Tomorrow I get to pick up my second CSA share. This is the third year I have participated in a CSA and I encourage everyone to find the money to participate in such a program. My diet was boring and I was compelled to expand the variety of vegetables I was consuming, I wanted to support a small, local business, and I wanted organic produce in my diet. Turns out, finding the right CSA was relatively easy: search a database, locate a farmer; contact the farmer (and hope there is an available share) and send a check. My first CSA was an organic, pick your own farm. The result: fantastic fresh produce. The second year brought bad news: the farmer would not be growing the next season. I have a new CSA and I love it.
This year seems to have brought forth more questions about my CSA. The questions most typically focus on cost and what is in the share itself. The answer is: the cost is not high, but requires an upfront fee which might be steep for someone who has not saved the money. At $350 (a half share) for 5 months, the break down is $2.50 a day. Not bad for two people, and I argue it is not bad for one person as much of it is preserved and consumed in the fall and winter. A CSA is easily affordable when you tend your resources. Since I rarely purchase soda, chips, and cookies I can justify the costs. And when I look at the contents of my share, I can easily justify the cost.
Each week the produce varies and is influenced by the farmer’s seed choices and the weather conditions. In general, the earliest part of the season brings the leafy vegetables, maybe some berries. Vegetables such as corn, tomatoes, and melons arrive mid-season. Late season offerings may include eggplant, garlic, and chard. In the first couple of years, I would pick what I liked and left other choices on the vine.
What these conversations did is to lead me to this question: is it possible for a single person to take everything in the CSA share and not waste anything? Could I consume the food immediately, prepare it for freezing/canning; or prepare it for later use as a gift? Or is there just too much produce for one person? I decided it could be done and checked my canning supplies, purchased some items, and looked for recipes.
These postings will record my summer journey.