3 weeks ago
Monday, November 10, 2008
we can't say enough about our CSA
Melvin and I joined a CSA (community supported agriculture) this year. Here in Baltimore, it couldn't be easier to support our local farmers and get fresh organic produce, 'cause the farm we buy from (http://www.onestrawfarm.com/index.html) delivers the yield as it's picked to our local general store ( http://millvalleygeneralstore-cheryl.blogspot.com/) The store is close to Hopkins campus; Melvin often picks up our share on the way home from the lab. Up until now, I thought we'd have to drive to a farm outside of the city to pick up our produce, but this is SO convenient.
We joined for a half share (I think it was about $270 for the whole year), which means 4 "items" a week. One item can be a head of cauliflower, a basket of potatoes, a bag of corn. Our purple cauliflower this week is really beautiful (I am SUCH a nerd). Sometimes they have too much of something (one week it was herbs-they were practically forcing them on people:)) and you get more than 4. We are considering upping the ante and going in for the full share, 8 items!!!, which would mean learning to preserve a lot of stuff to have it in the winter.
A friend asked me how this is different from buying at the Farmer's Market. See, that's good too; you know you're getting local stuff, not paying for the airfare to get it to you 2 weeks after it's picked, and you can often meet the actual farmers, which just feels good. But joining a CSA, cooking around the growing season, means committing to a farm - and maybe their practices, if you're into that sort of thing. The farmers then know that they have your business even if that year's beets aren't amazing. We have yet to go visit the actual farm; that will have to be another post:)
Many of our friends are joining a CSA or considering joining one. You can join at any point in the season (they pro-rate the cost so you're only paying for the remainder of the season) and you can buy in for a "half share" by yourself (you don't have to "split" it with anyone). Our general store has other items that we can buy, like noodles, bread, and eggs, from other local farms. The ice cream is amazing. The eggs last forever 'cause they were just layed. We buy some of this stuff, and get other staples on the cheap at the grocery store around the corner.
If you find yourself joining our CSA, be sure and chat with Cheryl at checkout. She's super-adorable.