Rake and Radish Farm

Posted on Thursday, 4 March 2021 under Featured Farmers

Ardeo Mann operates Rake and Radish Farm, leasing just over half an acre in Victoria through the BC Land Matching Program. In their first year of operation, they grew just over 45 different crops such as vegetables, herbs, and cut flowers. The surge of interest from folks for Mann’s CSA membership had them increase their number of spots from an initial goal of 30.

At Rake and Radish Farm, the CSA runs for 20 weeks. Customers sign up in the spring with the option of choosing between a large and small box. Many farmers prefer payment upfront but Mann offers other financial options if their customers need financial flexibility. Each week, customers get a box of vegetables valued based on the amount of produce and crops they receive. Mann operates through a “farmers choice” model but customers can disclose allergies or dietary restrictions to help them get a share that works for them. While last year Mann offered home delivery by bike, they are switching gears this year and, instead, offering on-farm pick-up as well as pick-up hubs in town.

a person standing in a farmers field with a pink toque on

Photo courtesy of Ardeo Mann

A typical CSA box follows the course of a season, including a variety of produce based on what is ready for harvest that week. Rake and Radish offer vegetables like salad turnips, radishes, carrots, kale, chard, snap peas, beans, and tomatoes. This year, they are trying out eggplant, peppers, and garlic. Mann says, “I try to make sure there is a good variety of greens and roots with some of the fruiting crops and then usually garlic or onion along with that.”

“I’m a sucker for colour variety, it’s gotta be green, purple, and stripy. I restrained myself from buying rainbow carrot seed this year.”

The beautiful adventure of a CSA program is eating with the seasons. One of the biggest perks of buying a CSA share is that “you know you are going to have vegetables every week and that they are being harvested just for you,” says Mann.

Education and building community is a big part of community supported agriculture. As a part of their CSA program, Mann sends out a newsletter to their customers and when possible, gives farm tours. In the future, Mann hopes to host a training program on the farm for queer and trans youth that want to get into farming. They explain, “before COVID hit I was running a couple of different queer youth groups and I do workshop facilitation as well. At some point, I would like to be able to bring that and farming together.”

table that has a wide range of produce ontop

Photo courtesy of Ardeo Mann

Spring is a very joyous time of year. Fresh produce is on the way and plants are in bloom. We asked Mann what their favourite point in the season is, here is what they had to say. “Right now, I am really excited for the first week of CSA. I have been busy planning all winter, ordering seeds, getting customers signed up, and starting to plant. That first week is pretty fun when you finally have vegetables ready for people. I also love mid-summer when it’s exhausting and there is way too much to do and there are more vegetables than you even know what to do with. It is a fun feeling.”

To find a CSA program near you, check out our CSA Listings Page and consider buying a share this season!