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Archive for July, 2011

The summer season means prime time for Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) in New England. And since Jay and I are trying to support local and sustainable, we decided to purchase summer and fall vegetable shares from the Many Hands Organic Farm CSA.

First, a little background on CSAs. They’re mutually beneficial to farmers and consumers: farmers get money up front to help fund the seasons’ crops, and consumers get local, fresher produce and other farm products. The way it typically works is that you purchase a “share” of the crops for the season, which provides you an assortment of produce (or whatever you choose to buy a share of) every week during that farming season. Depending on the farm you choose, you usually have several options for pickup days and locations in your area, which makes getting your weekly shares easy and convenient.

We opted for the medium share of the Many Hands CSA. Our first pickup was three weeks ago. We managed to find the pickup location—even though it was a random house in a random neighborhood—and grabbed our bag of goodies off the front porch (it was labeled with our name). The purple canvas bag felt extremely light, but we shrugged it off and sped home to see what it contained.

To be honest, we were not impressed. The bag contained what looked like several heads of lettuce, a bunch of scallions, a plastic bag full of green leaves, a handful of mint, and five (yes, five) sugar snap peas. It was then we realized that most people buying shares are using them to supplement regular meals – not as a full vegetarian menu. Whoops. We also weren’t sure how to use most of what was in there. Thankfully, the farm sent an email letting us know generally what was in the bag and some ideas on what to do with it. Hint: we didn’t have several heads of lettuce. We did manage to use the bulk of what was in that bag in salads, eggs, and mixed drinks. The freshness was duly noted.

Last Friday, we drove to pick up our bag with trepidation. What would be in it this time? More green leafy things? We poured through the bag the second we got home. This time around, one of the lettuce heads was replaced with kale. We got more scallions, along with weird green curly things (turned out to be garlic scapes). And this time, there were a whopping 10 snap peas! The bag also contained some mystery items we didn’t recognize. The weekly email from the farm informed us that they were daikon radishes and radishes (or turnips – still not sure on that one). Good thing we’ve been getting emails outlining what’s in the bag! It’s also nice to read about how the farm is doing in general – it’s kind of like a heads up on what’s to come.

I’m looking forward to today’s bag; we’ve been told carrots, peppers, and other non-leafy vegetables will be coming soon. It’s exciting to feel as though we’re part of something and to think that our vegetables will differ depending on what the weather’s like and how the farm does. You really get a taste for how local living could be. I also like knowing these vegetables came from an organic farm that’s a 30-minute drive from us.

The fun part is we’re learning about “new” vegetables and ways to cook them!

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