This year, for the first time, I bought a share in a Community Supported Agriculture farm. I’ve been wanting to do so for several years, but this was the first time I actually did the research and committed to it. One of my primary concerns was that since I’m gone so much in the summer I wouldn’t have time to make good use of the produce. But after reading Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma, and In Defense of Food, and Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle eating locally became a priority for me. I’ll just have to be very pro-active about freezing what I can’t use immediately. Maybe I’ll get a juicer.
The farm I bought into is called Long Hungry Creek, and the farmer is Jeff Poppen. I chose this farm primarily because they deliver in Nashville on Mondays. All the other farms that deliver CSA boxes do so on Wednesdays, which is one of my teaching days, so I’d never be able to go pick it up. Also, if I can’t pick up my box they don’t have a problem with me sending someone else to get it, and if I don’t do that all of the leftover produce goes to a local food bank, and I’m good with that.
I waited impatiently for June 1st to roll around. Since Memorial Day was the Monday, they delivered on Tuesday instead. As it turned out, when it finally arrived I had to dash down and pick up my food in between banjo lessons.
Instead of pre-preparing the boxes, Long Hungry Creek figures up the portions and has all the produce in large baskets, so you can choose your own, taking as much as the sign tells you. (I’ll try and get a picture of that at some point.) I have a single share, which is about a quarter bushel of food every week. In addition to what they grow on the farm, they augment our shares with day-old bread from a couple local bakeries (as much as we want), and they also have local eggs, cheeses, and raw foods available for purchase.
My first batch of food included lots of green stuff (beet greens, lettuce, arugula, thyme, cilantro), potatoes, rhubarb, green onions, and garlic scapes. Even though they’re now in my fridge, and they thoughtfully sent a recipe for garlic scape pesto, I’m still not really clear on what garlic scapes ARE. One Block West, a local food restaurant in Winchester, Va. (is there more than one local food restaurant in Winchester?) blogged about their own vegetarian tasting menu, which included garlic scape pesto, so I know it’s a real thing. I’m SO curious what it will taste like.
My plans for the rhubarb involve the strawberries in my freezer, which I picked at Bradley Kountry Acres last week. (Sadly, their strawberries are all gone, so what I have will have to last me all year.) But so far all I’ve been able to do with my lovely farm-raised food, since I was only home for two days this week, is make a couple salads from the greens. The salads were pretty killer, with just some olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dressing.
My grand plan is to blog about what I do with this glorious bounty every week. We’ll see how long that lasts…