Jackie Ansara wants you to pause before you dip your french fry into some carefully-squirted ketchup and ask yourself: Where did this spud come from? (The likely answer: an environmentally un-friendly — to put it mildly — factory farm.)
Ansara manages Smith Road Farm’s Community Supported Agriculture operation (CSA), started in an effort to redirect potato-lovers (and produce shoppers in general) to a more earth and health-conscious alternative. At a CSA, the public purchases shares of a farmer’s produce, picking up a bushel of colorful and robust fruits and vegetables once a week during the harvest.
“Local and seasonal have become extremely trendy,” Ansara says. “Because with [out-of-season produce], they are draining aquifers and using a lot of fossil fuel to fly it over. There are environmental and human costs to having the luxury of eating asparagus year-round.”
The farm is owned and operated by Berkey, Ohio landscaper Nil Gallagher. When the economy turned, Ansara (former co-owner of Board Room Restaurant and Ansara’s Steak House) remembered she’d participated in a CSA, and proposed the idea to her boss. That was three years ago. She’s been at the helm of Smith Road Farm’s CSA — with so many shareholders she had to turn people away this year — ever since. “For shareholders, it’s like having their own backyard garden with zero work.”
Smith Road Farm, 4357 Smith Road, Ottawa Lake, MI. For more information,