PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — City living doesn’t have to mean sacrificing access to fresh-from-the-farm food. One option is through CSA — Community Supported Agriculture.

“CSA has really evolved since it came into this country in the early ’60s and it’s become a lot more efficient and a lot more convenient for people,” said Holly Hutchason, the executive director of the Pacific Northwest CSA. The organization includes 85 farmers in Oregon and southwest Washington.

At the upcoming Share Fair, more than 40 of those farmers will be highlighted. The fair is February 27 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at The Redd, 831 SE Salmon in Portland.

“We can really custom curate your CSA share for you, so it fits best with the way you eat,” she said.

Finding the right farmer for your needs can seem overwhelming. That’s why there’s a matchmaking center.

“We’ll ask you, ‘What are you looking for in a CSA? What kind of food do want included? Where do you want to pick it up? How big do you want it to be? Do you want to pay with SNAP?’ And then we’ll be able to send them in the right direction,” Hutchason said.

The fair will also feature 4 chefs showing how to cook with what’s in season, events for kids about what local eating is about and an art exhibit about veggies.

Vegetables traditionally made up CSAs, but not anymore.

Hutchason said they “have CSAs for eggs and for any kind of meat and for mushrooms and for flowers. And so all of these people will be at the Share Fair. And so you can pick up mostly your entire diet.”

Then there’s learning about the stories in each farm and each crop.

Michelle Week of Good Rain Farm in Gresham, November 2021 (KOIN)

“A lot of our messaging is about every food is someone’s first food. And so talking about, say, where cucumbers come from and their stories and, yeah, just celebrating that,” said Michelle Week of Good Rain Farm. “I love it. It’s really fun to be able to, yeah, not just get paid for work and to farm and to grow food and be outside in this beautiful weather year round, but being able to reconnect to ancestors and help other people reconnect to their ancestors and heritage and culture has been really rewarding.”

When it comes to committing to a farmer’s share, it’s also about investing in a local, small business. And investments are tailored for big families, or one person and they even accept SNAP benefits.

“The benefit to the farmer is they get the cash up front to invest in their farm,” Hutchason said. “They can buy the seeds, they can build out their infrastructure. They can figure out how much labor they can hire.”

It’s a partnership that aims to benefit everyone involved, she said.

“Every week you get a box of whatever they’re harvesting that is at its peak rightness.”