We get our first basket from our CSA this Thursday. That means a lot more vegetables will be coming into my house, and will continue to come into my house throughout the winter. For those who don't know, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. It is a system that pays local farmers up front and spreads the gamble of farming over a larger group of people. If it's a poor year with flooding or drought, then as a member of the CSA you shoulder part of the burden. If it's a year of abundance, then you get to share in that abundance. If you are in favor of keeping small family farms in business--and I am--then a CSA is the most proactive way you can put your dollars toward that goal.
It also means that you get a share of whatever is harvested that week, whether it's something you would normally buy or not. I'm really excited about this. I am terrible about planning recipes, but I'm quite good at spontaneous cooking. Spontaneous cooking, however, means using the ingredients on hand, and the farm share means that I will have lots more veggies on hand when I wander into the kitchen and say, "Now what shall I make for dinner?"
And they will be different veggies than I buy when I'm auto-shopping my way through the grocery store. It's easy to fall into habits, and eat the same thing all the time. The CSA is great at presenting me with produce I have to say, "now what do I do with this?" Like beets. I don't really care that much for them, but Ferrett likes them. Left to my own devices, I won't buy them. But if they arrive in the farm share, then I'd better figure out something to do with them.
It's not cheap, but I think it's one of the best ways to support the local economy and get more variety into your diet. If you are interested in finding out about CSAs in your area, you can find a lot of information at this website:
This is what I'm getting in this week's share:
1 Whole Chicken, approx 5 lbs
2# bag fingerling potatoes
1 bulb garlic
1 candy onion
1 bunch swiss chard
1 bag mixed baby lettuce, 0.5 lbs
1 bunch beets with tops
1 bunch celery
1 bag purple filet beans
1 head broccoli
1 quart baby sweet peppers
1 bunch carrots with tops
1 dozen eggs
1 quarter peck gala apples
4 oz pumpkin quark (a spreadable cream cheese)