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A Healthy Alternative

Eaton family works to provide
fresh produce to customers

The couple and their three sons
offer a market-style approach

(May 2018) – Today’s growing concerns for our health plus the safety and quality of the foods we eat contribute to the growing grass roots Farm to Table movement. Given the widespread food recalls and questionable factory farming practices, consumers have a growing interest to know how their food is produced, where it comes from and who is producing it. This movement provides fresher, tastier foods for consumers, while contributing to economic sustainability by supporting local economies. It also allows consumers to have a closer relationship to their food producers. 
Few know about Community Supported Agriculture. It is a way for community members to support local farmers by paying up front for a season and receiving fresh produce in exchange. Joining a CSA is a great way to connect with local farmers and spice up your meals.

Photo provided

Jerry and Elizabeth Eaton grow all sorts of vegetables and produce at their Jefferson County, Ind., farm near Canaan.

You can connect with local farmers in Madison, Ind., through a CSA offered by Jerry and Elizabeth Eaton. The Eaton families have been farming on Scotts Ridge since the early 1800s. Jerry said his great-grandfather received the Indiana Centennial Farm designation in 1948.
Today, the couple and three sons carry on their agrarian legacy. The Eaton Farm continues to evolve through daily challenges and changes.
“In order for a small farm to thrive today, I think it needs to connect directly with the consumer, or more accurately, the eater,” Jerry Eaton said. “We find that the connection between our customers and the farm is strong. They like to share in our little victories and struggles, learning to savor a particularly abundant harvest of tomatoes that is tempered with a sub-par basil planting. A window into this ebb and flow of farm life seems very much opposed to our modern, high-speed lives, but it is just what many are looking for.”
CSA business models take many forms, depending on the needs and capabilities of the farmer and share-holders. The Eatons’ CSA is a market-style, which means that members get to choose their own produce each week. All the produce offered by the Eatons is grown on the family farm using only natural methods. They also offer pastured, non-GMO meats and eggs.
This year is Eaton Farm’s 10th CSA season, and the third year offering the program to Madison, meeting a growing customer base of new friends and neighbors.
“We began this journey to find a way to support local farmers and food supply,” said CSA member Charlot Nash. “That was important to me, and also the nutritional aspect of fresh food. I wondered if it were possible to find a local food source in this area. Then we heard about Eaton Farm on Local Harvest. We have enjoyed the variety of beautiful food laid out on your tables each week. We have seen some we did not recognize. And some we tasted for the first time. The visual feasting is a positive – bright colors and moist, shiny leaves – and we are excited that it has recently come from the soil and sun and onto our table.”
If your goal is to eat healthy, local, farm fresh food and to support those who provide it, you can join a CSA. Visit www.theeatonfarm.com for information on how to join the Eaton Farm CSA. 

Photo provided

The Eaton family sells their freshly grown products at the Madison, Ind., Farmers Market.

You may also choose to peruse the isles at local Farmers Markets. May kicks off the opening of the spring Farmers Markets in Madison, LaGrange, Ky., and Carrollton, Ky. Many Farmers Markets provide entertainment, breakfast and lunch options while visiting with neighbors and meeting new friends.
Stop by the Madison Farmers Market on Saturday mornings from 8 a.m. to noon. It is located on Broadway Street. You can sit by the fountain and enjoy a bite to eat before browsing the isles of local vendors.
“We are excited about the mix of vendors this year,” said Madison’s Farmers Market advisory board member Liz Brownlee. “We have several new vegetable growers selling at market this year. They’ll be selling food raised here in Jefferson County, from cucumbers to swiss chard. We also have several new vendors with items like breads, natural body care products, and locally grown flowers. And we’re proud to have many tried and true vendors returning, offering meat, eggs, vegetables, honey, bed plants, baked goods, crafts, and more.”
Brownlee offers a “CSA” that’s basically a monthly meat buying club where people can get pasture-raised pork, chicken, lamb, eggs and turkey. New CSA members can start each month, so if people want healthy, local meat for their table, it’s only an email or call away. Take a moment to talk to the farmers and artisans. They love to share their passion.

Photo provided

Jerry Eaton (below) handles a baby chick.

Explore more local foods from the neighboring Bluegrass state. Farmers and artisans from LaGrange and Carrolton provide fresh produce and things made by hand. The La Grange Farmers Market & Artisans open May 12 around the Oldham County Courthouse Square. It runs through Oct. 27. You can visit the vendors from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and also enjoy live music and food from a local food truck.
The River-view Farmers Market opens May 2 in Carrollton It is open on Wednesday from noon to 5 p.m. at Pointe Park. It also meets from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday next to Hometown Pizza on Hwy 227.

Save the date July 28 for their first Farm to Table dinner. Contact the Market Manager Christin Herbst at the Ag Extension office at (502) 732-7030 for information.

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