Several Co-op members and friends, had the privilege of hanging out with owner Lindsay Kaiser of Kaiser Farm at her garden in Waverly last month. Kaiser Farm is a Certified Organic grower with goals of protecting the fertile Iowa soils and providing their customers with the best produce possible. Lindsay is also a co-op member-owner and huge supporter. Having offered a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program in the past, with the addition of a second little one to the family last year, Kaiser Farm has decided to focus exclusively on the Cedar Falls Farmer’s Market this season.
Since many Co-op members had asked for a closer look at her operation, and Lindsay was in need of help with some tasks, she asked if the Co-op would like to partner on a volunteer excursion to the farm. Once word of the opportunity spread, it was clear there was great interest.
Although the group was looking forward to the experience that week, heat indexes of over 100 degrees had everyone a little concerned. But just minutes before the group arrived at Kaiser Farm, a pop-up rain storm showered the area, offering much needed water to the soil and dropping temperatures to a tolerable level.
Lindsay began with a guided tour of the gardens, which also included the group raiding what was left of the peas, and a tasting of radish shoots (a new and delicious experience for most). It was easy to see the focus on family – evidence of little ones was everywhere from toys scattered here and there, to a couple cherry tomato plants obviously plundered by little hands, and also an array of small, colorful shovels near mounds of soil randomly piled up, laying stake to pretend kingdoms among the fresh vegetables.
As the tour group approached the broccoli and cauliflower, they received instructions on the project for the day. Everyone was happy to jump in and weed the rows, which also afforded a sneak peek at these delicious summer staples (they should be ready in a couple weeks!). The short rain storm made the job go quickly as unwanted intruders were extracted easily from the rich, damp soil. The overcast sky seemed almost “on purpose” providing shade to the entire farm and the volunteers.
Once the work was done, the group gathered for more farm-inspired tasting – this time of some delicious dishes made by outreach coordinator, Melanie Drake, and Paige Everly of the membership committee. Offerings included chilled infused waters, fennel grapefruit salad, BLT dip with fresh vegetables, and garlic scape pesto (recipe link here). All of the items included fresh ingredients provided by Kaiser Farms.
As the group finished up the tasting, the sun reappeared and reminded everyone of the predicted heat index of 104! Lindsay thanked the group by presenting a freshly harvested head of garlic for each volunteer. We are assuming most people rushed home to make their own batch of pesto…in air conditioning, of course!
Due to the popularity of this event, more volunteer excursions with our farming and producer friends will be planned in the future. Since this event filled fast, check the Co-op Facebook page frequently for updates. Kaiser Farms plans to offer CSAs again in the future, perhaps by next summer. For now, please visit them and other local vendors at the Cedar Falls Farmer’s Market Saturday mornings through October.