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Johnson’s Backyard Garden Brings Farm Fresh to Austin

published on October 19, 2011

Johnson’s Backyard Garden is a 200-acre organic farm just 15 miles east of Downtown Austin. The farm is a CSA, or community supported agriculture endeavor, that sells shares of the farm in the form of boxes of fresh produce to its members every week. Boxes contain seasonal produce that can include over 60 types of vegetables, fruits, flowers, and herbs, all picked from the ground or vine minutes from their delivery points at a variety of Austin locations throughout Central Austin, South Austin, and Northwest Austin.

The farm began as a small, urban backyard that quickly outgrew itself and merited purchasing multiple acres of rich, arable land alongside River Road. The popularity of their Austin Farmer’s Market stand led to the creation of the CSA, which has grown from its inception of 30 members to over 1,000 Austin families. These families pay in advance, about $30 for a half-bushel box, for their share of an upcoming harvest. The produce in the boxes includes 8-12 seasonal, organic crops and is harvested and delivered all on the same day, preserving the taste and nutrients of the day’s harvest by eliminating the need for lengthy cross-country travel that most grocery store produce undergoes.

Johnson’s strives to grow common household staples, like lettuce and onions, but also includes new and rare vegetables to excite the palates of box recipients. The farm’s website provides an encyclopedia of all the produce they grow, with storage and washing tips alongside uses and a host of recipes that utilize each entry. CSA members also may submit their own recipes on a community recipe board.

The superiority of locally grown, organic food is the driving force behind the farm’s success and their passion to weather the Texas drought and other difficulties of managing a large, chemical-free farm. Johnson’s provides ten reasons why local food is the top produce choice, including: local food tastes better, is better for you, preserves genetic diversity, is not genetically modified, supports local families, helps build a stronger community, preserves farm land from development, helps keep taxes low, aids a cleaner environment and protects wildlife, and ensures that the tradition of farming continues in the U.S.

Johnson’s also has attracted a wide audience with its classes on canning and preserving produce. A bumper tomato crop this past summer led to low prices on bulk organic tomatoes paired with classes on canning tomato sauce, salsa, and making tomato chutney and ketchup with demonstrations from professional chefs.

Austin Realtor Brian Talley strongly supports local business and the sense of community a CSA like Johnson’s Backyard Garden creates in Austin. If you are interested in joining the Austin community, starting an Austin home search or contacting an Austin Realtor, then visit the Regent Property Group website to open the door to your future as an Austin local.

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