The first boxes distributed in June were brimming with lettuce, kale, beans, radishes and rhubarb. By mid-July, local farmers started harvesting beans, beets, cucumbers and tomatoes.

The third and final harvest of Beacon’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) crop share should yield such produce as potatoes, carrots, squash and turnips.

Sami Kauffman, MA, RD, CD, clinical nutrition manager at Elkhart General Hospital, has received some great feedback from associates and leaders who participated in the pilot year of the CSA program from across our health system.

After the program ends in early October, the CSA and distribution process will be evaluated. Already, many participants have expressed gratitude for this program that makes it easier to eat healthy, and they have been pleased by the quality of the produce and the convenience of being able to pick their boxes up from Memorial Hospital or Elkhart General Hospital.

If you took part in the CSA during this pilot year, please email The Beam and your comments could appear below, too!

“As a family, we work very hard to eat healthy most of the time. Having an opportunity to support local farmers and to receive a box of healthy goodies at work just made it easy. My family always looks forward to seeing what is in the box each week as the growing season progresses. Everything we have received has always been fresh and the variety has been great. I would encourage associates to take advantage of this awesome opportunity and appreciate being able to participate. For me personally, I have really enjoyed receiving the fresh berries, both strawberries and blackberries.” – Carl Risk

“I signed up as soon as the email came out about being a member of the Horn of Plenty CSA. This is my first time as a member of a CSA. I love the convenience of picking up a box every week at work. I excitedly open it to see what is in it as soon as I get back to my office. I started eating foods grown from a plant and avoid foods manufactured in a plant last December. I love the variety of farm fresh foods I have received. I have enjoyed everything, except maybe the turnips. Although my husband fried them in olive oil and loved them. My favorites have been blackberries, red beets, green beans and cantaloupe.” – Karra Heggen

“I absolutely am thrilled that I decided to sign-up for the CSA Program. I have been trying to eat better and include more fruits and vegetables in my daily meals and this has certainly helped me do that. The produce is so fresh and tastes fresh as well. My favorite foods have been the green beans, blackberries, potatoes, tomatoes and cantaloupe. It’s also been fun to open the box with my co-workers who enjoy seeing what’s in the box every week. I hope this program continues next year and I hope more associates are able to take advantage of this beneficial program. It’s been a great opportunity for me to eat healthier.” – Sue Wood

“I loved the first session of the CSA. The produce was in excellent condition, fresh and awesome. The farmer packaged things very nicely and took attention to each box that I received. I loved that there was a variety from fruit to eggs along with the veggies each week. Thanks so much for organizing. I hope this is something you will continue in the future.” – Cara Reinke

“I grew up in a family with four kids and we didn’t have a lot of money. We always had a huge garden and always ate fresh food. We hardly ever ate out. That garden created an understanding of hard work and togetherness for my family. The food my mom made and canned was incredible. Having my own family now, we had our own garden for several years and we loved it. Unfortunately, we got really busy with kids’ activities and haven’t been able to have one. I jumped at the chance to participate in the CSA program to have fresh, healthy items readily on hand and to support a local farmer. All of the produce is fantastic. Radishes were one of my favorite items. I marinated the red potatoes in Italian dressing and used them on kabobs, made zucchini lemon bread, fresh salsa with the tomatoes and onions, baked zucchini chips and more. Love the variety of lettuces for salads. I could go on and on. Definitely worth it.” – Chanel Mast

“I did the first and second harvest. I have also participated in a CSA before. I did this because I knew it would be a good way to get different veggies in my family’s diet. We have veggies at every meal, but they are always the same ones. I have really enjoyed finding new recipes to prepare vegetables, like crispy roasted garlic radishes. I’ve only had radishes raw in salad, but we had radishes delivered three weeks in a row, so I had to find some other way to eat them. We’ve been getting zucchini and I don’t want to just make zucchini bread. So for breakfast the other morning, we had zucchini fritters. My husband really enjoyed those. I am very happy that I did the CSA and will do it again if it’s available. I would definitely recommend this to others, in fact. I’ve been sharing the contents with a co-worker who wishes she would have signed up.” – Heather O’Dell