In addition to area supermarkets and several farmer’s markets that open in the spring, Siskiyou County offers several other non-traditional avenues to buy food.
Windborne CSA Farm and, Jacob and Shawna Barr deliver food in two very different ways, but each offers locally grown and raised vegetables and meat products.
CSA Farm is located on 30 acres in Fort Jones, with 25 acres under cultivation. The farm offers weekly baskets of vegetables, grains in bulk processed on the farm’s mill, turkeys to order, and eggs from free range chickens. Items are picked up at various locations in Siskiyou County as demand requires including Mount Shasta and Yreka.
Jennifer Greene runs the farm with her two sons, 11 year old Rafael and 14 year old Timothy, and she says the farm is managed in an environmentally conscious manner.
“We are an organic biodynamic farm,” Greene says. “We make our choices for varieties and types of crops based on quality and sustainablity. Our farming practices aim to nourish and sustain the land and community.”
Greene says among the methods used on the farm are growing crops acclimated to the local environment including saving seed stock, no fertilizers or pesticides, feeding animals with locally grown feeds with no soy products and cultivating fields with horse power where applicable.
“We have been growing grains for over 10 years and grow over 20 types of grain. It’s my claim to fame,” Greens said. “When you save seeds, you gets seeds that are applicable for the climate, drought resistant for example.”
Vegetables are sold in “shares” and a typical weekly basket contains one lb. salad mix, one bunch carrots, one half lb. spinach, one quarter lb. snow peas, one pound onions, two lbs. new potatoes, one bunch garlic and one bunch cilantro. The cost is $25 a week or $750 for a 30 week season that begins April 12. The basket includes recipes. Weekly grain shares in three pound bags cost $5.
“We help people to cook vegetables,” Greene said. “There is an exchange basket at the pickup site for people to trade what they might not need for what they want.”
Greene says buying locally is important for the community and the environment.
“Locally grown food uses far less fossil fuels in delivery,” Greene said. “You aid the local economy and have consumers that are educated and have a connection to their food source.”
Greene notes that once a month the public is invited to visit the farm and see how the food is grown and raised.
 “We have a very kid friendly, small and traditional farm,” Greene said.
For more information, call 530-643-0540 or email at windbornecsa@yahoo.com.
On 11 acres in Mount Shasta, Jacob and Shawna Barr, along with their four children, take a different approach. Using the concept of “shared ownership,” the Barr’s and their friends in the cooperative get milk from two cows that provide 35 gallons a week per cow.
“We share ownership of the cows. People buy a share size depending on need. It’s actual cash ownership,” Shawna said. “It’s a non-formal agreement with friends to take the milk for own use and their families. The cows are milked 15 times a week by the owners.”
The Barr’s share of the cows provides them with milk, cheese, yogurt and butter. In addition to the cows, the Barrs raise chickens for meat and eggs, have a produce garden, have raised pigs for meat and have goats that in all produce 50 percent of their food needs.
The chickens are also grown cooperatively and the garden produce is sold directly or offered in exchange for labor.
The Barrs note that in addition to what they produce, they obtain additional food locally as much as possible including picking berries and buying beef from Prather Ranch.
The Barr’s said the now smooth running cooperative was not always so efficient as the amount of milk produced and the labor involved was much more than they realized.
“Our family could not possibly use the output of a single cow and the cows had to be milked 15 times a week,” Jacob said. “We asked some friends if they would like to come and milk the cows and take the milk. That was the beginning of the cooperative. The cooperative keeps you from being tied to the cows. You have to balance cash, labor and natural resources. Labor is the most valuable resource.”
Of the cooperative beginnings, Jacob said “we had to be really flexible,” and Shawna noted “the learning curve was really steep.”
Both Bars were raised on farms and Shawna said they felt a pull to produce their own food.
“We were feeling drawn back to the way we were raised,” Shawna said. “We wanted a self-sustaining life style and meaningful experiences for our kids.”
Jacob said it is the cooperative that  makes it work.
“It’s only doable if you have other people involved,” Jacob said. “The key is having cooperative ownership.”
In addition to the basic food, the Barr say other advantages are that cooperative members know and appreciate where there food is coming from and have an involvement in animal husbandry they normally would never experience.
“If you produced it, you know what you’re eating,” Jacob said. “As people become more aware of cleaner, healthier food, a garden makes sense. You don’t need a lot of land to have a garden. You can start a garden in your front yard.”
The Barrs said that with perseverance others can replicate their methods. Their hard won advice includes determining what your family’s needs are, evaluating the necessary resources, enlisting friends to offset labor and cost, and be willing to be flexible.
There are no shares available at this time, but Shawna said she is willing to offer advice to those who want to start a cooperative. Shawna can be reached at shawnabarr@sbcglobal.com.
Shawna recommends two books by Gene Lodgson, The Contrary Farmer and The Contrary Farmer’s Introduction to Gardening.