Going Even Greener with a CSA
I’m the world’s worst vegetarian. Despite living meat-free for 20+ years, I rarely—if ever—manage to eat the oft-suggested five to nine servings of fruits and veggies each day.
(Wait, is wine a fruit? Didn’t think so.)
Still, I’ve always tried to live a pretty eco-friendly life, including the requisite commitment to recycling; use of those funky, twisty light bulbs; and eschewing of chemical-laden cleaning and personal-care products, etc.
But a couple summers ago, I upped my crunchy street cred by joining a CSA.
If you haven’t heard of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), chances are it’ll be coming to a locale near you soon enough. (The one I belong to—from Seed of Life Nurseries in central Maryland—is family-run and has a terrific charitable component.)
The concept is simple: Each winter, you buy a share in a farm or farmers’ cooperative. In exchange, you’re promised a supply of fresh produce (and sometimes eggs, milk, or other goodies) each week throughout the growing season.
But be warned: Although it’s the essence of “buy local,” owning a CSA share is also a weekly reminder that you can’t rush Mother Nature.
Or make her go lighter on the greens.
“Wow, that’s a lot of lettuce,” my husband, Ben, said when I brought home a recent share.
And it was: two huge heads of the stuff, along with two big baggies of peas, a bunch of green beans, a handful of scallions, two zucchini, and a pile of beets. But that’s what the earth offered up that week, and that’s what we got.
Alas, figuring out how to serve it all—and how to get my four kids to eat it—proved tricky, and I wasn’t completely successful.
Let’s just say my compost bin has never had it better.
Still, I love the concept, and it’s fun picking up my share each week. And while I’ve been lukewarm about some of the offerings—please, in the name of all that is holy and good, NO MORE SWISS CHARD—I get all fluttery anytime I see corn, watermelon, or tomatoes poking out of the bag.
By the time fall rolls around, the offerings will turn orangey-brown—pumpkins and other squash, pretty gourds, and root vegetables—and my thoughts will turn to pots of homemade soup simmering on the stove.
And then I’ll remember that I hate soup almost as much as I hate the cliché “pots of homemade soup simmering on the stove.”
I like the idea of supporting a local farm (and, by association, the underprivileged families it serves) and of giving my family pesticide-free veggies.
Even if we don’t come close to finishing them all.