Where does your food come from?

March 28th, 2013 by Live Well Omaha Kids

This blog is by guest author Jody Fritz from Tomāto Tomäto

Where does your food come from?  When was it processed or harvested?  How long did it take to get from the farm to your table and who all touched it along the way?  These are questions we often don’t think about, but probably should.

Tomāto Tomäto exists to connect consumers with local producers resulting in the increased production and consumption of local foods.  You can be confident in knowing where your food is coming from and when it was harvested by shopping at TomātoTT-full-logo Tomäto or participating in one of our many classes or CSA(Community Supported Agriculture)  programs.

Tomāto Tomäto is 4 years and 11 months old today.  We opened the doors to the public May 1, 2008.  At the time the store was home to just 4 vendors/farmers.  We now partner with over 100 vendors and continue to grow.   Our products range from fresh in season produce to grass fed meats, eggs, cheese and a variety of organic grains and other artisan food products produced in Nebraska and western Iowa.  We are open to the public year around.

The store is home to not only the market place itself, but plays host to local dinners, cooking classes and food related seminars.  We cultivate relationships between the many vendors and consumers, resulting in a food community unique to our area of the country.

One of the most substantial programs we run out of the store is our CSA program.  We are often asked what exactly the CSA is, and how the CSA came about.  A CSA is a partnership between people in the community and local farmers.  We facilitate that partnership.  When the CSA began, we were at a point in the store where more and more farmers wanted to sell their produce through the store, but we didn’t have the room at the time to support them all.  The store itself was already a collaboration of farms and the CSA was a natural next step.  It solved the problem of room by receiving produce in the morning and having folks pick it up that same day. The first year we had 100 members, the next year we increased the number of CSA shares to 250 , then 500.  We now stand at over 600 shares for the upcoming summer and 200 more for the fall harvest CSA program.  We can account for at least 6 more acres of Nebraska land in food productions due to the growing CSA program.

So how does it all work?  We get together with several growers in the area and we plan out who is growing what.  We then determine how many people we can feed.   People in the community purchase one of the “shares” of the harvest.   The farmers bring in the crops as they are ready to be harvested and we put them in shopping bags for the shareholders.  The shareholders will come in each week and give us their empty bag and we give them a full one of whatever was harvested for them that week.  This way the farmers have confidence in growing knowing it’s sold and the shareholders know they are getting the very best the farmers have to offer.

So why does it matter to you?  Have you taken the Live Well Omaha Kids family dining pledge?  Add some adventure to your family meals.  Try some vegetables you may have never tried before.  The CSA is a great place to discover your new favorite food.

To learn more about Tomato Tomato’s CSA program click here, we would love to have you: www.tomatotomato.org/csa

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