One amazing advantage of living in the Valley is that we have wonderfully tasting fruits and vegetables at our fingertips. The Valley is home to many farms, which provides food to local residents and restaurants. A handful of years back I use to get a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box. A CSA box typically comes from a local farmer/organization, and is filled with various in-season fruits and vegetables. It’s a great way to get fresh food, and support our local farmers/community. The CSA box I received came from T&D Willey Farms, which is located in Madera. They would leave CSA boxes at designated drop off spots around town. While T&D Willey Farms is no longer doing CSA boxes directly, they are still involved through Food Commons Fresno. About 1/3 of the fruits and vegetables come from the T&D Willey farm, but it has now been rebranded as Ooooby Fresno, which stands for Out Of Our Own Backyards. Ooooby is described as a farmer’s market at your doorstep.
Ooooby Fresno, which is operated by Food Commons Fresno, celebrated their one year anniversary of being in service just this last week. Since their first day, Ooooby has delivered 25,000 boxes and has served more than 1,100 families. That’s something to be proud of! I was invited to visit their celebration, but I wasn’t really sure what to expect. When I arrived at their site, there was a party in full swing! There was music, vendors, and lots of fun!
The people were great, and it was nice to see everyone coming together to celebrate what’s being done within the community.
So let’s talk about that.
Ooooby Fresno provides CSA boxes to families all over the Valley. Aside from Fresno, Ooooby services areas as far away as Madera, Coarsegold, Reedley, and places in-between. They are committed to providing healthy food access to all Valley communities.
How do they accomplish this? In many ways.
- Ooooby Fresno has multiple community partners including Cultiva La Salud, Fresno County Health Department, Fresno Unified Schools, Fresno Metro Ministries, Madera Slow Food, Fresno Business Council, among others.
- They do a lot of out reach at community events and offer customer service in English, Spanish, and Hmong.
- They are beginning to offer more assistance to small and minority farmers to help prepare them for the wholesale market. They work together to improve consistency and standards.
- They have pick up locations in neighborhoods of Fresno that lack grocery stores or access to Farmer’s Markets.
- And my personal favorite….Customers can pay for their Ooooby box with EBT. They also have an “Everyone Eats” fund that subsidizes the purchases of low income community members so they can afford more fresh local produce.
What I love also about this company is that they are located in an area of town that seems to have been forgotten. They will be relocating soon to a different building downtown, but will be keeping their location on Belmont. It will serve as a commercial production kitchen and food truck commissary, which is great because it’s keeping businesses alive in the area!
If you’re interested in signing up for a CSA box, check out Oooobry’s site for prices and sizes. There you will find that you have lots of options. You can purchase one once a week, or as many times a month as you’d like. You can even add on extra items. To start off, I’d would recommend the medium size box. This would give you an idea as to what to expect each week.
When you click on the site to look at the boxes, you can also click on a link to view previous boxes. That really helps you to visualize how many of what types of fruits and vegetables you could get. The idea is that you order the box, it’s filled with fresh fruits and veggies from local farms, and then you pick it up on a designated day of the week, depending on where you choose pick up. It really is a great way to get food from farm to table.
You will also be supporting a local farmer, and eating 100% Certified Organic. Try it out and see how much you like it! You could discover a new vegetable you didn’t know you liked! You may find a great recipe for the fruit. Most importantly, if you use EBT, don’t be afraid to take advantage of this. Even more so, if you know of someone who does use EBT, and may not have easy access to a local grocery store, please, please, please share this information with them. In fact, that’s part of the vision, to reach those who need extra support. There are many pick up locations around town, and I’m sure there’s one near to just about everyone. Let’s help spread the word of this great organization!! Just another reason why we are the people of FresYes!!