Behind the Scenes: Farm-to-Table

Written by: 
Angilee Wilkerson

Angilee Wilkerson with Ryan Crocker ('06), owner of Earthwise Gardens and Produce who runs JBG Denton CSA.Fall used to be my favorite season, but now I have to say that the harvests of the Denton CSAs in spring and summer have stolen my heart.

If you are unfamiliar with the term "CSA," it stands for community-supported agriculture, which means members receive weekly or every other week a box of whatever was pulled from the garden. Lucky for Dentonites, there are two CSA farms in Denton -- Earthwise (now JBG Denton) and Cardo's Farm Project -- and both happen to have been started by UNT alumni. Each offers something unique and wonderful, and many people, myself and my parents included, have signed up for both.

A grass roots town, "little D" is flourishing with organic farms, neighborhood chicken and beekeepers, master gardeners and naturalists and an array of artisans selling goods -- everything from gourmet hibiscus and peppermint popsicles to organic apothecary.

You can experience all of this Saturday morning at Denton's funky, quaint and family-friendly market -- a community gathering of folks looking to shop, socialize, listen to live music and most importantly chow down on delicious foods. My personal fave is the Denton Vegan Co-op nachos made with a slightly spicy "cheese" of cashew, potato and other goodness covered in a fresh salsa of CSA tomatoes, cilantro, onion and peppers.

My Saturday morning routine is to jump on the bike and visit the market. I often chat with the gem guy and see what treasures he has that week -- fossils from Maine or iridescent cobalt blue rocks from Arizona. I never miss Cardo's Farm Projectbooth where I buy fresh flowers and sunflower sprouts. After shopping at the market I make my way to Earthwise, a family-owned organic produce shop on Elm Street to pick up my CSA share, one of the highlights of my week.

Taking photographs for The North Texan's Farm-to-Table feature was an assignment I quickly snatched up. Anything earth-related and you can count me in, and besides, it gave me an excuse to pull out the macro lens and study squash and okra blossoms!

What's been most amazing for me to learn is how a relatively small CSA provides an abundance of wholesome sustenance for so many families. It all starts with the farmer's sheer determination and willingness to devote his or her life to keeping the soil rich and the plants nurtured, truly a labor of love and one I am personally grateful for.

Meeting with the Bearded Brothers and cheese maker David Eagle, I was uplifted by their passion for organic ingredients free from the contamination of fillers, antibiotics, preservatives and mysteriously named chemicals and synthetic by-products. These UNT entrepreneurs are keeping it real and I dig it!!

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