Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Community Supported Agriculture

If you're at all "green" or interested in nutrition, you've probably heard the pleas to eat seasonally and locally. Ah, a noble endeavor, but not easy for a city girl to accomplish!

Or so I thought, but nothing could be further from the truth. Do a web search for "community supported agriculture" or "CSA." You'll come up with several sites, probably including one or two that will help you find a CSA co-op near you. Here's mine.

At the beginning of the year, I plunk down a nice chunk of change as a deposit. I also make monthly payments for the growing season. Next year I'll probably plan better and be able to pay it all up front. The farmer uses that money to prepare and plant his fields, and each week I get a "share" of my investment in the form of freshly picked, locally and organically grown, seasonal produce! I get regular reports from the farmer about what's being put in the ground this week, or what's being harvested, and recipes to use the fresh produce in.

We got our first "share" last week and it was so delicious. We had baby beets (the size of my thumb) roasted in a salad that were so good hubby even ate them! We had leafy head lettuce that was juicy and fresh. I steamed the Russian Kale and beet greens together and tossed them with some dried cranberries in a sweet and sour sauce.

But I couldn't bear to do anything to the strawberries other than eat them whole, fresh from the plant. Look at the luscious color.

You won't find strawberries with this color or flavor in a grocery store, I guarantee you. I haven't tasted a strawberry this delicious in...18 years. Yup, it was 18 years ago I had a tiny garden with a little strawberry plant that would produce maybe 10 strawberries each May.

My "share" costs about half of what buying the same amount of the same produce in my grocery store would cost. It's a great investment in local agriculture, nutrition and flavor! I can't wait for my next share of strawberries tomorrow!


kim said...

Mmmmm those look yummy. So do you get a choice in what you receive, or just whatever is in season?

A Frayed Knot said...

No, you take what they have grown and is ready. That's part of the beauty of the system, not only am I supporting them, getting great produce and saving a little money, but I'm learning about what is "seasonal" eating!

I read some author who said that our bodies are designed to need the foods that grow in each season. That the specific nutrients in springtime foods are needed more immediately in our bodies during springtime and less in other seasons. Interesting theory.