Monday, June 08, 2009

Sure signs of spring. . .

(A non-writing related post.)

On wednesday, we get to pick up our first farm share of the season.

This is our 3rd year as members of a local CSA (community supported agriculture) farm. For a set fee, paid during the winter, we are entitled to 20 weeks of fresh, sustainably grown local vegetables.

The CSA model is a real win for everyone involved. In our town, community preservation funds were used to purchase the last farmland before it got chopped up for condos. The house on the grounds was renovated, and a farmer was hired to work the land. He gets a living wage and his family is able to live in the farmhouse. The farm is supported by 100 shareholders (not stock market shares, but vegetable shares), all of whom pay up in advance and share in the risk/bounty of the season's produce.

Since the farmer gets paid up front, he is insulated from the vagaries of the weather and the season and one bad year will not ruin him.

The shareholders get some of the most wonderful and fresh produce available for a reasonable price, knowing that they are supporting sustainable practices and eating well.

Aside from the social good and the personal good of eating well, I also find that my weekly share makes me thing differently about food and food preparation. Week by week, what comes in our share changes as growing conditions change. Rather than go to the market with an idea of what I want to cook and buying what I need regardless of where it comes from or if it's in season, I find I must work around what is given.

It forces me to be creative. If gives me the chance to explore and eat different kinds of produce than I would normally eat, just based on familiarity. Planning a meal around the bounty of the farm feels, if you pardon the pun, organic. As in emerging from what is there, rather than filling in what is not.

I can almost taste the fresh asparagus and the new spring greens. I know my body is craving them in a way I always thought was reserved for chocolate and other delights.

Happy spring!

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