Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Farmshare Update

I wanted to bring you an update on our CSA. We just finished week #11, which means we are more than halfway through our 20 week farmshare. That makes me kind of sad!

You may ask: what is a Farmshare, also called Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA)?

From the Local Harvest website:

Here are the basics: a farmer offers a certain number of "shares" to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (aka a "membership" or a "subscription") and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.

It goes on to list advantages for farmers and consumers. Here's an example from our CSA. Every week at Allandale, we get a CSA newsletter called "The Pick List". In the 6th week, the newsletter mentioned how the weather, which was super hot and humid for that time of year, basically liquefied 1000 heads of lettuce, and mentioned how the support derived from the CSA helps the farm recover from that "crop-tastrophy".

A CSA is basically a shared risk. If the growing season goes well, the proof is in your box every week. If the growing season doesn't go well, again - the proof is in the box.

That said, I've been nothing but thrilled with our CSA. This week, we received a beautiful bag full of ripe tomatoes. We got 10 tomatoes that had to have weighed at least 4 lbs total. If I walked into the farmer's market to buy 4 lbs of tomatoes, the cost would be at least $3/lb. In addition to that beautiful bag of tomatoes, I also got a pint of cherry tomatoes, a pint of potatoes, a small container of shallots, and peppers, eggplant, arugula, summer squash, garlic, carrots, beets, leeks and corn! And all for $18/week.

A fun challenge with the CSA is to use up veggies that might not regularly be part of your diet. I realized this week I had collected 4 bunches of beets from the last 4 weeks! So I steamed them up, put them into 2 jars (one of which, I froze), and used the other jar to make a chocolate beet cake. Oh, wow, is it good. Recipe to follow!

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