We were so excited to go pick up our first local farm's produce share box today! Hooray for local farmers!!!
We discovered two different CSA farms in our area three years ago. If you aren't familiar with a CSA, it stands for "Community Supported Agriculture".
Basically, it's a local farm worked by a farmer (and usually his family, with maybe some additional friends and workers), and the farmer allows families and individuals to subscribe to weekly produce box pick-ups.
I don't remember exactly how much we paid for our subscription this summer, but I think it will be about $22 per box. We've chosen to buy the "small share" box size. We love veggies of all sorts, but our refrigerator is smaller by American standards and just doesn't do well with storing an abundance of extra items.
The closest CSA to our home is about 12 miles away, and today was the first day to begin picking up our produce boxes.
When I was a little girl, around 10 years of age, we moved to this county and began picking beans, tomatoes, and some fruits at this same farm way back then.
So it was exciting, three years ago, to begin supporting great local farming practices in a tangible way by becoming members of a local CSA.
Our CSA provides us with email updates each week with a list of produce that we will find in our box the following week, so we can prepare our shopping lists for any additional ingredients we might wish to have on hand.
Our local CSA also hands us a printed recipe guide and produce information when we go to pick up our box each week. This has been SO handy! We've been able to try some new and wonderful recipes each week for the last three summers. Yum!
It is my understanding, from what I read when our local CSA began operating their farm in this way, that it is not a certified organic farm, but they are very close to that in the manner that they operate. They use the most minimal amounts of pest-controlling resources as they can, on the fewest crops possible.
In our produce box today, we received a humongous head of lettuce that literally was about 20" across! Plus, broccoli, cauliflower, beets and beet greens, zucchini, summer squash, fresh basil and dill herbs, and a delicious small box of fresh raspberries.
Here is a recipe I used tonight to go along with our pork chops and mashed potatoes:
Sauteed Beet Greens
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, stem the greens. Rinse the greens twice to remove any dirt. When the water comes to a boil, add 1 tablespoon of salt and the greens. Blanch greens for 2 minutes, until tender. Transfer immediately to a bowl of ice water. Drain and squeeze the water out from its leaves. Chop coarsely.
2. Heat your choice of oil over medium heat in a large, heavy nonstick skillet. Add the garlic and hot red pepper flakes (if desired) and cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds. Add the greens. Stir for 2-3 minutes, until the greens are well seasoned with garlic and oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste, remove from the heat, and serve.
Yield: Serves 2 to 4
We hadn't had any greens for at least 10 months, but the girls were hopeful that it would "taste good." At least they were optimistic! Always a good thing. And it was good! We enjoyed the garlicky taste of the beet greens...and I was thankful that I had blanched them first before sauteing, although that took a little bit longer than I had thought.
We're looking forward to our next week's produce box...with or without greens.
What has your experience been with local farmers? CSA programs? Other community-experienced farming? Please share what has worked for you and your family!
7/11/2010 03:46:50 am
I love the CSAs. We participated in this one a couple of years ago, and would like to try a different one, too. There are three of them in the area now! All great people.
7/11/2010 03:48:01 am
Beth, if you are able to sign up with a different CSA in the future, I'd be interested in hearing how it goes and which one you enjoyed more.
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Hi! I'm Julieanne!