Residents can now pick up more than just their children from Manuel De Vargas Elementary School.
The school has been serving as a pick up spot for Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) member farm High Ground Organics for several weeks now, supplying fresh-from-the-farm produce packed into boxes for convenient consumer transportation.
The CSA program works by asking customers to purchase a share in the Watsonville-based farm. In return, they get a box laden with six to nine seasonal, organic fruits and vegetables delivered to pick up sites throughout Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties once a week.
The boxes include produce like kale, apples, pears, carrots, summer and winter squash, green garlic, beets, broccoli, fennel and the ever-popular strawberries.
"Our strawberries are what we are famous for," said Sarah Brewer, a CSA administrator. "We actually wait until they are ripe to pick them, unlike what you find in a lot of stores where they're picked less-than-ripe."
Brewer estimates that currently five or six customers have signed up to pick up their produce packs from De Vargas. The company would like to add many more to the list.
"We need at least 10 customers to keep De Vargas as a host site," she explained.
While CSA's mission is to encourage families and children to eat better, Brewer said the movement also strives to support area schools. To that end, $1 from every produce box will go back to De Vargas.
High Grounds is offering first time customers an four-week trial period for $88. That breaks down to $22 a week.
"That's a really great deal if you consider what you'd spend at a [organic food store] for the same amount of produce," Brewer said.
Pick-ups are every Wednesday from 12:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. at De Vargas Elementary School, located at 5050 Moorpark Ave., San Jose. For more information on High Ground and CSA, visit the farm's website or call Brewer at (831) 254-4918.