This is the first summer in a long time that we don’t have some sort of CSA to look forward to.
It was a hard decision to make, but we hadn’t been happy with the direction our farm had taken. Because of Covid, they had to drop the biggest appeal of their CSA, the ability to pick from a variety of vegetables and to pick the size (and quantity) that fit your family.
For the past 2 years it’s been a one-size-fits-all approach, where you drove up and got a large plastic bag with that week’s share. Although you could choose from “extras”, a request to not have the biggest head of cabbage ever seen, it meant they had to go scrambling, which meant the traffic got backed up-you get the picture.
While the shares were always generous, picking my own from the bins meant I could get something that my 2-person household could conceivably finish in a week. Sad to say, with it out of our control, as hard as I tried to put everything to good use, the food waste in our house was just terrible. And then the guilt… While we tried to embrace kale, it’s never going to be something, like tomatoes, that I crave.
I did my best to ask the farm if it would be possible to make more manageable packs for small households, but it was way more than they could handle. Understandable but not ideal.
Something else that was missed with the drive-pickup-go version was the chance to get to know the other members and staff. The head farmer was often there to help pick the best watermelon or give tips for some exotic Asian greens that would turn out to be delicious!
However, we’re lucky to have a small but well-stocked farmers’ market across the street from us. So, this year we decided to take a pass on the CSA and take a chance on the weekly market.
It’s only been a few weeks, and I miss the ritual of the Tuesday pick up and prep for veggies. The good part is that it’s just switched to Thursday and there’s no car involved, but it’s different. The camaraderie from the farm is missing but we’re starting to get to know the vendors, and who is better for what. There are blueberry muffins and croissants, but no pick-your-own strawberries and herbs.
But the unexpected downside? There’s no surprise, no challenge. After seeing dozens of recipes recently for zucchini, I don’t have to deal with that if I don’t want to. Ditto kale. But that’s always been part of the fun of cooking from a farm box! It stretches you as a cook. On the other hand, after almost 3 years of non-stop cooking, it might be okay to not have the pressure of pounds of zucchini or thinking of ways of sneaking kale into something edible. Perhaps this summer it’s time to sit back, pick a lettuce that appeals and wait for tons of tomatoes and piles of corn. Or I’ll challenge myself to pick a new veg every week. Or maybe just some weeks. Or go back to some of my cookbooks and find the recipes that looked great in January but were with summer veggies. Or just sit back with a big glass of gazpacho and enjoy the season, because isn’t that what summer is all about?