Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Oh, Say, Can You CSA? Week 5

Now that July is here, I can find an increasing variety of produce appearing in my garden, at the farmers' market, and in my CSA basket. So every Wednesday morning, I start drooling with anticipation over what I'll find when I pick up my CSA produce after work.


While some of the same produce from previous weeks is coming on, each week brings something new. This week the Lady Bountiful included fresh kohlrabi, red potatoes, and summer squash to our shares, making a colorful selection.


Between my Wonderful Parents and me, we took home:

--lettuce (a small head for each of us)
--kohlrabi (all for My Dear Papa, who loves the stuff)
--Red Pontiac potatoes (2 lbs; I got the CSA share, and My Dear Papa picked up some extra)
--sweet onions (2, so we each took home 1)
--Nelson and Napoli carrots (a dozen, evenly divided between us)
--two slender Tasty Green cucumbers (one apiece, plus a bonus one for me)
--garlic bulbs (2, so we each took home 1)
--snow peas (1 quart, split between us)
--radishes (1 small bunch split between us)
--broccoli (1 lb, all mine!)
--yellow summer squash (4, so we each took home 2)

That's a pretty impressive selection for the week, with plenty for me and plenty for the folks. Somehow, I think I see both a stir-fry and some pickled vegetables in my future kitchen experiments...

The ongoing question of the value of my CSA share comes to mind almost every week, and I really do think that this was well worth my money this year. The drive is such a beautiful one, and it tends to triggers memories and interesting conversational topics for my parents, so I learn something every time and can often share some of my own knowledge with them.

I'm also really delighted that having this CSA share has made a subtle difference in how My Wonderful Parents are cooking, eating, and thinking about food these days. I think they're becoming more regular visitors to the farmers' market as well, and the Chef Mother has mentioned freezing a number of CSA produce items for cooking later in the year. Neither of these things are new to them, but I get the impression that they're doing more of both and thinking a little more consciously about eating seasonally and about preserving.

I'm always happy when someone tells me that my local eating and food preservation efforts have inspired them to make small changes in their own attitudes toward food, but seeing these changes in my own parents -- seeing them go back (in some ways) to the way they approached food and appreciated it when they were growing up -- is especially rewarding.

Sharing all of this is probably the second best thing about the CSA (the first, naturally, being the food). It definitely gives a deeper meaning to the concept of CSA "shares" -- we not only share in the fortunes of the farm and share our financial bounty with the farmers to increase theirs, but we share in all the wonderful learning experiences and intangible pleasures of the whole process.

That makes for one deliciously full basket each week!

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