Small Bites: Second Spring Market Garden offers year-round CSA

ETERNAL SPRING: Casara Logan and Matt Coffay (pictured with a furry friend) are using unheated hoop houses and minimally heated greenhouses to create a year-round farm with a remarkably small footprint — on both the land and the environment. Photo by Cindy Kunst

Second Spring Market Garden and CSA

In May, Alexander-based farmers Matt Coffay and Casara Logan will begin distributing shares for their new 52-week Community Supported Agriculture venture, Second Spring Market Garden. Using a combination of intensive plant spacings, unheated hoop houses and minimally heated greenhouses, the pair promise to provide fresh produce to the Asheville area year-round. This means Second Spring customers can expect garden-fresh baby bok choy and beets at Christmas and freshly picked turnips, leeks and garlic on Valentine’s Day, not to mention the usual June eggplants and July okra.

As a market garden, Coffay explains, their 1.5-acre operation is different from a standard, small-scale organic vegetable production farm. “It’s modeled after the Parisian market gardens of 18th- and 19th-century France,” he says, “where these guys were doing everything by hand, and instead of using horses to pull plows and spacing things really wide, in small, intensive spaces and using little raised beds and lots of compost, they basically supplied the whole city with all of its food every month of the year. These guys basically pioneered growing under glass, and that’s kind of our inspiration.”

Time spent living in China and witnessing the large-scale pollution that country’s farming practices are creating drives the couple to maintain organic, ecologically sound practices. “We would take the train every morning and go over these fields being irrigated with green goop, just the worst-looking food in the worst conditions, and it made us feel like we wanted to do something that means something, to do something practical for our community when we got back to the States that would keep us in touch with ecology. So we’re basically doing applied ecology every day.”

Coffay and Logan were previously cultivating an even smaller parcel of land in Burnsville before they moved to their current location in January as the first vegetable farm to participate in the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy’s Incubator Farm program. The midwinter move, says Coffay, caused them to run later than they had hoped in kicking off their CSA. “There’s been a gap, and everything isn’t ready on the new property yet, so we had to put a pause on the winter farming this year.”

CSA shares for the spring-to-fall growing season are now available, with delivery set to begin the second week of May. The first share is projected to contain a wide range of veggies — everything from zucchini to sugar snap peas and new potatoes. Full shares for the season are $600, half shares are $350. Limited numbers of winter shares, which will provide fresh salad greens, leeks, beets, spinach, carrots and much more November through April, are available for $350. Winter shares are offered first to customers who buy spring-to-fall shares. Payment plans are available for those who can’t manage a big sum of money all at once.

Pickup for the CSA will be at Second Spring’s two tailgate markets: Asheville City Market on Saturdays and the French Broad Food Co-op Market on Wednesdays.

Visit secondspringfarm.com or Facebook.com/secondspringfarm for details and to sign up for shares.

Waffle-Off Championship and Community Brunch

Blue Ridge-Asheville Movement & Flow Arts Society will host its sixth annual Waffle-Off Championship and Community Brunch on Sunday, March 29. Part waffle-making contest, part potluck, the event invites the community to enjoy a waffle and mimosa brunch and “decide who will be crowned Master of the Waffle Iron and Supreme Potentate Over All Creation,” says a press release from organizers. Tickets are $5 in advance or $8 at the door, plus attendees are asked to bring one of the following items: real maple syrup, a gallon of organic orange juice, a bottle of sparkling wine, a bowl of fruit salad or a precooked item to share (such as bacon or a favorite brunch-y recipe). Families and individuals can contribute an extra $5 to the cause if they can’t bring a potluck item. Children younger than 10 get in free. All proceeds will benefit the Blue Ridge-Asheville Movement & FlowArts Society. The event is rain or shine.

10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Sunday, March 29, Asheville Commissary (formerly CinTom’s Frozen Custard), 3080 Sweeten Creek Road.

Vegan cooking classes at Plant

Vegan chef Jason Sellers of Plant restaurant will offer a series of lunchtime cooking classes on Saturdays in April focusing on the preparation of risotto and wild spring edibles. At each workshop, Sellers will provide a cooking demonstration with instruction, and participants will then get to dine on the dish of the day with a glass of wine or house nonalcoholic drink. The cost is $60 per class. More workshops will be scheduled in the future and will be announced on Plant’s Facebook page and in the restaurant’s e-newsletter.

11 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays in April, Plant, 165 Merrimon Ave. For details, visit plantisfood.com or look for Plant on Facebook.

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About Gina Smith
Gina Smith is the Mountain Xpress Food section editor and writer. She can be reached at gsmith@mountainx.com.

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