Weigl: Artisans adopt community supported agriculture

andrea.weigl@newsobserver.comSeptember 11, 2012 

Rob and Monica Segovia-Welsh of Chicken Bridge Bakery, with their son, Simon.

COURTESY OF SEGOVIA-WELSH FAMILY

  • Want to learn more? Here’s how these CSA-based models work: consumers pay up front for a six- to eight-week session. Each week, the goods are either delivered to their homes or available for pickup at a set location. Some accept new members on a rolling basis; others sell out quickly. The starting dates of their sessions vary. The key is to get on the mailing list and try to secure a spot before they are sold out. Bread: Bread Uprising ( breaduprising.wordpress.com) in Durham and Chicken Bridge Bakery ( chickenbridgebakery.weebly.com) in Carrboro. For more information about Bread Uprising’s fundraising campaign, go to www.indiegogo.com/breaduprising. Soup: Short Winter Soups ( www.shortwintersoups.com) in Carrboro. Owner Tova Boehm also teams up with Chicken Bridge Bakery to include bread, if customers like it. Jams and Jellies: This & That Jam ( thisandthatjam.com) offers a jam of the month subscriptions for six or 12 months. Customers can sign up any time. Pickup locations in Chapel Hill and Durham with more coming. . Meat: Farmhand Foods offers a monthly box of pasture-raised meat with pickup spots in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill. Details: www.pastureraisedinnc.com/index.php?17. Are we missing any? Let us know and we’ll share a more complete list in the future.

I was bragging recently about the Triangle’s food scene.

My exhibit A was that we have so many options based on the community supported agriculture (CSA) model. Not only can you pay a farmer for a weekly share of produce or a fisherman for a weekly delivery of seafood from the coast, you also can pay for a weekly or monthly delivery of homemade bread, soup, jams and jellies or pasture-raised meat.

This dawned on me when I got an email last month from Bread Uprising, a CS-Bread in Durham’s West End neighborhood.

Personal chef Noah Rubin-Blose and cartographer Tim Stallmann started this community bakery more than two years ago. They spend two days a week prepping and baking bread for 40 families who pay about $5 per loaf. They have converted Rubin-Blose’s kitchen into a production bakery with two ovens and a bread slicer.

For many of the artisans adopting a CSA model, this isn’t just a business. It’s a way to support a livelihood they love and to connect with people in their community. Bread Uprising not only offers bread to folks who can afford it but also to those who can’t; people pay on a sliding scale based on need. “It’s a different way to build community through food,” Stallmann says.

Now the pair behind Bread Uprising are trying to raise $10,000 online to expand their bakery. So far, they have raised almost $2,700.

“We’re really excited about how successful it has been so far,” Stallman says. “We hope to expand across Durham and the Triangle.”

As food artisans adopt the CSA model, they’re also teaming up with farmers and each other to create more interesting options for consumers. Rob Segovia-Welsh of Chicken Bridge Bakery partners with Tova Boehm of Short Winter Soups for weekly bread and soup subscriptions. In the winter, consumers who sign up for the Small Potatoes Farm CSA get a loaf of Chicken Bridge Bakery artisan bread.

“We love the CSA model, and I think this is the new direction it is taking. Instead of individual producers offering small boxes, groups of farmers, artisans and such are getting together to offer a more diverse selection of handmade goods,” Segovia-Welsh wrote in an email. “Customers have more to choose from and producers have more flexibility in what they offer – everyone wins.”

Or at least, our stomachs win.

Weigl: 919-829-4848, aweigl@newsobserver.com or follow on Twitter, @andreaweigl.

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