House of many hats

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Giardini Trattoria is a restaurant, catering company, organic garden — and now CSA coordinator. The folks behind Giardini, which is located in Columbus, N.C., just announced that they have devised a “second-generation style of CSA” that aims to provide a solution to some of the dilemmas that they feel have been a part of the traditional CSA experience.

A recent press release from Giardini explains: “Traditionally, a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) functioned by paying upfront to an individual farm, and then received 20 weeks of fresh produce that was all equally distributed to all its members each week. This meant that everyone received the same exact variety and volume of produce week after week despite what their personal tastes and needs may have been. For many people the surprise of what they would receive was fun and exciting, but for many people, it became problematic in that they were receiving items they might not have been fond of, or that they did not receive enough of other items that they loved.”

The restaurant owners have started an Internet-based, custom-ordering system called Polk NC Locally Grown. Customers that join Locally Grown “have access to the fresh harvest of an entire network of organically grown local produce, fresh-cut flowers, and value-added items (fresh bread, pestos, salad dressing, jellies, herbal tea, etc.).” An up-front seasonal payment goes into a debit-like system account, which customers are able to draw from in any way desired throughout the growing season. Each Saturday, the folks at Locally Grown send CSA members an e-mail notice that details everything available for purchase in the upcoming week, along with a link to the Web site. Members need only browse the items available and place their week’s order. On pick up days, customers drop by the restaurant and collect the goods they requested. The amount of the order is then automatically deducted from the customer’s account, so there is no exchange of money on a weekly basis.

For more information, visit polknc.locallygrown.net, or call 818-3727.

Mackensy Lunsford, food coordinator

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