Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Sign up for fresh fruits and veggies delivered via wind and water

It's Saturday morning and Ballard resident Laura McLeod is at Kick It Boots & Stompwear on Northwest Market Street. But it's not the latest Italian boots she's after. McLeod has purchased several 3-pound jars of Buck Hollow Farms raw honey from Poulsbo that, literally, just came off the boat.

The boat, also known as Whisper and home to Sail Transport Company, is moored down the road at Shilshole Bay Marina, while a lively group of shoppers gathers round to pick up pre-ordered tote bags brimming with organic produce.

Grown by Kitsap County farmers, the fresh veggies and fruit and molasses-colored jars of honey have been sailed from shore to shore without using one drop of petroleum, courtesy of STC's sail- and bike-powered community-supported agriculture (CSA) program.

Since the company's inception in 2008, the guiding premise for founder Dave Reid has been to harness the power of water and wind -- along with a little brain and brawn -- as a fuel source. But the mission isn't just fossil-fuel independence.

"It's important that we build a petroleum-independent infrastructure with promise for the well-being of our future," Reid says. But, "It's also important to me that we build systems of local trade, employing local people."

Deliveries take place every second Saturday, June through October. A peek into one of those brimming totes revealed strawberries; purple and red radishes; red, rainbow and golden chard; fava beans; mustard greens; dill; parsley; spring baby garlic; baby white turnips; and wheat berries.

"The selection changes with the season," says Reid. "We try whenever possible to make the half and full totes the same selection. If we have to leave something out of the half totes, for example, we try to limit it to a variation rather than pure omission. The full may have three types of chard where the half has two."

The goods can be picked up in Ballard from 10 a.m. to noon, or delivered within a 4-mile radius from the marina via specially outfitted transport tricycles. Service is limited only by geography and what Reid calls "natural topography."

If you're outside the delivery area, but use a petroleum-free means to pick up your order, you'll qualify for a discount. A half tote, sized for a single person for one week, is $25; a full tote, sized to last a family of two to three for one week, is $40. The honey will cost you $18, but according to McLeod, it's money well-spent.

"This is probably the best honey I've ever tasted," she says. "It's dark, rich and complex, not just one flavor like blackberry or wildflower. I eat it by the spoonful; it's kind of like dark chocolate."

Reprinted with permission. Article originally appeared NWsource on July 27, 2009. Author: Sheryl Wiser

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