Just picked up my first CSA share of the season. I didn't do it in a long time because I liked the freedom to buy wherever, whenever. But this year I wanted to support Jeff and Adina Bialas, local farmers who do an organic share close to home, and who are known to grow a wide variety of vegetables.
CSA, or community supported agriculture, is a social agricultural model. At the beginning of the season you prepay a share of the season's crops, thereby helping to finance the farmer's expenses at the beginning of the season. Because you pay upfront crop failure and weather related risks are minimized from a financial perspective for the farmer, and the risks are spread. If the season is prolific everyone profits and you get a more generous share each week.
About twenty years ago, together with several other moms, I signed up for a working share on a biodynamic farm, all our kids in tow. It was a lot of work for us moms, a lot of fun for the kids (play, warm cherry tomatoes right off the plant, running along the rows of vegetables, sitting under a big old tree and enjoying playmates and snacks), and an amazing abundance of vegetables each week. That's when I learned to process tons of fresh bulk vegetables quickly lest they perish - eat, blanch, freeze, eat more, cook a lot. Should have known about green smoothies then. Oh well, live and learn. Here an earlier related post on local food relationships.
This week's beginning share was modest because of the long, cold spring. We got small bunches of kale and asparagus, beets, lettuce, herbs, young garlic, a small bunch of rhubarb, and two potted herbs. Can't wait to see what next week brings. I feel good supporting one particular organic farmer instead of the local supermarket.