Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Community Supported Goodness
Years ago, G's older daughter K, who lives in the Netherlands, told us about getting a box of vegetables every week from a local farm via a subscription. She said she never knew what was going to be in the box, though there were often potatoes. And while she thought it was a good concept, it wasn't as convenient as buying what she wanted from the grocery store. This was long before our national debate about local foods and seasonal foods, and I thought it sounded interesting, and fun, but a bit odd. I mean - getting what they send you instead of what you want? And anyway, we didn't have anything like that in the US. K lives in Holland, and I thought it was just another cultural difference between us and the Dutch.
Then two years ago, I found out that we had something similar in our area, called community supported agriculture. (Of course it's been around longer than that - I just didn't know we had it.) So last February I signed up with a local farmer and had a wonderful time getting a box of vegetables every week, from June to December. Yes, it was more work in some ways, and yes, sometimes something went bad before I got around to figuring out what to do with it or working it into a meal. But I've had grocery store stuff get lost and forgotten in the fridge, too. And I have to say that everything we got from the farm had a much longer shelf life than what I was getting from the grocery store.
Getting vegetables from Peg and Matt Scheaffer at Sandhill Organics (the photo above is from their website, with permission) turned out to be so much more fun and satisfying than I imagined. Part of it was working with vegetables I'd never tried before - in some cases, things I'd never heard of before. The variety, the freshness, the flavor - all were beyond my expectations.
On top of that, G and I spent the month of June in Wisconsin, and since I already had my mind set on working with a farmer, I found an organic farmer near where we were staying, and arranged to visit the farm once a week to pick up a box of whatever he was harvesting. Visiting with Leo Sances at Prospera Farm each week made working with the vegetables that much more fun. It was educational, entertaining, and enriched our whole experience.
I've signed up again this year with Sandhill Organics and have the first week of May, when the Spring Share begins, circled on the calendar. And the weekends that we're in Wisconsin this summer, we'll be calling on Leo.
Posted by Ginnie