I am a member of a CSA – a farm that has a Community Supported Agriculture program. Members pay either an upfront or monthly fee and get a share of the produce of the farm weekly throughout the growing season. You don’t always know what you’ll be getting, but you can be sure of where it came from.
Every Tuesday is a day of anticipation because it’s my CSA pick up day. Before joining the CSA last year, I’d never eaten kale, or chard, or fresh celery, or fresh beets, or white radishes, or purple beans that turn green when you cook them. It’s been fun to learn and to try new recipes. I’ve discovered that bok choy ribs make great, totally guilt free snacks, and that chard ribs taste a little too earthy for my tastes.
Having easy access to fresh, delicious, healthy produce all summer is inspiring in so many ways. I spend entirely too much time looking at recipes, reading reviews and thinking about what to cook. Almost every week I fill a gallon sized zip lock bag with awesome salad so there is always something tasty in the fridge, ready to eat. Kebobs and foil packs of chopped veggies are on the grill every time we use it.
Food is a challenge for me. Well, the challenge of course is behaving sensibly when consuming food. I abhor the idea of “fake cheese” yet will eat those little packs of crackers that come with a little red plastic stick for spreading processed cheese all day. High fructose corn syrup is dangerous and nasty, but Coca-Cola is yummy. I completely understand how sugar ravages the human body and the consequences of being overweight and poor nutrition, but that understanding doesn’t lessen the extreme cravings for sweets that are so much harder to overcome than cravings for nicotine ever were.
Having a fridge full of CSA goods inspires me to eat better. It inspires me to learn more, to experiement more and to be creative in the kitchen. Knowing that a farmer is making a living and even employing a few people inspires me to work harder writing because writing is so very much easier than farming. Going to the farm to pick up my box every week forces me to leave the house and the computer and that is usually inspiring all by itself.
If you enjoy experiementing in your kitchen and you don’t mind having a bit of the unknown on your menu each week, I encourage you seek out a CSA. Coming up with the money may be a challenge, but it’s well worth it if you can swing it.