New to a CSA? A Personal Tale
Hi everyone! Sarah here. First time blogger for Slow Food West Michigan, long time eater.
This past winter I decided that I wanted to find a CSA to participate in. I love the idea of supporting my local food network and doing my part to ease the incredible burden on our environment, and I really love vegetables, so it sounded like a great fit.
Step one was googling my options. I found my way to the Local Harvest website, and from there I looked into farms close to my home in Rockford. After investigating the About pages of a few of the participating farms, I settled on Full Hollow Farm, got out my credit card, and signed up.
Step two was waiting, since I had signed up in February. Step three was reading through Full Hollow’s very helpful emails outlining their new protocols for pickup, put in place because of the pandemic. In addition to the information on how to safely pick up my food, their emails included some mouth-watering recipe suggestions based on what would be included in my first share. My excitement was starting to bubble.
My first pickup was Tuesday, June 9th. I opted for a half-share, since it’s just me and my husband… the cat simply refuses to eat any vegetable we offer him. At Full Hollow, a half-share means that you get your share of veggies every other week, instead of every single week. And boy am I glad that I decided on a half-share, because… well, look at this jackpot:
Wow! I guess I’d never really thought through how big I expected my share of veggies to be, but I was truly impressed by the sheer quantity, and the quality too!
I’d say my biggest mistake in my entire experience so far was not planning ahead for refrigerator space. I’d made a salad for dinner the night before, and we had quite a bit of leftovers, plus some other leftover food taking up some space in there. As far as problems go, though, it’s a great one to have.
Once I got home with my lovely veggies, I washed and dried them, then arranged them all in my crisper drawer (they barely fit in there). After setting the handful of little critters that I’d found hiding in the leaves free, it was time to get cooking!
We had to finish off yesterday’s salad before it wilted, so rather than creating a brand new one with all these leafy greens, I decided to get fancy with my tried-and-true burrito recipe and throw a little chard into the mix.
I chopped up the chard into little strips, then cooked those in my pan until the leaves were wilted and the stems had relaxed a bit.
Next, I added black beans and corn and let that mixture simmer. After that, I scattered enchilada seasoning all over the kitchen floor by ripping the packaging prematurely while shaking it up. That wasn’t part of the plan, but… it’s what happened. I’m not trying to impress anyone here.
I cleaned up most of the mess and found another package of enchilada seasoning, then finished up the burrito filling. I cooked some white rice, stirring in some leftover cilantro from our tacos last week, then packed everything into the shells, topped it all off with enchilada sauce and way too much cheese (if there is such a thing) and put the burritos in the oven to bake for 20 minutes.
While the burritos baked, I grabbed my kitchen scissors and went out into the yard to rustle up some chives. Last year, when we moved into our home, I planted chives and mint in the yard. This year, we have a delightful crop of both that sprung up all on their own. It’s an easy, great way to add pops of flavor to pretty much anything we eat or drink.
Finally it was dinner time! The chard added a wonderful earthy note to the burrito mix — it’s definitely a “make again” recipe.
Tonight I’m planning to roast some of those incredible beets (something I’ve never done before) and prepare a leaf-heavy salad using a mix of all my options. I’ve got some goat cheese to go with the beets, and a grass-fed steak to top it all off. I’m already drooling, and it’s barely past breakfast.
I’m very excited to continue cooking all summer long with the veggies I get from my farm share! So far, I’m a big fan of participating in a CSA. I’m a little concerned that we might not be able to eat all of our veggies every week before they start to wilt, but hey! That’s what friends and woodland critters are for. Any veggies that we can’t get to in time will be given to our neighbors, or set out for the rabbits. Someone will enjoy them, even if it isn’t us.
My advice to those considering a CSA is to try it out — you can always donate any food you aren’t able to eat yourself, and supporting local food production is a great way to invest in both your community and the planet. So do your research and find a farm that fits your budget and your values, and then give it a shot! If your experience is even somewhat similar to mine, you’ll be glad you did.
Sarah is a writer who lives in Rockford, MI. And although she grew up on a tree farm, she has never actually eaten a tree, unless broccoli counts.