Friday, February 23, 2018

CSA - Community Supported Agriculture

If you're lucky enough to belong to one, you will get the freshest food available!
If it's biodynamic or organic, it will be healthy food, too.
(Sorry, conventionally grown food isn't healthy, even if it's from a CSA.)

If you'd like me to add a link to your CSA, please contact me

With most CSAs, you pledge a certain amount - either weekly, monthly, or yearly - they all have different requirements - and, in return, you get a share of their harvest.  

There are many CSA farms where we live, and at least three of them are BIODYNAMIC.
Local Harvest can help you find one where you live. 

I remember my first day as a farm member, being overwhelmed by the amount of produce available, "free" for the taking.  It's not really free - we pledge a certain amount every year to partake of this bounty - but the the cost of the membership and the value of the vegetables are not connected.  We pay the same regardless of how many vegetables we take.

Our CSA is unique in that you don't get a box, you take what you need of those products you like.  Don't like rutabaga?  Don't take any.  LOVE lettuce?  Take what you need.  If more CSAs followed this protocol they would have no problem getting people to sign up.  You need to live close to the CSA, though.  Our CSAs do not deliver.

There are some things that are allocated - we get a specified amount of garlic, and when the veggies make their first appearance of the year we're only allowed "a taste".  But when there is an abundance of something - like pickling cukes, spinach, broccoli, or tomatoes - we're allowed to take "up to a case" for processing.

During the summer, farm days can be stressful - deciding how much to take so that none goes to waste.  You need to keep in mind that the produce has not been washed and some things are full of dirt.  It's healthy biodynamic dirt, but it needs to be removed before you can use the produce, so preparing it takes a little longer.  If I put the produce in the fridge dirty it lasts longer, so I clean it right before I use it. fridge is full of dirt!

Here's a picture of the bottom drawer of my fridge filled with dirty (healthy!) vegetables.

(To minimize cleanup, I line all my fridge shelves and drawers with paper towels)

The BEST thing about a CSA: the vegetables are harvested right before you get them so they are full of nutrients (in the summer).  You will NOT get produce this fresh in any supermarket!

In the fall, our CSAs offer storage vegetables - carrots, beets, parsnips, turnips, rutabagas, radishes, potatoes, onions, and cabbage.  When root vegetables are planted and harvested according to the biodynamic calendar they last until the following summer! 

Here is a photo from Maria Thun's book showing onions in May from the previous year's September harvest.  The onions harvested on leaf days (AK) are rotting.  Those harvested on fruit and flower days (WK and LK) are sprouting.  Only those harvested on root days (EK) are still as firm as they were in September and remain so at least until the following August.  THIS is why I love biodynamic agriculture!.

One of our CSA farms has a little store where we can buy organic bread and cookies, biodynamic herbs, salves, and tonics, salt and maple syrup.  The bread is sourdough (aluminum and yeast free) and the cookies are made with aluminum-free baking powder.  Farm members get free milk, and we can purchase meat, eggs, yogurt, and cheese made with the farm's milk.  You really could survive eating only what you can get from this CSA.  We are extremely lucky to be members.

We also belong to another CSA, a newer and smaller one, but we find they're complimentary.  One CSA grows eggplant, corn, strawberries, apples, and peaches, the other doesn't; one grows greens in winter, the other doesn't.  This CSA also has a 'take-what-you-need' policy and allows for processing amounts in the fall.

We love them both and will never give up either one of them!

There is a third biodynamic farm nearby where we can get goat's milk products, preserves, and honey.

We are truly blessed.

If you would like me to add a link to your CSA, please send me a short description why, as well as the URL.


No comments: