What Unique Features Does Eastmark Offer?
The Eastmark community has a number of unique features to offer its residents. One of the most distinctive aspects is an urban farm in the area called Steadfast Farm.
The Steadfast Farm is a 2-acre organic commercial farm located next to the Visitor Center in Eastmark. Its focus is to feed residents and local restaurants with its bio-intensive focus on growing fresh fruits, vegetables, and flowers using organic practices. The farm also offers produce and eggs.
Throughout the community, Steadfast Farm offers what they call a CSA program, short for “Community Supported Agriculture”. This concept was developed in Japan in the 1960’s and is meant to build a relationship between the farmers and the community. Within this program, members of the community buy shares in the farms output before the season starts, then reap the benefits of the harvest each week as the season progresses. In other words, the members are almost like shareholders in the farm and become invested in the farm’s successes and failures. That way, the farmers are able to receive capital before each season starts, when they need it most, and allows them to focus on being in the field during the growing seasons instead of worrying about selling the produce as well.
Another important aspect of a CSA includes cutting down on the needless waste of resources and energy it takes to be able to buy fruits and vegetables shipped from all over the world, regardless of the season. The long journey the food must take means it often sacrifices the nutritional value and flavor of the produce. By choosing locally grown food from within the community, you are ensuring that you are eating the freshest, most nutrient rich and best tasting food possible while also being environmentally responsible.
Once you join a CSA with Steadfast Farm, you can sign up to receive a weekly or bi-weekly bundle of fresh, organically grown fruits, vegetables, microgreens and herbs, depending on availability and season. The farmers make sure to carefully select each item and harvest it when it is ripe, just before you receive it. They also never use chemicals, synthetic pesticides, or any herbicides on their crops.
Members also receive newsletters throughout the harvest season filled with updates, recipes, and even stories from the farm. The farm sometimes offers exclusive CSA farm tours and opportunities to volunteer so you have an understanding of what it takes to get the best food possible.
An example of what a CSA share might include is: a bag of spring lettuce mix, a bunch of carrots, a head of romaine lettuce, a bunch of beets, a bunch of red curly kale, a bunch of green onions, a package of pea shoots. The CSA members can also elect to add pastured chicken eggs and fresh-cut flowers to each pick up. A more comprehensive list of what Steadfast Farm grows includes Arugula, Beets, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Collard Greens, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Edible Flowers, Fennel, Garlic, Herbs, Kale, Lettuce, Microgreens, Onions, Peppers, Radishes, Spinach, Summer Squash, Salad Mix, Swiss Chard, Tomatoes, Turnips, and Winter Squash.
As a part of the CSA, you are able to pick up your weekly or bi-weekly order from a number of locations throughout the Valley, including Tempe, Scottsdale, Phoenix/Arcadia, Gilbert, Mesa and of course, Eastmark. Members of the community are also able to shop from Steadfast Farm’s produce at farmers markets in the Phoenix area, including the Gilbert Farmers Market, Phoenix Public Market, and Uptown Farmers Market, or from the Steadfast Farm Store in Eastmark by the Visitor’s Center (hours vary based on season).
In addition, the farm also offers its produce and fresh eggs to several local establishments throughout Arizona, including Arizona Biltmore, Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, Boulders Resort and Spa, Pizzeria Bianco, Handlebar Diner, Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co. and FnB.
Steadfast Farm also offers consulting services, whether you are a beginning farmer or seasoned grower. They offer advice on a wide range of small-scale farming topics that can help you take your operation to the next level. Consultations can be done over the phone or on-site. A range of topics that they’ve consulted on previously include farm design, tools and technology, season extension, soil fertility management, weed control, crop planning, and even branding and marketing.
Becoming a member of Steadfast Farm’s CSA could be something beneficial for you and your family, as well as the community. Check out their website today to find out more information on pricing and to sign up!