This weekend our sweet & generous friends, who were going out of town for a couple of days, offered us their weekly CSA share. Driving through the beautiful countryside to the farm stand to find baskets of freshly harvested fruits & vegetables from which we were to make up a market bag was a most satisfying & rewarding experience. At Dwight Miller & Son Orchard, the Miller family has farmed the same land since before Vermont was a state, & investing in a CSA helps ensure they will be able to continue farming their land for generations to come. Our friends' generosity reminded us that even though we support local farms by shopping at our local farmer's market every weekend, a CSA is an even more personal & involved pledge of support, since you share both the benefits & risks of their yearly crop production by signing on at the beginning of the season.
CSAs are available to urban & rural folks alike – while living in San Francisco, we had a CSA share from a nearby farm that would truck in boxes of their delicious organic vegetables to a central location in the city, which we would then pick up weekly. It was always exciting to discover which vegetables were harvested that week, & certainly widened our recipe repertoire & made us approach our menus in a much more creative way since we had to work with what we got, & it wasn't always something we would have picked up in a grocery store.
For the last couple of years we have received a CSA share from Scott Farm, a beautiful orchard listed on the National Record of Historic Places that produces over 70 different varieties of ecologically grown apples, including many heirloom & unusual varieties. This Thursday we will start receiving pecks of fresh & delectable apples, & the anticipation of which varieties we will get to try is dominating my thoughts right now. Next year we will definitely consider a vegetable CSA from a local farm, which we can augment with vegetables from our local farmer's market as needed: a win-win-win situation!