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I’m giving it a go again…why I bought a CSA share this year. Food for thought.

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.

And you?

Did you ever quit a CSA share program?

How come?

Would you go back?

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Best 5 items at Off Center Farm Stand, Woodbridge, CT

August 30, 2018

Welcome to the new kid on the block. Off Center Farm’s stand just opened up a few weeks ago. Last time I was there, they were already starting to sell out of certain items. I personally bought out their stock of my #2 pick.

Even though the farm is new, the farmer, Kristyna, represents the sentiments of farmstand culture perfectly. She passionately manages her farm while reaching out to the community. You will notice I credit her in other places on this site for the help she’s given to me.

Enjoy the beautiful and unique items you can find at her farm stand.

Big, happy dahlias!

Dahlia’s have strong stems that explode into powerful blooms. The colors find almost every shade of the rainbow. You might notice that I included a small photo of a mix of sunflower varieties with the choice. It’s a great example of flowers that bloom simultaneously and pair really well in arrangements. I picked up a handful of the darkest sunflowers and the lightest dahlias for a vase in my kitchen.

Maitake mushrooms


Maitake mushrooms are believed to have medicinal properties. Off Center Farm goes above-and-beyond in harvesting and drying these remarkable mushrooms for their customers. The little basket of hand-packed mushrooms is reminiscent of the offerings you might have found at an old-time apothecary.



I have a confession: an obsessionwith tomatillos. They add a vinegary flavor to soups and sauces. I almost always blend them in a verde salsa with jalapenos, onions and cilantro. A spice-paring tip: the flavor of tomatillos is really complemented by a smoky ground cumin.

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Kermit (Thai) eggplant


I did not know what these were when I saw them at the Off Center Farm standof course that was enough of a reason to buy them. A quick google search told me they are eggplant. Actually, they are closer to the shape of their namesake (and my #1 pick) than a traditional purple, Black Beauty eggplant. I got home late one night and made a quick dinner by sautéing these chopped Kermit eggplants with onions, basil and chicken.

Fresh, hand-gathered eggs


Yes, that little table at the end of your neighbor’s driveway with the hand-painted “fresh eggs” sign is a farm stand. Egg stands are one of the best examples of the farmstand culture our communities gave up when big grocers cornered the market. But, as keeping flocks is becoming a popular past time again, I predict you will see more egg stands in your neighborhood. People with hens usually go through a time when the supply of eggs exceeds their personal need. I love the bright chartreuse cartons Off Center uses for their fresh eggs.

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I hope you are having fun and feeling inspired to shop farm stands and cook fresh. Or at least to find some friends who do and let them do all the cooking.


Did you see this farmstand5 post?…

Fancy’s Farm Stand, Orleans, MA

Back to farmstand5 full list.