Special Issues » The Numbers Issue

750,000

The estimated number of seeds planted by local farmer Rita Bachmann

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Community Supported Agriculture is nothing new in hippie havens like Vermont and California, but who knew it would catch on in GOP country? Local farmer Rita Bachmann, of Rita's Roots, announced last spring that she'd soon offer weekly boxes of fresh, organic veggies to anyone willing to spot her the cash to get her crops planted, and she sold out of her allotment within a couple of weeks. Legare Farms and the Ambrose Family Farm followed suit, and a host of Charlestonians have been enjoying fresh greens, turnips, squash, and radishes ever since.

Between her spring and fall crops, Bachmann estimates she's planted about 750,000 seeds this year, no small feat for an independent farmer. Beets, lettuce, and arugula are her biggest seed purchases, but unfamiliar veggies like the bulbous kohlrabi keep CSA recipients creative in the kitchen. The program works like stock in a company — when the harvest is plentiful, the members reap the rewards; they also share the risks.

Although the fall harvest suffered due to mole crickets, a few weeks of torrential downpours in early fall, and an early freeze in November, Bachmann's managed to keep her boxes full of goodies. In the spring, she hopes to expand the CSA to include at least 100 members, as well as establishing a you-pick flower garden, creating an on-site market, and growing more fruit and heirloom varieties of squash and tomatoes. Check on Rita's progress at ritasroots.wordpress.com.

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