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Yesterday I picked up our first CSA distribution! My apologies for the bags in the picture, but by the time I got home at the end of the day I just wasn’t up to emptying everything out and then packing it all back up.  CSAs are a great way to support local farmers while providing fresh, healthy food for your table. In our case, a nearby farm has networked with several other local farms to provide biweekly vegetable deliveries at a few convenient in-town locations. We can indicate which veggies we particularly hate or love, but I didn’t even tell them about my passionate hatred for carrots because I want to make the most of this and truly experiment and try new things. Besides, even a carrot can be tricked into tasting good if you add enough meat or sugar (but not both at the same time… eww). We can also let them know that we have enough sage, mint, rosemary, and oregano growing in our yard to last for years, thankyouverymuch, and once the zucchini succeeds at taking over our whole backyard we have the option to barter our own chemical-free produce for some extra veggies.

It’s best to sign up for a CSA early in the year because they base their spring planting on the number of customers. In most cases Memorial Day is too late, though it’s always worthwhile to check with them directly to see if a slot is still available. In the past I liked to pick up food from the farmer’s market, but I’ve heard that CSAs can be even better for farmers because of this ability to plan crop amounts (and at ours you have to sort out “real local” from Dole and Tropicana). I just went to Local Harvest, popped in our zip code, and looked through the options for one that was reasonably priced and whose shares wouldn’t be too large for just the two of us. If you’re debating about whether to join a CSA, I recommend some of the helpful posts from The Local Cook.

This week’s haul?

Familiar foods: arugula, mesclun greens, sweet basil, baby squash, swiss chard, onions, green beans, and snow peas.

New to us: baby beets (I never buy beets because my husband won’t eat them. I look forward to hoarding these ALL FOR ME! muahaha), turnips (any ideas people? I don’t think I’ve even tasted a turnip before), and green garlic (help! Never used it, but isn’t it beautiful?).

(all pics by author)

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