Food for Sure

by Roxanne Garcia
There is something truly satisfying when you create a plate of food with genuinely fresh produce. I love to incorporate as much fresh seasonal ingredients as I can into my daily food regimen. It’s healthier and much more satisfying. Growing up, the farm garden was always bursting with something fresh. I remember my mother and grandmother out in the garden picking fresh tomatoes, green chiles and squash in preparation for dinner. I don’t have much of a garden to speak of today, but luckily I do have an abundance of produce to choose from at the farmers’ markets.
This year I have promised myself that I would purchase a CSA share this spring. For those of you that are unfamiliar with this term, it is an acronym for Community Supported Agriculture. You invest in the farm, become a shareholder, and in turn you get a weekly share of produce. Shares are issued at different times of the year, generally early spring and early fall. Now for many of you this may seem like a juxtaposition–can’t one just go the farmers’ market to purchase what they want on a market day, instead of picking up the same produce through a CSA share? What is the difference? Allow me to explain further.

A CSA share purchased in the spring or fall gives the farmer an idea of just how much to plant, and also helps fund the operation. CSAs are extremely helpful for the farmer, but they can be of just as much benefit to you–when the produce begins to mature it becomes available to you on a weekly basis and you can pick up your share at a designated pickup point. Now, lets say we have an extremely wet spring and the offerings at the market are slim. If you purchased a CSA share, your portion is locked in for a certain amount of vegetables. You won’t have to fight the crowd at the market for the dwindling supply of peas or carrots. The only downside can be that you may occasionally get too much of a good thing; for instance, you may get a surplus of bok choy. After several weeks, you may grow tired of cooking and creating with this ingredient, so what do you do with all this bok choy? Why not give it away to your neighbor, friend or family member who may enjoy it.
All in all, it comes down to supporting your local farmer. Sometimes your share will feel like Christmas in a box and sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming. I look forward to the challenge of incorporating all of the fresh, local ingredients into my meals, and moreover I believe that I will have saved time, effort and money, and it just feels like the right thing to do. I know who my farmer is, what their growing practices are, and I don’t have to worry about what is in season. And perhaps my cooking will become more creative too–I bet that I can make bok choy a most inspiring ingredient in my repertoire.

For more information and general questions about individual CSA opportunities:

Sleeping Frog Farms

River Road Gardens
Contact Jon at [email protected]

Walking J Farms