SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

February 22, 2013

Eating in season with Peabody libraries

By Will Broaddus
Staff writer

---- — Starting this summer, patrons who go to either of the libraries in Peabody to check out books and movies can also pick up fresh vegetables.

That’s because the library is partnering with Silverbrook Farm in Dartmouth to form a Community Supported Agriculture program in Peabody.

“They’ll supply the vegetables and deliver to the library,” said Adult Services Librarian Kelley Rae Unger. “And the farm will do registrations. The library will do publicity and provide the pickup site.”

On Wednesday, March 6, Silverbrook will share information about the program. She will be at the West Branch Library at 4 p.m. and the Main Library at 6:30 p.m.

In a CSA, participants agree to pay for weekly deliveries of freshly harvested vegetables. The farm will provide calendars that let people know what vegetables will be harvested, and when, throughout the summer.

These “shares” provide produce for 41/2 months and can be purchased in half-sizes for $390 or full sizes at $600, Unger said. These fees are estimates, and final prices will be discussed at the information sessions.

The library has been hosting a small farmers market, but the staff feels it can serve more people through a CSA, Unger said. The library is not involved with the farmers market that the city sponsors.

CSAs treat their vegetables with fewer chemicals and use less fuel to ship them, thus helping maintain a healthy natural environment.

“I love knowing where my food is coming from,” Unger said. “They are not an organic farm, but they are a sustainable farm.” She quoted Silverbrook’s explanation of this distinction: “This means we do not use herbicides or pesticides on our crops, as most farmers do.”

While helping the environment, CSAs also provide a number of benefits to shareholders.

“We’ve discovered all these new vegetables,” Unger said. “Like kohlrabi, and garlic scapes — I make a wonderful pesto with them. You do need to be a person who enjoys cooking.

“It’s a fun way to explore food and a nice way to be more in touch with where your food comes from, and you can make delicious, healthy meals,” she said.

For those inquiring minds, kohlrabi is a member of the cabbage family that resembles a turnip, and garlic scapes are the curly stalks on garlic plants.

To register for one of the information sessions with Silverbrook Farm, call 978-531-0100, ext. 10, or go to www.peabodylibrary.org.