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Wednesday, April 25, 2007   

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Enjoying fresh veggies of labor
Healthy food at Doalnara Organic Farm

The idea of a community- supported agriculture cooperative grew from a whisper to a buzz in a matter of days last spring.

"Last year, we were expecting only 50. It was a miracle we were able to accommodate 100 shareholders," says Andy Yoo, general manager of Doalnara Organic Farm in Dover. "God blessed us."

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Doalnara Organic Farm was founded in 1995 to support the more than 100 people mostly Korean who live full-time at Doalnara Restoration Society, a Christian community committed to hard work, a simple life, and cultivating healthy minds and bodies.

"Growing crops in 100 percent natural way was not an easy work," says the farm's Web site, http://www.doalnaraorganicfarm.com/. "We have many setbacks and disappointments over whimsical climate and rocky field. Nevertheless, we were able to overcome by hard work, patience and a firm determination to restore our soil, health and minds."

As the farm grew and prospered, Doalnara began shipping its organic produce to other states for sale in grocery stores. Organic vegetables are grown without the use of chemical pesticides or fertilizers.

Last spring, Catherine Smith was struggling to establish an organic community garden for the members of St. John's Episcopal Church, when she heard about Doalnara Organic Farm in Dover, about an hour's drive from Clarksville. Smith visited the farm with her husband, the Rev. Patrick Smith, and friendship blossomed between the Smiths and the Doalnara farmers.

The Community Supported Agriculture Co-op was born, and soon 100 people had purchased shares in the farm and dozens of others were on waiting lists to receive weekly deliveries of organic produce.

"I'm happy to know so many people enjoy and appreciate our produce," Yoo says. "It's very energizing."

Catherine Smith says the project brings vegetables to locals. tables just hours after they were growing at Doalnara, avoiding the pre-ripened picking and weeks of shipping and storage that most imported produce suffers.

Throughout the growing season, vegetable assortments will change. Because Doalnara had its Clarksville customers in mind when making its spring plantings this year, the new assortment will include vegetables more familiar to Americans and fewer Korean favorites such as perilla leaf.

"We're trying to meet the preferences of American people," Yoo says. "We'll have more broccoli, lettuces."

The Rev. Patrick Smith points out, in a letter to last year's co-op members, that the CSA is more than a vegetable delivery service.

"By being a member of the Clarksville CSA, you are choosing to actively participate in the life of Doalnara Organic Farm," Smith writes. "Clearly we are supporting local farming. But more than that, you are, in a way, purchasing a 'share' in a company in which you are a part owner. In this case of Doalnara, however, your dividend or return is not monetary, but rather it is health and vitality."

When crops are overflowing the farm's 40 acres, members reap the benefit. However, when growing conditions are poor, the yields suffer. Yoo explains that the other people who live at Doalnara Restoration Society stepped in last August when dry heat caused the farm's productivity to dwindle.

"Usually, it is not easy to keep growing greens due to the hot weather. There isn't any guarantee in farming," Yoo says. "We didn't have anything green except for peppers. But all the people in our community have their own gardens. They had a lot of vegetables, and they supported us."

CSA members' boxes last August contained not only peppers from Doalnara Organic Farm, but an abundance of other vegetables from Restoration Society residents' private gardens.

The non-profit farm has 20 full-time farmers overseen by farm manager Kap Lee. This year the CSA will have a new director, Shay Eastwick-Cupina, who is a health coach and nutritionist in Clarksville.

"We're so happy Shay and Catherine are there for us as agents for this well-being movement. We have no doubt they are great gifts of God," Yoo says. "We had a very exciting year last year. I'm so happy to see the finest people of our community again this year. We have the same purpose to make the world brighter."

Stacy Smith Segovia can be reached at 245-0720 or by e-mail at stacysegovia@theleafchronicle.com.



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Originally published April 25, 2007

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 Zoom Photo
Contributed photo Contributed photo Above, farme

Below, the Community Supported Agriculture co-op grew from 30 members to 100 in one week last year. Shareholders pick up vegetable deliveries at 5:30 p.m. Thursdays at Grace Lutheran Church. Signup for this year's CSA is 5:30 p.m. Thursday, with deliveries beginning May 24.

If You Go

COMMUNITY SUPPORTED AGRICULTURE CO-OP REGISTRATION DAY

WHEN: Registration is 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. Thursday. The first pickup is 5:30 p.m. May 24, and will continue 5:30 p.m. each Thursday through Nov. 1

WHERE: Grace Lutheran Church, 2041 Madison St.

COST: $22 per box for 24 weeks, which is payable either in full ($528) or in two installments of $264, the first payable Thursday and the second at mid-season. Because many members paired up to split large boxes last year, half boxes also will be offered. They cost $13 per box for 24 weeks, payable in full ($312) or in two installments of $156, the first payable Thursday and the second at mid-season. Payment may be made by checks to Doalnara Organic Farm or in cash.

CALL: Community Supported Agriculture director Shay Eastwick-Cupina, 436-9023 or doalnara@yahoo.com.

ONLINE: Doalnara Organic Farm, http://www.doalnaraorganicfarm.com/

http://www.doalnaraorganicfarm.com/

Fresh Dividends

Vegetables to be delivered to Community Supported Agriculture Co-op Shareholders this year:

  • asparagus

  • basil

  • beet

  • bok choi

  • broccoli

  • cabbage

  • cabbage (Chinese)

  • carrot

  • cilantro

  • collard

  • corn

  • cucumber

  • eggplant

  • endive

  • garlic

  • green bean

  • green onions

  • kale

  • leek

  • lettuce, iceberg

  • lettuce, green leaf

  • lettuce, red leaf

  • lettuce, green oakleaf

  • lettuce, red oakleaf

  • lettuce, romaine

  • melon (Korean)

  • mustard green

  • okra

  • parsley

  • pepper, bell

  • pepper (Brazilian)

  • perilla leaf

  • potato

  • purslane

  • radish (Korean)

  • radish

  • spinach

  • spinach (Egyptian)

  • squash, butternut

  • sweet potato stem

  • sweet potato

  • swiss chard

  • tomato, cherry

  • tomato

  • turnip

  • zucchini


  •  Zoom Photo
    Contributed photo Above, farmer from Doalnara Org


     Zoom Photo


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