Our neighborhood got its first CSA share program (Community-Supported Agriculture) about 10 years ago, and I was an early subscriber. But, but, but…after a couple of seasons, I quit. Here’s why I quit my old CSA share program years ago and why I joined a new one this year!
Oh you people and your acronyms
CSA, or Community-Supported Agriculture, is a fancy way of saying I pre-ordered a summer full of farm-fresh but unpredictable weekly produce.
A local farmer gets some money up front to buy her seeds without going into debt, and I feel good about supporting her while mentally committing my family to cooking with farm-fresh produce all summer.
Not my first (CSA) rodeo
I quit a CSA six years ago, not because it wasn’t good but because it was too good. We got an abundance of produce. Produce fell out of our fridge. Organic produce that was ripped from the ground that day and needed to be washed and washed and washed.
My dad pitched in for produce pickups, as did my mom and sister. It became more and more difficult to find someone to help us to make it to the farm before it closed, fill our bags and drop them off. It was even harder to find a volunteer to wash it and prep it for cooking.
What brought me back
A new farmer opened up a business in my neighborhood. She’s inspiring. I tried her farm stand last year, and she sold all varieties of beans, squash and eggplants I never saw before (and I’m always looking for great farmstand finds!) She impressed me with her interesting choices.
Buying a share of her CSA program lets me support a local startup farm, connect with my neighbors and expose my family to some really unique produce.
Also, I am a lot more realistic with my ambitions now. If we don’t eat it within two days, it becomes a soup.
Here’s what I did with my first week’s share
My favorite were the fresh pea shoots, which are just the tops of the pea plants snipped off. Delicious if you just mix them with salad dressing. I added chopped onions, chive blossoms, and mint, too. The chive blossoms came with my CSA share, but they didn’t add much flavor, just a light purple color.
Field garlic got smashed into a soup made from the maitake mushrooms. I added chopped carrots and celery.
Radishes are one of my favorite vegetables. A nice helping of radishes showed up in my CSA share. I quartered and sautéed them with olive oil, sea salt and black pepper. After the radishes softened, I threw the washes radish greens on top and sautéed those, too!
Another thing I liked about this CSA, I don’t have to subscribe to flowers separately. She included a posey of mixed flowers.
And finally, the mixed bag of baby braising greens – bok choy, beets, chard and kale. My farmer suggested a stir fry or sauté, but since I didn’t eat the greens within two days, I’m going to follow my rule and make a soup.
Did you ever quit a CSA share program?
Would you go back?