I don’t think you’ll get any arguments from the people of FresYes when it comes to the stance that we have incredible access to amazingly fresh local produce.
Somehow though, it’s still a mind bender to realize other regions just don’t have the options we have here.
My husband spent a few months in Mississippi for work and realized how spoiled we are here. He noted that as a rule, the produce where he was seemed smaller, the selection was more limited, and it was considerably more expensive. He got all excited when he finally spotted a beautiful cantaloupe. Coincidentally, there was a sticker from a farm in Turlock on it. Quite a journey for a melon!
Part of the charm of our Valley is the gorgeous seasonal produce available. Who else loves to spot fruit and veggie stands that pop up on the side of the road on a regular basis? (Strawberries, anyone?)
You can even get hands-on and visit a U-pick farm, harvesting fruit with your own two hands. During peak growing season, there are farmers markets going on somewhere in FresYes every single day of the week.
But if you really want to dip your toe into seasonal eating, get an impromptu tour of what the San Joaquin Valley has to offer, and maybe try new some new things, I maintain there’s no better way to do that than a subscription to a CSA box.
What is a CSA Box?
CSA stands for “Community-Supported Agriculture.” The general premise is that you cut out the middleman, calculate roughly what your household goes through in a set period of time, and subscribe to get your goodies directly from a farmer or collective of farmers.
Voila! A box with pre-selected, seasonal local produce magically arrives, either at your door, or at a drop-off location for you to pick up.
Some CSAs are more than just fruits and veggies. Eggs, local honey, jams and jellies, herbs, and even meat is sometimes offered as an add-on option for subscribers. There are usually recipes included as well, just in case you’re stymied by kohlrabi.
You’ll still have to get your bananas at Save Mart or wherever, but in my experience, getting a CSA box makes meal planning kind of an adventure. And let’s face it, who couldn’t use more fresh fruit and veg in their eating routine?
Sound intriguing? Great! Let’s explore some of the local CSAs. Since there are a few to choose from, I’ve decided to focus on one at a time, giving each their due. This week, I’ll be highlighting Ooooby Fresno.
Ooooby Fresno At a Glance
Contact: (559) 674-2642
Pick up or home delivery? Pick up. There are Ooooby drop sites all over Fresno.
Box sizes available:
- Small: 1-2 fruits, 6-7 vegetables. $16
- Medium: 2-3 fruits, 8-9 vegetables. $21
- Large: 3-4 fruits, 9-10 vegetables. $28
- Oooober Box: 3-4 fruits, 11-13 vegetables, occasional speciality items. $35
Ooooby accepts EBT and gives EBT discounts. Boxes are customizable to an extent; your preferences are catered to. Extras are easy to add, and Ooooby has goodies ranging from dried fruit to eggs, chocolate, honey, and even flour.
Ooooby Fresno Questions Answered
As usual, I just had to ask a few hard-hitting questions about Ooooby. Kiel Schmidt of Food Commons Fresno was good enough to get back to me with some great answers!
JAB: What path led you to starting up your business?
KS: Ooooby Fresno was started as the first step to transition the operation of the T&D Willey Farms as Tom and Denesse retired. In May 2015, we transitioned the operation of their CSA to a Food Commons Fresno operation. In January 2017, we completed the transition of their 75-acre organic farm in Madera into our operation.
What’s your favorite aspect of running a CSA?
We have a great team that really enjoys connecting our local organic farms to families and individuals across the region.
Your personal favorite product you include in the boxes is…
Organic strawberries! Strawberry season has begun!
What sets your business apart?
Many things. We are a great price and accept EBT and Everyone Eats fund to help everyone afford our region’s bounty. Additionally, Ooooby Fresno’s parent company is Food Commons Fresno. That places it within a larger strategy to build a robust local food system with community ownership as the backbone.
What the heck am I supposed to do with all this fennel?!!
Fennel has a great licorice flavor and is fun to chew raw. Beyond that, it is great sliced thin in a salad or roasted with other veggies. We have a few fennel recipes on our website here.
What’s your favorite and least fave fruit or veggie?
Favorite fruit is strawberry, favorite veggie is Brussel sprouts. As far as least favorite, we don’t have one, there is always a way to prepare fruits and veggies to be delicious. We really enjoy exploring new and seasonal flavors.
CSAs sound pretty great so far, right? Over the next few weeks, I’ll focus on The Farmer’s Daughter CSA, Abundant Harvest Organics, and Harvest Fields Organic Farm, so make sure to look for those.
[Want to know even more about Ooooby? Check out this FresYes feature from last year!]