Friday, April 4, 2014

CSA Refresher: Why We're Members of a Farm {High Ground Organics}

 
Organic Schmorganic. Organic fruits and veggies are available in virtually every grocery store in town. So when it came time to renew the subscription to my CSA (community supported agriculture) box from High Ground Organics in Watsonville, I began to wonder: What's the appeal of a CSA box?

Let's review...right around the same time the Slow Food movement began to coalesce, the popularity of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) began to rise. CSAs are a popular way for us, as consumers, to buy locally-grown, organic, seasonal food directly from a farmer.

Here are the basics and benefits...the farmers receive payment early in the season, which helps with the farm's cash flow and have an opportunity to get to know the people who eat the food they grow. We get weekly deliveries of fresh food, with all the flavor and vitamin benefits; we get exposed to new vegetables and new ways of cooking; and we usually get to visit the farm at least once a season so the kids see that food is grown in the ground and doesn't just magically appear - in cellophane - in the grocery store!

I had initially joined years ago to get organic, freshly plucked fruits and veggies every week during their season and to support a local farm. And while I am happy to support local farmers, I realized that one of my strongest reason for continuing my subscription: the mystery! I love a challenge.

I relish getting something unknown in my box. I had never seen, much less cooked with, agretti. But I loved the burst of juiciness that it brought to a quick pasta tossed with pancetta, caramelized onions, and marscarpone cheese. The albino looking carrots - parsnips - were transformed into a flavorful soup with a sweetness brought on by white chocolate. And roasted romanesco added a nuttiness to a frittata topped with asiago cheese.

I love the adventure of finding delectable ways to cook something I've never seen before. What might stress out some home-chefs, piques my curiosity and gives me a reason to look for new recipes. So, every Thursday I pick up my CSA box and do a happy dance. Woohoo. Oh, yeah. Woohoo. Oh, yeah!

We pay $216 every 9 weeks for the season. That's less than $25 per week for super-fresh fruits and vegetables. Amazing deal.  It's like Christmas every week with the anticipation and glee of opening a box with unknown contents. I know, I'm fairly easy to please.

Yesterday I got: chard, green garlic, strawberries, lettuce, turnips, celery root, and mustard greens. The week before there were gorgeous artichokes and gem-colored cabbage.

Thank you, Stephen, Jeanne, and the entire High Ground Organics Team. Let the Spring cooking commence...


Are you a CSA member? Which is your farm? And what do you love most about your deliveries? Leave me a comment below.

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