Agriculture, and is perhaps the most risky because you are relying on the same thing as the farmer does for your food - nature. If CSA doesn't feel right for you, check out Local Harvest for co-ops, pick your own farms and don't forget our Market Day here at Eden's, and other local farmer's markets that support local farmers. (Just a few we're familiar with - McKinney, Coppell, Rockwall, Waxahachie, Dallas - most farmers are in shed 1).
Spicy mustard greens adorn the cool season crops
Eden's CSA asks members of the community to pledge an annual commitment to the farm and pay in advance of the upcoming season, three times per year. (August, December & April) The money collected up front helps cover the expenses of running the farm. There are organic soil amendments, seeds, equipment and labor to secure each season and throughout the year. When the harvest comes in, you reap the return on that investment in the way of the food or a weekly "share". The size of the share will vary depending on variable factors, but we plan and plant so everyone can get a nice variety of seasonal, organically grown, fresh produce to enjoy with their weekly menus.
WHAT IS ALL THIS TALK ABOUT RISK?
Farming in Texas, is not like farming in the rich, fertile soils of many farms in the Northeast, Northwest or the Midwest. And while each region presents its own sets of farming challenges, seemingly endless drought, flooding rains, blasting heat, swinging seasonal changes and often times, less than cooperative soils, can make farming in Texas a special challenge. What the first settlers ate here, I'm not sure, but they had their work cut out for them.
In CSA, the farm's supporters pledge to ride out these challenges with the farmer - even if that means less tomatoes one season, too many zucchini, or in an extreme situation, a total crop failure. Think about it, an entire field of crops can be wiped out in a single cloud burst of heavy hail and flooding rains. Without CSA, that farmer's entire income for the season is lost. Fortunately, we don't have extreme weather like that very often in DFW, but we are no strangers to the extreme heat and drought, heavy rains and extreme temperature swings that make even home gardening quite challenging at times.
Eden's has its own collection of honey bee colonies - and local honey!
Eden's has its own collection of honey bee colonies - and local honey!
While there is always risk, directly supporting and eating primarily from a local farm in Texas is a special opportunity, because it is so very satisfying to have succeeded through the many natural challenges our climate throws at a farm as you enjoy the fruits of the harvested gardens, than to simply walk down an aisle of a store filling your basket from around the globe. Food you have helped grow just tastes better!
We learn to farm and eat from what we have available here in North Texas and how to cook and preserve our local in-season foods. We share recipes, compare notes and pray for a bountiful harvest each season.
WE DO THE WORK, YOU EAT!
Now, there will be PLENTY of opportunity for you to share in this labor of love, too. We wouldn't want to cheat anyone of digging up a sweet potato, picking fresh, juicy tomatoes or collecting eggs - or even the therapy of weeding and hoeing. But, we'll get to that later. Whereas we will ask for volunteers from time to time, regular work on the farm is NOT required at this point. We have a limited number of work shares available to help with the labor and to help families out that may be a bit financially challenged, but still want access to great food. Ask about this option at an orientation.
Planting and harvesting time are the most labor intensive periods and for anyone who wants to come and volunteer or look into working shares, we'll be happy to discuss that with you. (Work shares require weekly commitments of your time/labor during the growing season in exchange for a lower financial commitment.)
"The food is definitely a variety. I mean, I've seen tomatoes -- but I hadn't seen THOSE tomatoes before." CSA Founding Member Iris Lozano
We plan to grow a variety of vegetables, herbs and eventually, fruit trees - many varieties that you won't see at your local grocery store, including some old heirloom favorites, and family passed down seeds, too.
The idea isn't to eliminate your trip to the local grocery store, but to supplement your weekly food basket with organic, freshly harvested produce and goods, bringing it up to the gourmet level. Each share will be measured out equally each week based on the amount of food harvested and number of member families picking up. Keep in mind the harvest will be more bountiful at some times of the year versus other times of the year. We'll do our best to plant according to our members' tastes, as nature will allow us to grow here in southeast Dallas County's soils, and hope you will enjoy stretching your culinary vocabulary with some new varieties. Your gardens will be tended to daily, by a farmer who sincerely cares about her land, the food she grows and the families who eat it. CSA all the way!
"I believe that food is the first step to health - good or bad, and we can all have an impact on our own health by what we eat. If affordable and convenient access to healthy, clean, nutritionally dense food is made available in a neighborhood, families and individuals can make better choices without sacrificing the family budget to obtain it. By having a local urban farm here in southeast Dallas County, important connections are being made to reach out to those families and individuals who may not otherwise have an opportunity to find local, fresh food, or realize its important role for themselves or their families.
"We recently hosted the DFW premiere screening of FRESH! which introduced 90 people to some of our country's food system truths and hopefully encouraged them to choose their food more wisely. Our farm is more than just growing healthy food, it is about growing healthy people!" Marie Tedei - CSA Farmer
Here is the full running blog of what Life On the Farm is at Eden's
Eden's Garden CSA was recently featured in Edible Dallas & Fort Worth Magazine
THE WAITING LIST
Each growing season is planned in advanced and there is limited growing space and labor available. Membership is available first-come, first-served until we are full. If farm membership is full at the time you send your Application & Membership Fee, we can return your check or hold it for the first available space. The waiting list may be for up to 6-12 months depending upon the season.
