EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

July 8, 2014

Salem joins community supported agriculture program

Town Hall replaces sweets with fresh produce

SALEM — At many workplaces, employees eagerly await the arrival of Friday.

At Salem Town Hall, employees have developed a new appreciation for Tuesdays.

That’s when the delivery truck from a Canterbury farm arrives with six boxes of fresh vegetables for workers to enjoy.

When the truck pulled up to Town Hall yesterday afternoon, it didn’t go unnoticed. Hours earlier, employees were anxious for it to arrive.

“Today is Tuesday and I wonder what I will bring home,” planning secretary Lisa Wojtas said. “Who would have thought so many people loved vegetables?”

It’s all part of the town’s participation in a community-supported agriculture program, or CSA, funded by the employees’ health insurance program through Cigna, human resources director Molly McKean said.

For the last month, the weekly deliveries from Brookford Farm have provided town employees with the opportunity to select fresh farm produce at work.

The wide variety of vegetables from Brookford has replaced cookies and muffins in the Town Hall breakroom, according to Jane Lang, market manager for the Salem Farmers Market.

Lang, also president of the New Hampshire Farmers Market Association, worked with McKean and Brookford CSA administrator Amy Payne to bring the program to Town Hall.

McKean distributes the boxes of produce at Town Hall and the police, fire and public works departments. That’s for about 240 employees.

Once the food arrives, it disappears quickly.

“It’s usually gone in 15 to 20 minutes,” she said.

It’s all about acting quickly, but making sure no one leaves disappointed, Wojtas said.

“Timing is everything,” she said.

Employees have raved about their new, unique health insurance benefit, which encourages them to embrace a healthy lifestyle, McKean said.

The fresh food program costs the town about $3,000 and will last through November, she said.

“We’ve really been focusing on wellness,” she said.

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