Wednesday, March 05, 2008

My Father's Daughter

If you're here for the knitting content, that'll resume tomorrow. But for now, I'm going to address one of my goals for the year- eating locally/organically.

By way of back story, I grew up on a farm in Michigan. Although my father is a physician, we spent the summers working the farm. I pulled weeds, ran water to my dad and grandpa on the tractors, and checked irrigation. I've even helped shear an angora goat, bottle feed a rejected baby, and help deliver a kid. (I had small hands when I was young.) What all this means is that I remember the best strawberries were the ones we picked mid-afternoon from our neighbors farm for shortcake that night. And the best pickles were from fruit dropped by the harvesting tractor brined by my grandma.

Unfortunately, I do NOT have a green thumb. Even worse, I live in a decidedly suburban apartment with a teeny concrete balcony for growing plants. It's just not possible for me to go all Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. But I would like to support local farmers and extend my eating habits to what is freshest and in season locally. Admittedly, I'm in a lucky position living in the Bay Area. There are lots of farms within 100 miles and the mild climate allows oranges in March.

So what to do since I can't grown my own and I want to support the farmers? The answer is a CSA box. A community supported agriculture box is a farm fresh, organic box or produce delivered (or picked up) weekly. I've been doing this for about a month now and I absolutely LOVE IT! I'm trying out a couple of farms at the moment. Eatwell Farm offers weekly or every other week service. And they will deliver eggs as well! Terra Firma Farm does weekly boxes in small, medium, or large. Both have definitely surpassed my expectations which makes choosing one for long term subscription really difficult.

As an example- today I got a box from Terra Firma with carrots, spinach, sweet potatoes, leeks, cauliflower, kiwi's, navel oranges, frisee, beets, broccoli, red kale, green garlic, yellow finn potatoes, red cabbage, and chard. I don't even know what to do with some of these! But what a great opportunity to try new flavors. The only downside so far is trying to eat it all before the next lovely box arrives!

So what can you do? Check out Local Harvest and sign up for a CSA in your area. Or take your money to the local farmer's market. I'm actually so excited about this that I would love to get into a grain CSA or even buy a share in a cow. (If only I had the freezer space!)

I can't tell you that I'm off the supermarket completely. And I may never be. But if I can learn to concentrate on what comes instead of what I want, I may end up with a more balanced diet that better reflects seasonality and nutritionally wonderful foods.

I'm off to look up chard recipes!


Blogger Knitting Kris said...

The ONLY thing that I miss by living rurally is that we don't have this access! Our farmers are at the mercy of the four seasons, and winter doesn't produce anything here for us to eat. Summer is great, as produce stands start to pop up all over the area! Good for you on eating healthy! :)
Now, where's the organic chocolate?

3:11 AM  
Blogger Morticcia said...

I love the concept of CSAs, too. We found a farm about 20 miles away that offers a vegatable CSA like you have, as well as a meat CSA.

I'm not much of a vegetable eater, so I'd feel foolish with that particular CSA, since they only offer family sized shares. Most of it would rot and I'd feel even more guilty than I do with my not eating enough of the supermarket stuff we get.

I'm interested in their meat CSA, which is similar to the vegetables, wherein you get cuts of meat and other things.

They don't deliver, though, so it will be tough to find the time haul out there once a week but I do feel the moral compulsion to not eat agribusiness chicken and meat.

9:48 AM  
Blogger Lovs2Knit said...

I can't wait till our famers markets start back up again. I love fresh fruits and veggies. My goal is to get enough fruits and veggies in my freezer to last us through the winter.

10:17 AM  
Blogger tapmouse said...

Bravo to you on your CSA goals! I wish I could be so good. It's a real challenge and commitment.

12:31 AM  

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