September 7, 2009

CSA delivery: Labor Day '09

What a beautiful sight to return home to! We pulled in from our road trip at midnight last night, and this bounty was at our front door this morning. Since we were produce-starved after our trip, sometimes having trouble finding even a banana, our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) was more appreciated than ever. I could barely take this photo before my husband was grabbing for sandwich ingredients.

We had a fantastic trip, but it's tough to find fresh fruit and vegetables or even eat healthfully while traveling the Interstates. I'll write more about our adventure in tomorrow's post.

Today, we're rejoicing in our abundance and I can't wait to boil up that corn on the cob for dinner. We received (from the back, roughly clockwise): Frog Skin melon, corn on the cob, butternut squash, red bell pepper, sun gold tomatoes, black eyed peas, basil, brandywine tomato, peaches, a "kitchen sink" cookie, squash blossoms, nectarines, red grapes, purple and green beans, summer squash, red leaf lettuce, and watermelon.

Having just visited Mesa Verde in southern Colorado, where we learned that for hundreds of years the Native Americans lived on a diet of beans, corn, and squash, I'm thinking of a dinner with those ingredients to commemorate our trip.

If you need more motivation than a husband who dives for produce just because it tastes so delicious, here's my attempt to answer Meg's question from a few weeks back: "Why should I join a CSA if I already go to a Farmer's Market?"

If you go to a Farmer's Market regularly, you probably don't need to join a CSA. You already support the local farmers and enjoy the fresh taste and health benefits of the produce. For me, it's not feasible to go every week, and so the convenience of delivery is one of the benefits for us. Here are a few others:

1. Our CSA (Auntie Em's) delivers produce that I may not be familiar with or have chosen myself. That means we're introduced to new foods and a more varied diet.

2. Our CSA also provides recipes and serving suggestions, contributing to expanding our diet and introducing us to delicious new foods. That's good for our health, and it's also fun to experiment with new things.

3. Since the woman who runs our CSA is very experienced with the local Farmer's Markets because of running a restaurant for years, she knows all the farmers and what is best and freshest at each Farmer's Market. I wouldn't have that experience. We're getting the best and the freshest available.

4. We're eating seasonally because of her choices. You can do this yourself, but if you're anything like me, you tend to get into a rut with what you know you like and know how to prepare.

5. The food is so much fresher that it lasts much longer and so we have much less food waste.

So my answer would be that if you go to the Farmer's Market every week and talk to the vendors and buy a large variety, it's about the same as what we get, minus the recipes and serving suggestions and the convenience of delivery. But for most of us, there are a lot of advantages of joining a CSA.

Click here to find a CSA near you and to read more about the advantages. And if you happen to live in Los Angeles, I can't recommend our service (Auntie Em's) highly enough. Click here for more information and to sign up. And if you'd like to see some of our previous deliveries, click here.

Are you a member of a CSA? Do you go to the Farmer's Market? Please leave your thoughts and suggestions in the Comments section. Recipes and preparation ideas are also welcome.


Cate said...

I always love looking at your CSA delivery pictures--all that produce is so gorgeous!

We go to a farmer's market every week, and we love getting to talk with the farmers while buying our food. One of the only things we DON'T like is that when the weather's nice, you have to get up early to beat the crowds.

Canadian Saver said...

I love the pictures too!! You always get such a great assortment :-)


Alea said...

I grow a lot of my own produce, but I love going to the farmer's market. I like talking to the farmers, tasting their samples, and bringing home wonderful treats for the family.

Angela said...

Cate- Glad you like the photos, it really is a gorgeous variety.

Canadian Saver- Yes, I have yet to be disappointed in the variety. We got a lot of squash this time, so I can try out a bunch of different recipes.

Alea- yes, not visiting the Farmer's Market and talking with the farmers is one disadvantage of the delivery. This Saturday I'm going to the Farmer's Market for some special peaches- they're only in season for 3 weeks. I'll buy enough for eating, giving away, freezing, and making pie. They're expensive, but SO tasty.