Down On The Farm

Yesterday I did my duty as a good half-hearted urban hippie and joined a CSA.

Actually, I’m just too lazy to grow any vegetables myself. Besides, the only things I’m good at are tomatoes and cilantro and man cannot live on salsa alone.

That’s garlic. I think it will definitely improve my salsa.

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. You pay a one time fee to buy a share or a half share of the crop and then you get to pick up an assortment of vegetables, fruit, herbs, flowers, eggs, meat, and other goodies either every week or every other week. The idea is you get to know where you food comes from and who is growing it. It’s part of the locavore movement and something I am really excited to participate in.

Our CSA is called Town Farm Organic and is owned by an incredibly nice couple named Amanda and Dylan. It’s only their second season offering shares so they’re still working out the details – which is good, because we get to help make some of the decisions, like bi-weekly vs weekly pick ups or whether or not we’re interested in things like garbanzo beans (answer: yes. hummus. enough said). They don’t have chickens (yet) or any meat (yet) but they are part of the very active community of local farmers in our area and can either recommend or trade for almost anything we could possibly want.

Amanda and Dylan are also VERY tolerant of 2-year-olds exploring their farm.

I wrote them a check on the spot for a half share.*  As part of the membership, I’m encouraged to help out during the planting or the harvest. They even said we could bring the kids and let them participate, since they really believe in teaching kids where food comes from – and they don’t mean the grocery store.

Do I sound like a crazy person and/or some sort of snobbish foodie yet? Because I’m trying to.

The herb garden is planted in the foundation of an old dairy barn. Did I mention the farm was built in the 1700’s and has a super fascinating history? I know that doesn’t make the vegetables any more delicious (OR DOES IT?) but I absolutely love old houses and all the stories that come with them.

1950’s Ford tractor the farmers actually still use. Now THAT’S sustainable agriculture.

Mischievous toddler is mischievous. Also, he totally has an orange slice in his front pocket. He saved it all morning and ate it when we got home.

Dylan and Amanda were so excited about all their plants it was hard for us not to get excited too. We told the kids these were baby peppers and they loved it. Our friend Amelia wanted to kiss them, because that’s what you do with babies (DID YOU JUST DIE OF CUTENESS?) Evan was fascinated and did a great job looking with his eyes and not with his hands (whoa, major dad flashback).

My only real concern is that I am not awesome at cooking and serving veggies. I know that makes joining a CSA seem sort of silly, but my hope is that once I have all these vegetables in my house I will be FORCED to use them or lose them. They’ve got 37 types of veggies planned (plus flowers and herbs and possibly berries) so I’m really going to be stretching to find recipes that my family will eat. And by my family I 1000000% mean E. I can probably bribe the toddler into trying stuff but my husband is cheeseburger and pizza kind of guy. I may end up buying one of those “hide the veggies in the cupcakes!” kind of cookbooks.

That’s Caroline’s excited face. She knows that there is some AWESOME homemade baby food coming her way once we start getting our shares.

*In case you were curious, a half share cost $225. I figure that’s pretty much the deal of the decade, especially because everything will be organic. I spent at least that much on produce in 4 or 5 weeks of grocery shopping and the growing season is much longer than that.

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23 Responses to “Down On The Farm”

  1. Amanda says:

    Hurray for you! I have considered joining a CSA a few times here but I keep hitting that whole “What the hell and I going to cook with all those vegetables?” wall. I hope you continue posting about it this summer and maybe you can convince me to join next year. Got that lady? Post. Recipes please!

  2. Other Erin says:

    I’m all about knowing where food comes from. Just make sure you save the “chicken for dinner is dead chicken the animal” talks for when the kids are a tad older.
    I’ve looked at a CSA a few times but I feel like I’d waste a lot so I’m interested to see how it goes for you.
    Also, I hear you can chop up pretty much any kind of veggie and put it into high fat content meatloaf and never notice.

  3. Not to mention that their farm looks adorable! :) This sounds awesome!

  4. Leah says:

    What to do with all that food? Canning! Jellies, chutneys and pickles! Sauces and preserves! I just lent my two canning books to a friend who signed up for TWO CSA’s this summer. Lady be nuts.

    Also, kale chips are delicious.

  5. Brigid Keely says:

    Amanda Hess at pandagon.net did a long series of cooking with her CSA. You might want to check that out.

    Nesko’s family owns fallow farmland in WI and every year we talk about going up there in the spring (or fall, for garlic sets) and planting out stuff and going up on the weekends to tend it. It’s a huge investment of time, and initial investment of money and a lot of work, though.

