Abbott’s, Fifers’ Celebrate Local, Fresh Produce

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Fifer peaches, sweet corn and tomatoes are now plentiful. Summertime bliss!
Fifer peaches, sweet corn and tomatoes are now plentiful. Summertime bliss!

On Wednesday, July 9 Abbott’s Grill in Milford held a patio party to highlight their partnership with Fifer Orchards and the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. Featuring peach barbecue chicken hot off the outdoor grill, libations from Mispillion River Brewing and produce from Fifer Orchards, participants celebrated the new summer menu at Abbott’s Grill and learned how farm-to table efforts including CSA are beneficial to a healthy lifestyle and the local economy.

For several years, Abbott’s Grill has partnered with Fifer Orchards in Wyoming to ensure that their entrees, salads and deserts are made with local, fresh produce straight from the farm. The new sumer menu is a “light, refreshing menu” that features briskets prepared with fresh peaches, watermelon salad, peach barbecue and caprese salad. Over all four seasons the two businesses partner to bring local produce including blueberries, corn, squash, tomatoes and peppers to the plates of Abbott’s Grill fans.

“We enjoy going directly to the source where our food is actually grown,” commented Kevin Reading, owner of Abbott’s Grill. “We want to share the produce from local farmers, our soil in Delaware develops some of the best produce in the area.”

Jessica Yocum of Fifers Orchard was available during the event to introduce families to the CSA program that Fifers developed four years ago. The program is a partnership established directly between farmer and consumer.  The CSA concept has become a popular way for customers to purchase seasonal, fresh, locally grown produce in-season. This mutually beneficial relationship begins with an annual commitment to one another. As the consumer provides a pre-season investment to purchase a membership,  the grower uses this investment to plan for the crops, plant the crop, grow the crops and harvest the crops.  Once harvest begins, the farmer is committed to providing members with a weekly box of fresh fruits and vegetables that are hand selected for quality and picked at the peak of ripeness and flavor.

“This is a great way to support local farmers and have a direct relationship with the local agricultural community,” commented Yocum. “You know where the food is coming from and it is a very convenient way to realize some real health benefits.”

Fifer Orchards’ forth generation family farm grows a wide selection of both fruit and vegetables which enables them to offer a variety in each CSA box. Members of the CSA program pick up a weekly box full of produce that varies each week depending on the fruits and vegetables in season. Fifer Orchards prepared common items including sweet corn, tomatoes, blueberries and peaches but also include exciting produce that is not typically found in a grocery store including local honey, apple butter and local ice cream. The box contains enough produce for a typical family of four.

In addition to providing a healthy lifestyle for local families, the CSA program also helps to create a healthy agricultural community. The money from these boxes are paid directly to farmers as an investment to keep the farms alive and financially sound.

“We are losing a lot of our farmland in Delaware to development,” commented Yocum. “The CSA program benefits our farmers and creates a healthier agricultural climate. Community Supported Agriculture keeps your food dollar within the local economy and keeps farmland in agricultural use and open space.”

CSA runs from for 18 weeks each year, the first week of May through early September. All members will be provided a weekly box of produce, which they will pick up from various locations, and have the ability to add on free-range brown eggs, local free-range ground turkey and local grass-fed beef. Individuals interested in the program are encouraged to sign up online at http://www.fiferorchards.com/marketplace/csa-club-membership/.