April 2, 2011

Radioactive rain be damned (or: I just signed up for a CSA)

And I am so excited.

CSA stands for community supported agriculture, and it's when you pay a local farm (or group of farms) for a weekly delivery of their produce throughout the growing season. My vegetables will be grown at Stoneledge Farm in Leeds, NY. This will be Stoneledge Farm's 16th year doing CSA. My vegetables will be both organic and local, which makes my heart happy. Here are samples from Stoneledge Farm's website of what the deliveries will contain each week:

Spring vegetable share (sample)
Garlic Scapes - 6
Bok Choi - 1 head
Perpetual Spinach - 1 bunch
Chives - 1 bunch
Red Sails, Red Leaf Lettuce - 1 head
Escarole - 1 head
Greek Oregano - 1 bunch
Sugar Snap Peas - 1 pound

Early summer vegetable share (sample)
Zucchini Summer Squash - 2 pounds
Cucumbers - 1 Raider Slicing and 2 Boothby Blonde Heirloom
Bright Lights Swiss Chard - 1 bunch
Raddichio - 1
Early Jersey Wakefield Cabbage - 1 head
Orient Express Eggplant - 2
Cilantro - 1 bunch
Lilac Islander Peppers - 1
Buttercrunch Lettuce - 1 head
Scallions - 1 bunch

Summer vegetable share (sample)
Red Ace Beets - 1.5 pounds
Bolero Carrots - 1 pound
Leeks - 1 bunch
Thyme - 1 bunch
Hungry Round Heirloom Peppers - 3
Lacinato Kale - 1 bunch
Tomatoes - Slicing - 3 pounds
Tomatoes - Sun Gold Cherry - 1 basket
Broccoli - 2 heads

Autumn vegetable share (sample)
Keuka Gold Potatoes - 2 pounds
Bolero Carrots - 1 pound
Red Ace Beets - 1.5 pounds
Brussels Sprouts - 3 stalks
Winterbor Kale - 1 bunch
Celeriac - 2 roots
Garlic - 2 bulbs
Romanesco Cauliflower - 1 head
Italian Flat Leaf Parsley - 1 bunch

Seriously, how fun is that. I love all the names: Lilac Islander Peppers, Bright Lights Swiss Chard, Winterbor Kale. It makes them sound so romantic, like they have fascinating stories behind them. Then there are celeriac and garlic scapes. What in the world are those? I am excited to find out. And what am I going to do with a whole bunch of thyme? I'll just have to find a bunch of new recipes. Each week's box of vegetable surprises will motivate me to take weekly mini-adventures in my kitchen. I'm lucky that Graybeard is such a daring eater. I can put anything on a plate in front of him and he'll dig in, and pretty much always like it too.

The arrival of the first vegetables will be in mid June, and I'm already dreaming of all the fun I will have playing with my bounty. If you're interested in finding a CSA near you, go here. There are all types (organic, non-organic, vegetable, fruit, and you might even find bread, honey, egg, and grain add-ons in places). Support for your local small farmer means fresher, more varied produce than what you'll find in the supermarket, that's grown for taste, not for its ability to hold up to a cross-country trip. If you're interested, sign up soon, CSAs max out fast.

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