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New Dorset CSA launching

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DORSET — A new community-supported agriculture program, one intended to help local farms reach customers amid the coronavirus outbreak, will launch Wednesday in the Northshire.

Organized by food advocates Liz Ruffa and Mara Hearst, the CSA initially will offer weekly pickups of products from nine local farms and producers, including vegetables, greens, dried beans, herbs, fruit, dairy items, tortillas, bread, cheese, meats, and other items.

Participating entities include Black Rose Creamery, of Rupert; Dorset Daughters Soap, of Dorset; Dutton Farm Stand, of Manchester; Evening Song Farm, of Shrewsbury; Larson Farm, of Wells; Mettowee Valley Maple, of Rupert; Merck Forest and Farmland Center, of Rupert; Naga Bakehouse, of Middletown Springs; and Tall Cat Coffee, of Dorset.

Veggie boxes, which in addition to their namesake will include herbs, fruits, bread and cheese, will cost $40. Veggie and meat boxes will cost $55. Orders can be placed by emailing by Saturdays at 4 p.m.

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Curbside-style pickups will occur between 3 and 5 p.m. on Wednesdays at JK Adams, 1430 Route 30, in Dorset.

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In a phone interview on Friday, Ruffa said the operation will be following health and safety guidelines from the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets.

The project represents yet another opportunity for people to support local businesses and to obtain healthy food, Ruffa said. "Our farms are small businesses, too."

Farms have lost revenue from restaurants and institutional kinds of markets, like schools, amid the outbreak, Ruffa said.

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Ruffa said she consulted with the Dorset Farmers Market, a separate entity, to make sure that organization didn't see this new project as competition. The market "thought it was a good idea," Ruffa said, adding that she expects to partner with the organization in the future.

Ruffa, a member of the Dorset Select Board, is also advancement director for the Merck Forest and Farmland Center in Rupert. Hearst runs Levy Lamb in Dorset.

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