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Meals on Wheels

AE_farmThe Fourth Annual Freewheelin’ Farm Art Show invites you to feed your mind and body
Freewheelin’ Farm Art Show, Saturday, Oct. 24
In the early 2000s, when two locals named Amy Courtney and Cassandra Brown started a small farm five-and-a-half miles north of Santa Cruz on Highway 1, they were quick to embrace the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) system, in which farmers regularly deliver produce to paying members. There was just one hitch: Courtney and Brown didn’t have any cars with which to make their deliveries. The solution to their dilemma came in the form of an old, trashed bicycle trailer, which they fixed up so as to begin biking their produce into town.

Today, that little patch of land on Highway 1 is known as Freewheelin’ Farm, and its overseers still make their deliveries by bike. “Something that isn’t talked about in agriculture that much is how our fruits and vegetables are moved around the country,” notes Kirstin Yogg, one of three co-owners of the farm. “Generally it’s in big trucks, and it’s using a lot of gas. So this is kind of our little stab at helping that problem in the world.”

Freewheelin’ Farm, which was on a single acre of land for its first six years of production, has been enjoying a growth spurt lately: Last year, its crew leased an additional eight acres, and the farm’s CSA membership doubled in size this season. The farm, which also sells produce to local restaurants, is currently run by Yogg, Courtney and Darryl Wong. The three farmers grow their crops without chemicals or fertilizers and follow general sustainable farming practices such as crop rotation and cover cropping. Yogg, Courtney and Wong run the farm with an eye toward resource conservation, reusing their drip tape, using as little plastic as possible and building structures out of recycled wood and materials.

Twice a week throughout a 25-week season from mid-May to November, the farm’s 75 CSA members pick up shares from Westside, Eastside and downtown drop spots. Members receive between eight and 12 crops per week, with more than 30 different crops traveling to their tables from Freewheelin’ Farm each season. “I think it’s a chance to involve yourself in your local food system, to know your farmers and to understand more fully the system that you’re taking part in every day when you eat,” Yogg states. “When you’re investing in Freewheelin’ Farm and trusting us to provide you with food for six months of your year, you’re investing in your community. It’s a chance to get behind your choices. You’re going to know every step in the process that brought that food to your plate.”

Bringing locals all the closer to the source is the Fourth Annual Freewheelin’ Farm Art Show, which takes place Saturday, Oct. 24. Dreamt up and organized by CSA member and farm friend Melinda Lundgren, it’s an opportunity for local artists to show their work at what Yogg calls “a celebration of the season and of our community.” Everything from larger paintings to smaller crafts and knickknacks will be on display. According to Yogg, there will be sculptures in the middle of the field, and attendees will have the chance to view creations such as handmade metal jewelry and one inventive local’s “guerilla art”: graffiti on pieces of wood and other found materials.

“A lot of farms throw some version of a harvest festival, and I feel like one of Freewheelin’ Farm’s differentiating factors is that we have kind of an artistic bent,” Yogg remarks. “The coming together of art and farming somehow seems appropriate on our little piece of land.”

Set against a picturesque ocean backdrop, the art show will also feature live music (Yogg mentions Pookaloo and the Grass-Fed Beats, who describe their music as “acoustic guitar, sultry vocals and dirty electric beats,” as one band that has committed to playing) as well as children’s activities, tours of the farm, locally made beer and wine, and lots of good food, including wood-fired pizza and “probably some tamales.” A suggested donation of $10 to $20 helps keep the farm’s wheels in motion.

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