All CSA programs are different - every one of them. I do seem to hold on to the early philosophies and models of CSA as it was introduced by Robyn Van En and her fellow farmers. This farm is currently heavily supported, it's budget stabilized, by it's CSA members who support the farm's success. Please keep in mind when you support a farm, you are contributing to the livelihood of the farmer, the sustainability of the land, the perpetuation of a source of local food for the community and a secure feeling that you know who grew your food and how it was grown.
So - does that answer some of your questions? We'll add to this list of questions as we have time. For now though, we've got a lot of planning to do to get ready for a harvest. So, drop me a note and tell me you are interested and we'll start communicating.
Eden's Garden CSA Farm also plans to help interest and groom young people in the area of agriculture - to help secure tomorrow's local food supply. Future Organic Farmers of America and internship programs are in the works.
We're looking to put in a pick your own area, an orchard, picnic area for school trips and more....Stay tuned!
Click below for a pic of the farm.
Quick Updates From Seasons Past;
Summer 2010 - What a summer it has been! We saw families taking home more tomatoes than they knew what to do with, learning how to eat wild summer greens, learn to make cheese, a 60lb watermelon from a fellow farmer, beautiful, juicy and tasty Arava hybrid melons that surprised everyone, and cucumbers that didn't make folks, well, you know - burp! We have indeed been blessed this year after the hard, cold and wet fall - winter of last that stole our potato and onion crop here in N. Texas. But, we harvested hundreds of pounds of tomatoes, bushel after bushel of cucumbers - pickles for the winter! - squash of various colors and sizes, watermelon, squash blossoms and a recipe to go with it, and oh, the tomatoes that brought people back to liking tomatoes all over again! We're getting the fall season plants underway and will be erecting 2 more homemade hoop houses soon, which should enable us to get more season out of the plants by protecting them from the hot summer sun and the cold winter winds. We hope to get our chicken tractor built and move some of the roosters out to the unused portions of the garden to help prepare them for the next planting.
May 2010 - Finally - some real rain! April was a lot drier than the past 6 months and it didn't take long for the sandy clay soil to become rock hard again. But, we've been enjoying a rain event and have more expected for the week ahead. All of our warm season crops are planted and some succession plantings will continue to go in for a few more weeks as weather allows. The tomato plants are covered in tomatoes and loaded with more blooms, melons, cucumbers and squash are also blooming and fruiting. Our first warm season CSA share won't be long! Join us today - only a few spots left.
April 2010- We had a less than bountiful winter harvest due to the flooding, freezing and sunless winter. It felt more like Seattle than Dallas. The warm season planting is just about done now though and so far so good on the weather. We have first rounds of almost everything in, a few of the more tender babies we'll give another week or so for the night temps to stablize. (Eggplant, sweet potatoes and okra like it HOT!) We've got over 480 tomato plants in, spanning about 20 different heirloom varieties, grown by a fellow farmer in Central Texas. That means our plants are about a month ahead of my starts and we're already seeing little green tomatoes! Asian and yellow cucumbers, Italian zucchini, melons, winter squash, onions, potatoes are on our "menu" this year. The weather has been mild, which is good, although the latter part of April a bit dry. We pray for favorable farming weather for us and all of our surrounding fellow farmers.
January 2010 - The rains returned, although it is winter and we should be getting some. This is an unusually wet one due to the El Nino or La Nina or whichever one is coming through this winter. I can never keep those two straight, I just know it is raining - a lot! Potatoes and onions will go in as soon as we can get the soil to drain enough to work it. Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cutting onions, lettuces, strawberries, garlic, mixed salad greens, cabbages and a few herbs are in the ground and growing. The new low hoop house is almost complete so we should be able to get some of the warm season favorites started a little early this year.
November 09 - The rain has finally slowed down to about a normal level, but not until after a lot of damage has been done. The crops that went in on time are a bit behind due to the lack of sunlight for over a month, the ones that survived are fruiting, but not yielding a lot. The late fall crops are finally in and we're getting in a few more just for a safety net as many experienced a lot of stress with all of the excessive moisture and pressure from disease and insects has taken its toll on some. Strawberries are in, garlic is coming up, Mesclin mix is up and looking good, green onions are looking great and we've tried yet another round of root crops - let's see if these take. Potatoes and onions will be ordered soon and I'll be propping my feet up on the coffee table and thumbing through my seed catalogs for spring's goodies very soon. Some of the catalogs are already here in fact and I can't wait!
Fall 09 - Well, it seems the summer just about baked everything on the vines this year. Now, we're drowning from over 20 inches of rain over the past several weeks, with more on the way! But, the warm season fall crops are growing, most of them anyway, not sure we'll have peppers with all of this rain. Just re-planted root stock crops and started putting in the cool season crops like cabbage, Brussels sprouts, green cutting onions, lettuce mix and more. While we may not have excess of the warm season fall crops, we are taking applications for the next 2 seasons. (Please sign up above for information.)
