Farm to Folk – Ames, Iowa Area
An Interview with Marilyn Andersen, Farm to Folk Coordinator
Farm to Folk is a pretty unique operation. Tell us a little bit about how it works. What kinds of foods do you sell? Anything special about the needs of your customers?
Farm to Folk is a non-profit organization that connects local food producers with Ames, IA area consumers. For a $15 annual membership fee, members can purchase fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy, eggs, flowers, meats, honey, grains, flours, frozen foods and baked goods. We offer vegetable CSA shares from four different farms: Iowa Fresh Produce, Lee’s Greens, Middle Way Farm and Seven Pines Farm. With the CSA share, the consumer pays at the beginning of the season for a weekly delivery of fresh produce over the growing season. We offer a flower CSA share from Elizabella Flower Farm, dairy shares from Picket Fence Creamery and egg shares from several local producers. In addition we offer a la carte ordering from a list that is updated weekly. This system can be used to supplement the CSA share or as a stand-alone option. We have an online ordering system and a weekly distribution, year-round on Tuesdays for order pick-up.
Some of the products offered are certified organic; others are produced using organic methods but not certified. We are transparent about the production methods of the farmers and support sustainable, earth-friendly growing systems.
How did it get started?
Farm to Folk started in 2006 as an enhancement to the Magic Beanstalk CSA. Magic Beanstalk was a multi-producer CSA share with 5-8 producers contributing to the share. Magic Beanstalk started in 1998. By 2006 there was more experience among the local growers and they wanted to offer CSA shares independently. To continue to assist newer producers and growers offering only a few specialized products, we also introduced the a la carte system in 2006. This was a benefit to small and single person households that didn’t need a full CSA share to meet their food needs.
Why did you begin carrying Iowa Choice Harvest products? What do you like about using Iowa Choice Harvest foods?
We offer the Iowa Choice Harvest products to give our members a choice of high quality Iowa Grown frozen foods. The flash freeze method in a local facility makes the frozen product very tasty.
Why have you made Iowa-local foods an important part of your business?
Promoting local foods and supporting local producers is the core of our mission. It builds the local economy while giving consumers access to the freshest possible foods.