Monday, June 19, 2006

Hooray for our CSA!

I've never been to California, but that's where the nectarine I had as an afternoon snack a few days ago came from. The nectarine was delicious, but as I was eating, I couldn't stop thinking about the events that led to its cross-country trip. Who grew my nectarine? When had it been picked? And by whom? How much were they paid? (The nectarine cost a paltry 18 cents, and I can't help but think that shipping must eat up much of that cost.) Had it been picked firm-ripe, or was it picked green and gassed?

Since I can't answer any of these questions, early this spring I decided to join a CSA farm. The premise of Community Supported Agriculture is simple: each member purchases a "share" of the harvest, and over the course of the growing season gets local, organic, sustainably grown food. There are only two of us in my household, so I'm splitting a share with my friend Ali.

What have we received in our first two weekly pickups? Lots of salad greens: romaine - both red and green, sorrel, and frisee (curly endive). Scallions as long as my arm. Beets and bok choy. Later in the summer we'll head out to Trillium Haven to pick beans, peas, and tomatoes. While I'm excited about trying new varieties of foods and new recipes, and maybe learning how to can, most of all I'm looking forward to having a relationship with the people who grow my food. Plus, with Wal-Mart pushing to get organics on their shelves, eventually industrializing the industry and cheapening the concept, I guess it's safe to say that local really is the new organic.

For a good overview of the CSA movement and its promise, check out this article. To find a CSA farm or farmers market near you, click here.


justin said...

bok choy? what do you use that in?

Jackie said...

Awesome! I'm so going to see if there are any of these around here.

Rachel said...

Stir fry. We eat lots of stir fry.

axel said...

hey there, questions about agriculture? that little fruit at 18 cents sounds cheap, but the labour in california is almost 99% illegal but accepted immigrants (vital for the agroindustries)... ever heard the term blind eye?

the person who harvested is not paid by the hour but by weight or volume..

I live in chile, another very intensive fruit growing region, and in school, we once had to go to a fruit farm, and worked our hands off for a net of 27 dollars for 5 days.. this was 10 years ago, but say it's 60 dollars now.. you pick a lot of tangelos for that..

but food, glorious food.. the beauty of living far out here is that pure genuine organic food is extremely easy to get hold of ...