July 09 - Wow! Cherry tomatoes galore! We have sweet 100's and Lg. Cherry Reds ripening "as we walk down the rows!" says one member. The Celebrity, Beefsteak and more of the heirlooms continue to ripen as well. All of the sweet potatoes are in the ground and we're irrigating daily for right now till they get established. Okra is in, green and red, and we hope to have a small number of eggplant available, too. Soon, it will be time to get the fall gardens ready. Already!
June 09 - The last of those tasty spuds were harvested and are all distributed. The tomatoes are green but slowly ripening. Muskmelon are in bloom as are the mini cukes. The squash have been wonderful till the heat kicked it up into high gear....but, that is part of farming.
April 09- Wow, there were over 100 people waiting to hear from me about our farm! Dallas - I think you are really starting to GET IT about local food! That is great! I'll be setting up appointments for potential new CSA members to come visit the farm.
The magazine Edible DFW is in town, more local chefs are tuning into local farms, there are way more mini-farmer's markets than the farmers can keep up with! What a good problem to have I guess. If you are interested in farming, even on a small scale, get in touch with TOFGA. It doesn't take a huge piece of land to grow food. There are many people who want to eat organic food, and many more who really NEED to eat it because of current health issues. We all SHOULD eat local, organically grown food for our own good, but it is for those who's health is already compromised that I really wish more was available for. We're working on it as I will be planting more food than I will have members. Some food will be for LAZARE Bar and Restaurant and some for our market days as well as for our "hungry families" program.
April 09 - Don't worry, we're just evaluating how many of our shares will be available for the rest of the year. We pledge an annual commitment starting in August and sometimes folks just don't make it through the whole year so we can "sell" their unfinished portions. If you've added your email to the list, we'll be getting in touch with you soon. Thank you for your patience.
February 09- Spring is in the air - well, in the seed catalogs anyway. I'm perusing over them and making plans for warm season plantings. Potatoes are on the way and will be in the ground by St. Patty's Day. Onions will be soon, too. Attending a 2 day farmer's workshop soon - can't wait! One of my mentor farmers, Brad Stufflebeam,and his wife Jenny, of Home Sweet Farm are hosting the event at their farm. We need more growers! You don't need much land to grow for a few families - come on and join the farming fun!
December 12 08- Been making the updates on the blog mostly, but thought I'd add a note here. We're harvesting our 2nd round and the plants are all looking very healthy! I hope we can start a more regular harvest now, we'll see how much growth we have and how our neighboring farms are doing for helping add in the gaps. We'll have baked goods as an "extra" this week. Pick up is at 2 - 4.
October 8 08- Well, as the saying goes, better late than never. The gravity fed, bucket irrigation system arrived and crops and seeds are going in the ground. Last week at our market we got to see the benefits of what all this preparation will bring us NEXT year. The ability to sneak in some late summer crops to harvest when things are normally pretty much done. We'll get there. We will get there!
September 24 08- One half of a working share is still available. That means 2 hours of work per week for the 10 weeks - spread out over set up and harvest. There are still a few regular full shares (or partials if we can match you up) available, too.
September 08- We will accept 2 more working shares and there are 7 more full shares available, or some to split. If you'd like to split a share and don't have a buddy, sign up for the split share list.
August 21 08- We still have a few shares available. Please sign up in the box above or shoot me an email for info or click on the application link above to join.
August 13th 08- 2 DAYS LEFT for sign up for our first CSA. The August 15th sign up date is Friday. If you are planning to attend market day Saturday, shoot me a note or call the shop and let me know and I'll hold a spot in case they fill up. To pay by credit card, please send your application and I'll get in touch with you to take the info over the phone if you can't come out to the farm.
July 30th 08- We're moving forward. If you are interested in joining our CSA, we've started accepting applications for the 08-09 season. Our annual subscription is $1200, payable in 3 seasonal payments, August 1, December 1 and April 1.
July 11th 08 - I'm happy to report that there has been quite a bit of interest in forming a CSA. I'm working on plans for what to plant, when and all that good stuff. Yes, we may offer working shares, but that means you're going to have to actually come out and help. ; ) And, the way most of my friends are running their CSA's, they don't seem to offer half shares, but encourage others to join up together as a small group and split the cost. Keeps it simpler for everyone. If you have a larger family, you can purchase 2 shares.
I'm still working on who is going to contribute what to each basket, besides what produce is harvested, and that will determine the cost in large part. We're looking at adding eggs, a "butcher's choice" cut of meat, a loaf of organic bread, home made soaps and other little add-on goodies, as this is a first year farm and the harvest may not be as magnificent as a more established one. But, we all have to start somewhere! I'm excited so many want to be in on the ground floor with me! I'll keep you posted - am going to upload all the interested names into an email list this weekend and try to get some info out to you. In the mean time - stay tuned!
Intro Summer 08 - The details are still coming together for Eden's Garden CSA, but we're hoping you are interested enough to inquire within. We need to know we'll have the support of at least 35 families to really make a go of it full time. If we need to start out smaller, so be it - you, the community, will decide as you will help support the efforts one way or the other.