The vegetable fields at our CSA group's farm, Garden of Eve on Long Island in NY
Our CSA ended its summer season last weekend and it made me think of how much has happened since we first started sourcing our food intentionally. Our farm dream was largely influenced by our self-education on the industrialized food system. Combine that with our desire to start a business and pursue a different life together and you have our vision of Little Seed and sustainable farming.
For those not familiar with CSAs, the acronym stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Customers pay a lump sum at the beginning of a season (usually winter and summer) and then pick-up the goods over the course of a specified time-period. Our summer CSA runs from June through mid-November. CSAs can pretty much offer any farm product, including veggies, fruits, eggs, milk, cheese, meat, flowers, grains or any combination therein. We did veggies, fruit, eggs and flowers this year.
We first joined the CSA exactly two years ago with what’s called a “winter share”. We moved to an apartment in Brooklyn and took advantage of the great food community out here. The winter share consisted of primarily root vegetables, eggs, and some cold-hardy greens, such as kale, collards, and the like. I remember how much fun it was. We were getting vegetables that we had never eaten before and it was all in-tune with the season. I had literally never given a second thought to what was fresh at a particular time of year. Growing up in New Mexico, I only knew that around October it was green chile season and the whole city would smell like a roasted chile. Other than that I was pretty happy getting whatever I felt like getting at the supermarket whenever I wanted it.
2011's first CSA distribution
Nothing was really special to me about food. I loved it all and ate it all and basically just figured it was all available all the time. When something is always available it loses a little meaning. At least to me it does.
Nowadays we don’t eat out of season too frequently and I imagine it’s going to get a lot more seasonal when we move to the farm. Now when the first squash comes to market I get really excited. I never knew I liked squash so much. Now when we get a bunch of rutabagas and celeriac and turnips I get really excited. I never knew I liked roasted root vegetables so much. A fresh kale salad, a ripe heirloom tomato, a crunchy bosc pear, they all have the same effect. Now each meal is special and I truly appreciate the work that goes into producing it, distributing it, storing it and cooking it. It wouldn’t have been possible without our CSA.
Now that it’s over I’ll miss it, but I’ll never forget it.
Do you belong to a CSA? If so, what do you enjoy most about it?
Pastured laying hens