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Boulder County Farmers Market in Longmont. Photo by Ashton Ray Hansen

Buy a Community-Supported Agriculture Share to Help Local Farmers

As the coronavirus pandemic shutters restaurants and delays market openings, Colorado farmers are at risk of losing a lot of revenue—but you can help.

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For the past several weeks, farmers across the Front Range have been seeding cool-weather crops, hiring seasonal workers, repairing equipment, and much more to prepare for the growing season ahead. But as farmers’ markets delay openings by at least a month and restaurants close to on-site dining in compliance with the state’s effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, dozens of Colorado producers are at risk of losing weeks worth of income.

At this time, Boulder County Farmers Markets (BCFM), a nonprofit that operates four producer-only markets across Boulder, Longmont, Lafayette, and Denver, has delayed the opening of its Boulder and Longmont markets from April 4 to May 2, and doesn’t plan to open the Denver and Lafayette markets until May 16 and June 4, respectively. “The delay will hit us all pretty hard,” says Josh Olsen, a farm-to-table instructor at Acres at Warren Tech in Jefferson County. “If we can get this turned around by mid-May, opening the markets back up would be ideal, with the hopes that markets can finish out the season strong. September through the end of the season are the biggest months for sales anyway.”

In addition to farmers’ markets, many producers rely heavily on sales to area restaurants as a significant portion of their revenue. Wyatt Barnes, owner of Red Wagon Farm in Longmont, sells about one-third of what he grows to restaurants. He’s hired five fewer seasonal employees in response to the novel coronavirus, as he doesn’t expect restaurant sales to pick up until July or August. 

Luckily, many farms offer community-supported agriculture (CSA) shares to bring in cash flow at the beginning of the season. How it works: Shareholders pay farmers a lump sum to cover the cost of produce throughout an entire growing season, which can last anywhere from 15 to 25 weeks in Colorado. In return, CSA members receive a weekly share of fresh, seasonal produce. In some cases, shares may also include other products like eggs and meat, or farms may partner with other local companies to offer items such as flowers as add-ons. The practice acts as a form of crop insurance for those who work in an industry that relies heavily on the will of Mother Nature; while CSA members don’t get their money back if the farm is decimated by a flood or a bear eats half an acre of melons, the farmers are supported.

Not all farms offer CSA shares, though, and Brian Coppom, executive director of BCFM, is working with market vendors to offer alternative ways to distribute food to consumers while markets remain closed. “The impacts on the market this season will be interesting. As long as social distancing is the key to staying healthy and preventing transmission, it will affect our at-market activities,” says Coppom. “Our hearts go out to our chef partners and the many restaurants and hourly workers who are being devastated by this.” 

In the meantime, here are 20 farms on the Front Range with available CSA shares this season:

Paper Kite Farm

What: Vegetables
Where: 2575 S. Linley Ct., Denver; delivery is available, along with farm stand sales (Mondays, June–October; 5-7 p.m.); paperkitefarm@gmail.com
CSA Duration: 20 weeks

Grow Girl Organics 

What: Vegetables, eggs
Where: 12229 W. 80th Ave., Arvada; 5142 S. Xenophon Ct., Littleton; 303-886-5645
CSA Duration: 10–20 weeks

Golden Acre Farm 

What: Vegetables
Where: 30 S. Garrison St., Lakewood; 860-716-9231
CSA Duration: 18–20 weeks 

Sprout City Farms 

What: Vegetables; fruit, mushrooms, jam, eggs, microgreens, tea, and honey add-ons available
Where: 5620 W. 14th Ave., Lakewood (the Denver Green School location is sold out for the 2020 season), along with farm stand sales (multiple locations; times vary); 720-319-8126
CSA Duration: 7–18 weeks

Aspen Moon Farm 

What: Vegetables; fruit, flower, and bread add-ons available
Where: 7927 Hygiene Rd., Longmont; 1109 Ogden St., Denver, along with farm stand sales in Longmont (Monday–Friday; 10 a.m.–6 p.m.); 303-684-6848
CSA Duration: 22 weeks 

Cure Organic Farm 

What: Vegetables; fruit, egg, flower, coffee, bread, wine, and cheese add-ons available
Where: 7416 Valmont Rd., Boulder, along with farm stand sales (12–5 p.m. daily, weather permitting)
CSA Duration: 10–20 weeks 

McCauley Family Farm 

What: Pasture-raised chicken, pork, lamb, eggs, and fermented vegetables
Where: 9421 N. 63rd St., Longmont; 4745 Walnut St., Boulder; delivery is available and fermented hot sauces are available for purchase online; 303-485-7688
CSA Duration: Year-round

Micro Farms Colorado 

What: Vegetables
Where: 7020 W. 61st Ave., Arvada; 8090 W. 19th Ave., Lakewood; 303-588-3640
CSA Duration: 22 weeks 

GoFarm 

What: Vegetables; fruit, flowers, eggs, mushrooms, and bread add-ons available
Where: Pick up at various Front Range locations; 720-580-3276
CSA Duration: 8–20 weeks 

Acres at Warren Tech 

What: Vegetables; egg and mushroom add-ons available
Where: 13300 W. Second Pl., Lakewood; 720-550-9015
CSA Duration: 20 weeks 

Monroe Organic Farms

What: Vegetables; meat, fruit, honey, and olive oil add-ons available
Where: Pick up at various Front Range locations; 970-284-7941
CSA Duration: Duration varies 

Ollin Farms 

What: Vegetables
Where: 8627 N. 95th St., Longmont; 1350 20th St., Boulder; 303-717-0586
CSA Duration: 21 weeks 

Red Wagon Farm 

What: Vegetables
Where: Pick up at various locations in Boulder and Longmont; 303-949-0285
CSA Duration: 23 weeks 

Jodar Farms 

What: Chicken, eggs, pork
Where: Pick-up locations vary; sales are also available at the store at 10428 N. County Rd. 7, Wellington (Sundays; 11 a.m.–1 p.m.); 970-391-2825
CSA Duration: Monthly (June–October and January–May)

63rd Street Farm 

What: Vegetables; meat, poultry, wine, coffee, and milk add-ons available
Where: 3796 N. 63rd St., Boulder; 720-938-3059
CSA Duration: 24 weeks 

Front Line Farming 

What: Vegetables
Where: 2861 52nd Ave., Denver; 7000 Garrison St., Arvada
CSA Duration: 16 weeks

Croft Family Farm

What: Vegetables
Where: 2819 35th Ave., Greeley; 970-371-3134
CSA Duration: May–October

Wild Wick’s Farm

What: Vegetables; flowers available
Where: 10200 W. 16th Ave., Lakewood, along with farm stand sales (Wednesdays, noon–8 p.m.) and delivery is available; 303-549-6323
CSA Duration: 23 weeks

Isabelle Farm

What: Vegetables; fruit, coffee, pasta, and bread add-ons available
Where: Pick-up locations vary; 720-438-0707
CSA Duration: 20 weeks

Forever West Farms 

What: Vegetables; poultry and heritage grains available
Where: Pick-up locations vary; 303-961-7339
CSA Duration: 20 weeks

Miller Farms

What: Vegetables; meat and eggs available
Where: 13912 CR-19, Platteville; 970-785-6133
CSA Duration: 20 weeks

Did we miss a farm offering CSA shares for the 2020 season? Let us know at dining@5280.com

This story is part of The Stay Inside Guide to Denver. For more ideas on enjoying the Mile High City from home, click here.

The Stay Inside Guide to Denver

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