Anyone who has bitten into a mealy peach in January knows that fruit shipped from afar just isn't that satisfying.
More and more people here in Tompkins County are discovering an alternative and signing up for the winter Finger Lakes Fruit Bowl CSA. Members receive a twice-monthly share of local fruit, in the form of frozen berries, homemade jams, cider, juice, fresh apples, and even honey, all from family farms in New York State.
Sue Mueller and Lucy Garrison-Clauson, of Stick and Stone Farm, started the Fruit Bowl in 2008 with just 25 members. This year, they expect to get about 100. “We’re growing quickly,” said Mueller.
The Fruit Bowl is part of the Full Plate Farm Collective, a group of farms that saw great value in having a fruit share available to their members, according to Mueller. “They found that no one farm was able to produce a full range of fruit because of pest and disease pressures and also different soil and climate requirements of various plants,” she said. So she and Garrison-Clauson started a “third-party” fruit CSA, which means they work with several farms in the area to bring members a selection of fruit. “For the winter CSA, we purchase all of our fruit in advance and store it so you don't have to,” Mueller explains.