    My mom has a CSA share and gets eggs and herbs among other things.

    • bebehblog says:

      Ours does herbs now and hopes to have eggs at some point in the future. We actually have a lot of places to get fresh eggs around here – backyard chickens are pretty common.

      My real problem when it comes to planting my own veggies is I am terrible at starting from seed and buying all the little seedlings already started gets expensive really quick. I could easily spend $100 at the garden center and then STILL have half of them die (due to my neglect and laziness). So a CSA is the ideal situation for me.

  6. molly says:

    This is awesome! I was actually justt researching CSA’s to join when we move to our new neighborhood! I’m so excited for you. It is just what my family needs since the green thumb gene skipped me =)

  7. Evan looks like he had a good time. I’ve looked into CSAs around here, but the one I found is really expensive. My goal is to double our vegetable intake by the end of summer. We eat a lot of fruit, but not so much in the veggie department.

  8. Brittany says:

    We did a CSA last summer and it really challenged me to try and cook new foods. I have never been a veggie fan and I ended up trying lots of new things (And liking some of them. Beets are still on the iffy list.)

  9. Natalie says:

    I would love to join a CSA, I need to do more research though and find out if there are any close to us or if it is financially doable. It looks like you had a fantastic time, Love the muddy shoe picture. Fun!

  10. This is so cool! We joined a small CSA last year and it was a great experience. I love the photos of the kids seeing the plants. What a neat way to learn where food actually comes from.

    (I learned how to freeze and preserve a lot last year so I was able to make use of all those yummies. I STILL have rhubarb and butternut squash in the freezer.)

  11. debbi says:

    Oh hey look, I just emailed them to see if they have any CSA openings left. Local chickpeas and no meat would be so awesome for us. Hubs and Lil G live on hummus.

  12. Susan says:

    I joined one last year, and I had some of the same questions about it – what if I waste a lot? What if I can’t figure anything out? What if I am a FAILURE AT CSA???

    But I loved it. Really loved it. Truth be told, some things did go to waste (I just stopped taking the motherfucking eggplant). But we ate SO MANY VEGGIES, and they were really delicious, and I am going to do it again for the rest of my life. It didn’t end up being cheaper than getting stuff at the grocery store, because I had to supplement from the store (things like broccoli, and they didn’t give us anywhere near the amount of potatoes that I require). It was fun to say, “hey, I’ve got Swiss Chard. Tell me, oh internet, what to do with it!”

    Beets are deeeeeeeeeeelicious in borsch, which is a really great way to get 25 vegetables into a tasty bowl of soup.

    One thing that I would suggest is to have a miserly friend that can be your backup if you do get too much – or if you will be out of town one of the weeks. Your cheap-ass friend gets some free veggies, you’ve already paid for the subscription so you don’t lose any money or anything, and you don’t have to feel guilty about starving kids in whichever-country-people-talk-about-these-days.

    I endorse your decision.

  13. Amanda says:

    Suzanne- I have a great beet vichyssoise recipe from Dylan’s mother.. I’m not a beet fan either but this soup is amazing. We’ll provide recipes at pick up also- It helps to use what you get each week if you have something delicious to make with it! Great write up, and great blog. Thank you!

  14. sarrible says:

    This beet salad recipe is astonishingly delicious.

  15. TMae says:

    You’ll love it. Well, I love it. Let me clarify – we haven’t joined a CSA – BUT we buy almost all of our veggies from one farm at the farmer’s market at the park around the corner. The awesomest thing about it? We’ve eaten veggies that I never would have eaten otherwise, AND LOVED THEM. No really, we LOVE them. The farmers are AWESOME about offering recipes and ways to cook them, and generally explaining it all to us.

    I’m gonna go join that farm’s CSA now. I’ll tell them you send me. :-)

  16. Sarah-Anne says:

    caroline’s sweet face is priceless! :)

  17. andrea says:

    This is amazing! And inspiring. I am going to do some research on this for when we move out of the city and have a car that can take us to far away places like farms.
    Imma start keeping slices of oranges in my pockets too.

  18. […] 1 TweetWe got our first harvest from Town Farm Organics, the CSA we joined this year, on Tuesday. (You can read more about it here.) This is what was in our bag: Note to self: next time try taking picture of green things in front […]

  19. […] bebehblog on July 28, 2011 TweetMy CSA membership has been paying out big time for the last few weeks. I snarfed down all the early season carrots […]

  20. […] 2 and we gave him a room makeover and an awesome birthday party. I embraced my inner hippie and joined a CSA (which turned out to be a GREAT decision). I knit some cute stuff while avoiding knitting the […]

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