Thursday, November 13, 2008

My CSA experience

My CSA (community supported agriculture) deliveries ended a couple weeks ago. I joined Hidden Oasis last February. I got a half share for a little over $300, which worked out to about $10 a week. The season runs from March-October.

I had a fairly good experience, although I discovered I do not like beets, radishes, or turnips (boiled, roasted, or sauteed), and I will never eat salads, even if the greens are wilting away in my fridge. I do like kale, swiss chard, and kohlrabi.

I got a LOT of greens. Bags and bags of greens every week for 8 months. By the end of October I couldn't even give them away. And I only got one bag of pears once. I never really got fruit, and I never got flowers, which was a bit of a disappointment since they're listed on their site. I would have liked more variety.

I did like joining the Ravelry locavores group and seeing what everyone else was getting every week and exchanging recipes, and I did like knowing where my food was coming from. In the beginning, I visited the farm every Friday to pick up my produce, but when my schedule got hectic and we moved, I switched to delivery at my office which was very convenient.

I missed visiting the local farmer's markets, because I had no excuse to go because my fridge was always overflowing with veggies.

And I felt a lot of pressure to come up with creative ways to use all the veggies before they went bad and met a sad fate in the compost bin. But I did try a lot of new recipes, which was good.

So there were definitely pluses and minuses to joining the CSA. If I were to do it again, I think I'd choose a CSA where you can volunteer on the farm because that looks fun, and I'd make sure I was getting more fruit and fewer greens, or that the CSA had a swap box where you can drop off things you know you won't eat, so that I wouldn't feel like it was all going to waste. It was definitely a good way to get fresh, local produce when I was living in an apartment, and I'm glad I gave it a whirl. It was a good experiment.

However, now that I have a house and a yard, I'm going to give gardening a try next year instead. I want to plant broccoli and spinach, for sure. I already planted a little blueberry bush (tree? shrub?) and we already have raspberries. I won't plant tomatoes or zucchini because my co-workers grow them and bring gigantic baskets of them into work to share with us when they're in season. My poor little pumpkin is still chugging along, maybe he'll ripen up in time to be a Thanksgiving pie. And I got two gardening books for my birthday, so I'm trying to study up before the planting season. I hope I don't have two black thumbs! At least there's always the farmers market to fall back on!

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