Farmer Profile: Settle Down Farm
Settle Down Farm is a small-scale vegetable farm in Grand Forks owned and operated by Ann Wilby and Ahmed Amlani. Growing from their endeavours on other farms, the pair now runs a 100 person Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. CSA’s guarantee consumers repeated deliveries of fresh, local food through ‘share’ purchases in seasonal harvests. They also provide farmers with a source of income early in the season when costs are high. Wilby discusses the benefits of CSA’s for growers and eaters. She says, “Consumers get a steady supply of weekly vegetables without having to attend the market or do any pre-orders online.” For the farmer, “It guarantees the produce we grow is already paid for and going somewhere,” she says.
Wilby and Amlani grow over 30 varieties of vegetables such as cucumbers, beets, tomatoes, melons, squash, and much more. Their weekly harvest box contains seven to nine seasonal vegetables and is available for pickup or delivery. Wilby admits, “Salad greens and carrots are really popular for us so those are two items we try to make sure are in the box every week.” Members receive the same amount of produce in each box throughout the season. Wilby says, “Our boxes are valued at $22 per week but typically the value of produce ends up being more than that.” This past year, Wilby and Amlani were able to expand their CSA program as the pandemic pushed many individuals to seek out local food options. Wilby says, “We definitely had a surge in people interested in buying a share when COVID began.”
“It feels good to have support from our community, to know that people are committing to our produce every week.”
Most CSA boxes are ‘farmers choice’, meaning the seasonal produce included is at the farmer’s discretion each week. Settle Down Farm allows members to go online two days before receiving their boxes and make substitutions for certain items. This gives consumers the option to choose items they enjoy most. Additionally, Wilby says they provide their members with weekly recipes for vegetables found in their harvest boxes. She says, “We bought a subscription to a website called “Cook With What You Have” that provides eaters with multiple recipes for a vegetable like, Kohlrabi for example, which a lot of people might not know what to do with.”
There are many underappreciated seasonal vegetables grown in BC. A CSA share program like Settle Down Farm provides consumers with new ways to cook with seasonal produce. Wilby and Amlani follow this unique Butternut Squash Pasta recipe to jazz-up their winter squash. Wilby says, “When we think of winter squash we think of butternut squash soup, but there are so many ways to cook with this vegetable that are so delicious.”
Sign-ups for Settle Down Farm begin in February though many farmers start their registration earlier. Find a CSA program in your area and read more about how to sign-up on our website.