Hanna’s Late Winter Checklist
Order seeds for garden — check
Bitch to husband how winter is too long in Cleveland and why can’t we move to Florida — check
Check ground obsessivly for snowdrops — check
Reserve spot at the CSA — check
“What?!?â€ you might ask, “But Hanna, don’t you garden? Why do you need a CSA share.â€ (Maybe you are not asking that. Maybe you are asking, “what the hell is CSA — is it like a crazy, militantÂ neo-gardener organization hell bent on taking over the world and planting gardens everywhere? (Or maybe you are asking, “Why Florida? I though only old people, hispanic immigrants, red headed cops and animated animals lived in Florida.â€))
Let’s back up. One question at a time.
What the hell is a CSA?
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Â A group of small farmers get together and say, “If you pay us money up front, we will grow food and you can pick it up at regular intervals through the growing season.â€Â It is really a win-win situation. The farmers have a guaranteed buyer for their crops and products, you get to eat locally, organically and often for a price comparable to shopping for the plain Jane stuff at the grocery store.
But you have a vegetable garden, why do you need a CSA?
I do have a vegetable garden. A rather small vegetable garden. What I don’t have is an apiary, pigs, chickens (though I am really working on that one), cows, vineyards, orchards and about a dozen other things that my local farmers do.
The CSA I belong to provides not only vegetables, but other products as well, from honey to baked goods to cheese to meats and more (though they have veggie only options too).
Not all CSA’s have that, but even if you do have your own vegetable garden, unless you are one of those country folks, chances are you can’t grow all your food in your veggie plot. A CSA is a nice way to supplement.
Do you like being in a CSA?
Love, love, love it. While it is a bit of a hassle to pick up the bags once a week, it is easier than grocery shopping as it is all packed, paid for and ready to go when I get there. It is like a farmer’s market in a bag.
Also, I am an adventurous cook and eater. The mystery of What Will Be In My CSA Bag this week is like my own personal cooking and eating game show. “And this week on “Iron Chef CSA”, we have *drumroll* kohlrabi, muscovy duck, swiss chard, farmer cheese and heirloom tomatoes. How will Hanna prepare this and convince her swiss chard hating family that it really is a tasty vegetable?Â Tune in to find out…â€Â And damn it, I do convince them that it is tasty, mostly by lying and telling them it is spinach. Â Â They will eat spinach but not swiss chard. Go figure.
Back on topic.
I have priced it out and 9 out of 10 times, what I get in the bag would have cost far more if I had bought each item on its own and 3/4 of the time costs about what I would have paid for a comparable non-organic/local/unique variety items at the grocery (all without having to risk being exposed to the next homepage feature for People of Walmart).
Point is that if you have not looked around your local area for a CSA, you should check it out. And by check it out, I mean now, while there is still snow on the ground. These days, CSAs sell out their shares pretty quick and if you wait until the weather warms, They Will Be Full.
You thought I forgot, didn’t you?Â It’s warm, duh. Â And shame on you for making such broad, sterotypicalÂ assumptions about that fine state. 😉