By Kate Phillips
Sopris Sun Correspondent
The season of frigid mornings, cozy fires, and warm blankets is finally upon us; and with the dark days of winter settling in, it might be time to add a little cheer to your home with some sweet and delicious citrus courtesy of Mountain Freshies.
Partnering with Austin Family Farms in Paonia, Mountain Freshies delivers organic and natural produce grown by a collective of local and sustainable farmers. Focusing on wholesale and farm-to-family deliveries, Mountain Freshies serves communities from Aspen to Glenwood Springs, the Leadville area, Front Range, and some Gunnison County towns.
Long-time valley residents and co-owners of Mountain Freshies Nancy Scheinkman and her husband Greg Olsky of Snowmass are excited about the high quality produce they can offer this season.
“The citrus that [the farms] are growing is really good,” Scheinkman gushed. “They measure the brix factor of citrus, and the higher the sugar content the better the fruit tastes. We’re doing our first run right now, but as we continue on through the season it will continue to get sweeter and sweeter.”
For the 2020/21 winter season, the team at Mountain Freshies will be offering fresh-picked citrus from a few small farms in Arizona that grow either organically or naturally. This season, customers can purchase boxes of delicious navel oranges, tangerines, grapefruits, and lemons.
Partnering with small farms has been at the forefront of Mountain Freshies’s mission since before the family purchased the business in April 2019. For Scheinkman and Olsky, it was important to continue working with these small farms to address the global climate crisis and promote healthy living.
“How people farm is probably the most important thing on the planet because everybody eats food multiple times a day,” Scheinkman said. “When farmers farm properly, soil can actually absorb carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. It’s really important to support farms that farm correctly because it does address climate change.”
Additionally, Scheinkman noted the importance of eating seasonally as a way to strengthen immune health. The planet, according to Scheinkman, has an incredible way of growing food that addresses the nutritional deficits humans may experience throughout the year.
For example, during the winter months there is less sunlight, which means less Vitamin D — an important nutrient that promotes calcium absorption, neuromuscular and immune function, and reduces inflammation, according to the National Institute of Health. Scheinkman said that during the darker months there are a variety of winter grown fruits and vegetables that are rich in Vitamin D, and when humans consume these foods they can better support their system when sickness is more prevalent.
“As a society, we are very focused on COVID and how to treat it; but I feel like the conversation also needs to include how to make sure our bodies are operating optimally, so that if we do catch a virus or a bacterial infection our bodies are prime to be able to respond to help fight it off,” Scheinkman said.
The Mountain Freshies team are not the only ones who recognize the benefits of sustainably grown produce. Despite COVID, business has been good – in fact, according to Scheinkman, business has taken off this past year which she attributes to the possibility that people are starting to take control of their nutrition and overall health.
“It’s really interesting to see our cultural change over these decades and I’m so happy that we are going in the right direction now,” Scheinkman said.
However, Scheinkman said there is still a lot of work to do in terms of getting healthy food onto every table in America. Considering organic food is often associated with higher costs, individuals with financial insecurities may shy away from wholesome produce. Scheinkman said the team at Mountain Freshies wants to work with anyone who desires healthy nutrition.
As a possible solution, Mountain Freshies offers payment plans and encourages people who are interested to reach out.
“I truly believe that having access to healthy nutrition and produce is a right not a privilege,” Scheinkman said. “It should be easy to attain; it should be affordable to attain. I want to be a part of the process to make healthy and local food affordable.”
As a family owned and operated business, Mountain Freshies truly is a team effort. From the local farmers to the distribution and wholesale crews, this small collective is intentionally and enthusiastically working towards a future where access to healthy food becomes a part of the norm.
Ready to bring some delicious, wholesome food into your home this winter? Mountain Freshies is ready to take your order! Interested customers can contact the team directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 379-9280.