Subscription farm has early tomato crop

Jun 20 2010 - 7:03pm

OREM-- The tomato crop is looking good -- and early -- at a farm where customers can order fresh produce in advance.

More than 400 people have signed up for produce from Jacob's Cove Heritage Farm in Orem. The cost is about $14 to $16 per week for fresh, organic produce that's grown locally and delivered throughout Utah Valley.

"This is the coolest idea I've ever heard of," said Julie Hawkins of Provo, a subscriber who visited the farm for a tour on Saturday. "I am just excited and waiting."

She won't have to wait much longer.

Farmer Dale Allred says he has about 3,000 heirloom tomato plants that are already 4-feet high. And the tomatoes should be ripe in 10 days.

"I am just so thankful for the people who have supported us" by subscribing up front, Allred said. "There is no way any farmer could risk this kind of capital investment and then try to find people who are willing to pay for the food" afterward.

Customers say there is great appeal in knowing their fruits and vegetables have only had a short journey from the fields to the table.

"We want food without yucky chemicals on it," said Miguel Knochel, a pediatrician from Payson. "And we wanted to get in on the winter greenhouse harvest as well. And we wanted to support local farmers and their great ideas."

Many families are finding how difficult it can be to trace the origins of produce from grocery stores, said Jim Boles, a beekeeper who has placed 180,000 bees on the Jacob's Cove farm.

"People are just getting more in touch with where food is coming from," said Boles, who will sell honey in the Jacob's Cove farmer's market when it opens next month.



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