Sage Mountain CSA

A little bit more about how we live out here…

1. CSA
A few weeks ago [in 2014] we discovered that Sage Mountain Farm, located about 80 miles away in Hemet, has been delivering organic CSA boxes to civilian and Marine base households in this area for some time. After talking with one of the farm owners (Phil Noble) on the phone, we subscribed for a weekly box of fresh, in-season, local(ish), organically grown vegetables (see above). Sage Mountain is doing good work, in line with our values. We’re pleased that so many other Joshua Tree locals are beginning to participate in the CSA, and that it’s bringing us all in closer contact with the military families, via the food pick-up and the recipe/news-exchange Facebook page. Wonderful!

Downtown Joshua Tree hosts a certified farmers’ market on Saturday mornings. We buy from a few great vendors there almost every week.

There’s no Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s up here, and the local health food stores can only carry so many varieties of goods. Chain supermarkets in Yucca Valley and 29 Palms rarely carry the good stuff. So, what to do? For us the best answer is to buy natural, organic goods in bulk at wholesale prices via Azure Standard, an Oregon-based family-run company who delivers via big rig all over the Western United States. Here, they come thru once a month to a drop spot in nearby Yucca Valley downtown Joshua Tree organized by local customers. Azure’s catalog of products is over an inch thick. We started an account last month and the ordering and pick-up were easy — and meeting the other local customers has been fascinating and energizing.

Joshua Tree has a modestly sized public library, but because it‘s part of the Inland Library System that encourages inter-library loans, we’re in there at least twice a week picking up books we’ve ordered via the internet from any of the other 80 or so libraries in the system. This service is free; the collection is essentially endless okay. The public library is a wonderful, proven concept that begs to be expanded on here as it has been elsewhere. Seed library, anyone?

Despite our remote location, we’ve had reasonably dependable wi-fi service for the last foureight years via local provider Flashbyte Digital. So we’ve got Skype, streaming Netflix, etc.

See Dick the Butcher with photos by Stacy Kranitz. (2018 update: RIP DICK THE BUTCHER.)

Screw the big banks! We recommend the fantastic Pacific Marine Credit Union, which has a well-appointed branch in Yucca Valley. The PMCU is not just for Marines and their families — anyone who “lives, works or worships” in San Diego, Riverside or San Bernardino Counties can become a member.

About Jay Babcock

I am the co-founder and editor of Arthur Magazine (2002-2008, 2012-13) and curator of the three Arthur music festival events (Arthurfest, ArthurBall, and Arthur Nights) (2005-6). Prior to that I was a district office staffer for Congressman Henry A. Waxman, a DJ at Silver Lake pirate radio station KBLT, a copy editor at Larry Flynt Publications, an editor at Mean magazine, and a freelance journalist contributing work to LAWeekly, Mojo, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Vibe, Rap Pages and many other print and online outlets. An extended piece I wrote on Fela Kuti was selected for the Da Capo Best Music Writing 2000 anthology. In 2006, I was one of five Angelenos listed in the Music section of Los Angeles Magazine's annual "Power" issue. In 2007-8, I produced a blog called "Nature Trumps," about the L.A. River. Today, I live a peaceful life in the rural wilderness of Joshua Tree, California, where I am a partner in with Stephanie Smith.
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  1. MAGGIE JONES says:

    Thank you for sharing this information….Its important for me to have connections with health minded people and have access in purchasing organically grown fruits and veggies! Im coming down in April to look for property.

  2. Tammy says:

    Very nice that you’ve listed resources like this for folks wanting live in rural spots. I’m off to check out the Azure Standard link.

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