Vermont Valley Community Farm vegetables and fruits are produced almost exclusively for our CSA operation.  You will not find our produce on restaurant menus, at farmers markets or in stores, with the exception of our relationship with Willy Street Coop production kitchen and a few other local businesses.  When we have less than perfect produce or more volume than can be worked into our CSA system, we feel it is our responsibility to make our produce available to those who need it most.

For the 20 weeks of our CSA delivery season the Vermont Valley crew brings thousands of pounds of produce in from the fields.  After the produce has been sorted and washed we are left with hundreds of pounds of vegetables that have imperfections.  We have developed relationships with organizations in the Madison area who gladly accept produce donations.

The Goodman Community Center incorporates our produce into its meals each week through the Kid’s Cafe Program, a partnering of Madison community centers and local farms, funded by Group Health Cooperative.  This year, the Goodman Community Center has served over 2000 pounds of Vermont Valley produce to the kids during summer day camps and after school programs.

Students prepping beets for lunch to be served onsite to other program kids.

Students from the Seed to Table program prepping beets for lunch to be served onsite to other program kids.  Seed to Table provides Madison Metropolitan School District students the opportunity to earn both school credit and money while gaining valuable experience.

Cans of sauced tomatoes that were processed by students at Goodman Community Center

Jars of canned tomatoes that were processed by students at Goodman Community Center.

Vermont Valley will be contributing 1000+ lbs of potatoes, winter squash, kale and collard greens to the Goodman Community Center Thanksgiving Baskets Project.  The greens are harvested from our field by Goodman Community Center staff and kids.  Baskets filled with Thanksgiving meal supplies are distributed to families in need.  Goodman Community Center also brings children to visit the farm to pick pumpkins in October.  Over the past 4 years, our partnership with this center has proven to be an amazing outlet for our produce and a source of on-farm experience for Goodman Community Center program participants.

Goodman Community Center kids picking pumpkins last season.

Goodman Community Center kids picking pumpkins last season.

This is our third season working with the Mt. Horeb Area School District.  This year they have received over 2300 pounds of tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, sweet corn, summer squash, and melon from Vermont Valley Community Farm.  Food service director, Michelle Denk, organizes a group of local volunteers to help her process the produce to be served throughout the school year.  We are proud that our vegetables are on local school lunch menus!

Mt Horeb van picking up weekly donation

Mt Horeb van picking up a weekly donation.

Trays of vegetables waiting to bagged and frozen for winter meals

Trays of vegetables waiting to bagged and frozen for winter meals.

When CSA members cannot pick up their share for the week, we deliver the excess produce to low income families or place it in local childcare centers.  This effort ensures that no shares are  wasted while passing along the extra vegetables to families and children.

"So here is just one example of how the Vermont Valley family is making a big impact for the Belleville Preschoolers. Last night you sent us those beautiful edamame pods. This morning for morning snack time I boiled some up in salty water and the preschoolers had fun popping out the beans and gobbling them up!  This is Nolan (on left) and Gavin (right) eating the second batch of pods I made because they ate the first batch so fast! Seriously, look at how many empty pods are on Nolan's plate! These are some appreciative bellies! I never tire of hearing the preschoolers say, "Lindsay we ate them all. Can you make another batch?" or at lunch time I hear, "May I have more salad please?" It amazes me that some people say kids don't eat their vegetables. "

“Last night you sent us those beautiful edamame pods. This morning for morning snack time I boiled some up in salty water and the preschoolers had fun popping out the beans and gobbling them up!  This is Nolan (on left) and Gavin (right) eating the second batch of pods I made because they ate the first batch so fast! Seriously, look at how many empty pods are on Nolan’s plate! These are some appreciative bellies!  I never tire of hearing the preschoolers say, “Lindsay we ate them all. Can you make another batch?” or at lunch time I hear, “May I have more salad please?”
It amazes me that some people say kids don’t eat their vegetables. ” – Lindsay Brocket – Belleville Preschool and Childcare

During June, July and August we coordinate a weekly donation of produce to Badger Camp, a camp in Prairie du Chien serving those with developmental disabilities.  Badger Camp served over 1500 pounds of Vermont Valley Community Farm produce to its campers this summer.

Badger Camp staff and campers with Vermont Valley produce

Badger Camp staff and campers with Vermont Valley produce.

Badger Camp staff chopping carrots and cucumber for camp meal.

Badger Camp staff chopping carrots and cucumber for camp meal.

Our produce also makes its way to other events and organizations such as Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin, FairShare CSA Coalition Bike the Barns, AIDS Network AIDS Ride, First United Methodist Church Food Pantry, and Middleton Outreach Ministry.

Second Harvest truck backing up to packing shed to load up with produce

Second Harvest truck backing up to packing shed to load up with produce.

Loading up cantaloupe, tomatoes, cucumbers, summer squash, and eggplant for Second Harvest.

Loading cantaloupe, tomatoes, cucumbers, summer squash, lettuce heads and eggplant for Second Harvest.

Riders at the FairSare CSA Coation Bike The Barns event.  Lovely Ember Photography

Riders at the FairSare CSA Coation Bike The Barns event. Lovely Ember Photography

The 2013 growing season has been a bountiful one.  The gross weight of produce distributed into the community between May and September has more than doubled since 2012!  Our relationships with community centers, schools and food pantries continue to strengthen, stretching the reach of Vermont Valley produce further.  We are fortunate to have developed partnerships with organizations that share our dedication to improving the local food system by making locally grown, organic produce available to those who otherwise may not have access to high quality food.

Jonnah