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Thu, Oct. 17

Local farmer uses his 'green thumb' to grow produce for community<BR><BR>

What is CSA?

It stands for Community Supported Agriculture, is a partnership of mutual commitment between a farm and a community of supporters, providing a direct link between the production and consumption of food.

Review/Diane DeHamer

Cory Rade, Shanti Leinaw, and Gibson Rade, of Whipstone Farm box up fresh produce for their customers.

The supporters cover a farm's yearly operating budget by purchasing a share of the season's harvest. CSA members receive fresh, locally and naturally grown produce once a week from spring through fall.

Paulden resident Cory Rade is the owner of Whipstone Farm, which is a CSA providing farm.

"I love growing things; when I was a teen it was my dream to be a farmer," Rade said.

He grew up in Flagstaff, and nine years ago he and his family – wife Melissa, son Ryan and daughter Gibson – moved to Paulden.

When they first moved to Paulden, he commuted back and forth to Flagstaff working as a chimney sweep. Now most of his time is spent growing his amazing variety of vegetables, herbs and eatable flowers. He has three full acres of vegetables – everything from the usual things such as tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, beets, beans and onions to the unusual, including striped beets, yellow carrots, tomatillos, and all sorts of greens, mustard, spinach, lettuce, collard, chard and more. He doesn't grow corn because it isn't cost effective.

He, his daughter Gibson, and employee Shanti Leinow spend many hours tending the large chemical-free garden. And with planting, fertilizing, watering, weeding and picking, it makes for a very long day.

"Bugs are our biggest problem, especially blister beetles," Rade reported. But, he added, "every vegetable has it's own challenges."

He sells his produce at the Prescott farmers market on Saturdays and the Flagstaff farmers market on Sundays. He also grows produce for various chefs of local restaurants.

"The chefs basically buy unusual things that can't be found in markets, such as squash blossoms, striped beets and edible flowers," he said.

Whipstone Farm CSA member Molly Beverly, on the other hand, comes and picks up her fresh tasty produce every week.

"I've been a gardener for years, but I've never eaten so well as I have since I started getting Cory's vegetables," she declared.

Review/Diane DeHamer

Cory Rade, Shanti Leinaw, and Gibson Rade, of Whipstone Farm box up fresh produce for their customers.

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