Thursday, April 8, 2010

A New Experience - The World of CSAs

The email came today saying our application to a local farm’s new Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) program was accepted. I can’t begin to tell you all how much I’m looking forward to this. Any words of advice from anyone who’s participated in one before?

Our CSA starts mid-June and runs 20 weeks to the end of October. We bought a whole share, which entitles us to about $30 worth of veggies, fruits, and other goodies each week. We picked this particular opportunity because they do more than just veggies - they also have an incredible orchard, grow herbs, and have eggs from their own laying chickens. They even make their own cider and cider donuts to boot! Our favorite place to pick apples every fall, and with offerings more diverse than other area CSAs offer, it seemed like a natural pick. Helping the decision along was reading Barbara Kingsolver’s “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” last year (a book I recommend to EVERYONE!). After finishing it, I started frequenting our local farmstands, buying different color Swiss chards and fresh melons (should have read the sign – mushmelon didn’t go over well), serving red, white, and blue roasted potatoes, and making salads with more than just iceberg lettuce and a few tomato wedges. I’m sure we’ve all seen the national push for more of us to have our own gardens, and their benefits – even Michelle Obama was on the news recently planting her second year kitchen garden.

After Hubby’s latest cardiac incident, we added buying more simple and organic foods to the mix. “Quinoa and barley and brown rice, oh my!” sings out every time I reach for something from our revised pantry offerings. We even arrange our errands to stop at a dairy three towns over to buy our milk - the only problem with that idea is it’s also an ice cream stand, so we try to make the milk run with no kids on board!

I've given serious thought to having my own garden, but growing up with a mother who’s still a serious gardener (her vegetable garden was the size of half a football field when I was growing up… and she planned and planted so most of it yielded TWO harvests), I know the time it takes, which I just don’t have to spare right now. I also know my frustration level will be topped out the first morning we discover the deer/rabbits/groundhogs have eaten something to its roots. So sorry, Mrs. Obama, no backyard garden this year at our house – the CSA looks the way to go for now.

It should be an interesting experience, one that will hopefully reinforce the idea with my kids their food doesn’t magically appear on their plates or come in plastic bags from the supermarket, and can even be grown in a familiar place instead of halfway around the world.

1 comment:

evenshine said...

GREAT idea...can I ask, how did you find the CSA you joined? Wondering how do go about this in my community, if there IS one...