The Coast News Group
The assortment of fresh vegetables from Oceanside’s Yasukochi Family Farms varies week to week. Courtesy photo
ColumnsSoul on Fire

Behold the farm box

What started as delivering extra vegetables to fellow teachers where his wife taught school in Oceanside has grown to hundreds of deliveries across North San Diego County. Community supported agriculture, or CSA, is a spiritual thing on so many levels, and why I’m choosing this as a topic for this week’s column.

I started my ordering during the first month of the lockdown. When I received my first delivery, the skies parted, and the angels began to sing.

The rainbow of colors of the assortment of fresh certified organic vegetables and fruits in this farm-fresh CSA box had me lay it out and start taking Instagram pics and videos of all the goodness, sharing my abundance with friends and family.

Several years into the delivery program, it is still like Christmas every week. Not knowing what will arrive and being so pleased with the choices in the farm box is always intoxicating.

Being challenged with produce that I may not be familiar with, I came across the dedicated sites for Oceanside’s Yasukochi Family Farms’ Instagram and Facebook accounts, looking online for tips on incorporating some items into recipes.

Yasukochi Family Farms: Farmer Donal Yasukochi offers cooking tips as well.
Farmer Donal Yasukochi offers cooking tips as well. Courtesy photo

It is here that I was introduced to farmer Donal Yasukochi and his sweet array of cooking tips for each week’s bounty.

I came to find out that the CSA box delivery resulted from the fine work of Donal’s daughter, Brianne, who often helped with the endearing cooking segments online.

She built the Instagram and Facebook pages that instantly caught on with hundreds of grateful local families while all the farmers’ markets closed during the pandemic.

With farms in Bonsall, Fallbrook and Carlsbad, the Yasukochis represent one of the last thriving California-grown family produce farms, one that spans over a hundred years, with an amazing ancestral history. Being a small part of what keeps this heritage alive is what sets my soul on fire.

I asked Farmer Donal what he loves about farming and why he will leave this legacy to his daughter for a fourth generation.

“It’s a challenge to keep our family farm going; my family has been farming here for 100 years. We have had the same employees for over 30 years. We have a small niche that connects our farm to the consumer.

The community understands the importance of organic farming and supports us. We are very grateful for all our customers in CSA as well as the farmers’ markets we attend.”

Said one subscriber who prides herself on being a food aficionado and environmentalist: “Besides the wonderful array of beautiful fresh organic vegetables that is exciting to receive each week, I don’t need to second guess whether the items are truly organic.

Knowing they are coming directly from local farmers and delivered to my door keeps my carbon footprint down, and I feel like this is a small part to play toward sustainability.”

People love this program and get a weekly email with a preview of what’s coming. Items can be added to the order, such as flowers, honey, eggs, berries and other seasonal items from neighboring farms, contributing to the subscription boxes delivered free each week.

Environmental benefits aside, being a part of this program makes you feel good in a way that also builds community.

Many of the enthusiastic recipients of the weekly farm box connect on another Facebook site page called Yasukochi Family Farms Farm Box Fun, where subscribers to the CSA share pictures of each other’s boxes with zeal, and recipes are proudly shared between foodies.

It really is fun. And the heart opening that occurs knowing you have contributed to the continuation of this viable agricultural industry is a soulful expression of love. Keep the fire burning, Donal and Brianne. We love our Yasukochi farm box delivery!