It is summertime which means it's time for me to repost about my love for The Good Farm. My CSA reminds me of Elizabeth Barrett Browning. "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways" immediately comes to my mind. Now for all you English majors out there, I know she wasn't referring to vegetables. It's just when I think about The Good Farm, I feel happy.
Before I tell you why The Good Farm makes me
joyful, let me first explain what a CSA is. CSA stands for Community Sponsored Agriculture. The subscribers or members pay the farmer a fee per year (or season) and that entitles the members to a set of weekly vegetables. It differs from a farmer's market in that you are paying up front for a season's worth of food and the farmer will determine weekly what you're getting based upon their harvest.
My CSA is The Good Farm located in Germansville, PA. My farmers are John and Aimee Good. In their words they told me they "love CSA because of the direct connection to the consumer or "eater". It is very rewarding to us to be able to connect with the people who are eating and enjoying the "fruits of our labor", literally. We get a lot of support from our members, through positive feedback and appreciation of the produce and the hard work, especially when conditions are difficult. Because of the connection to the farm, people are very understanding when disaster strikes, such as when the tomatoes all died due to late blight a few years ago. Also, it helps greatly to focus on marketing and selling CSA shares in the wintertime, and to be able to focus completely on growing the best quality produce in the busy spring, summer, and fall months. We enjoy educating our members about farming through the weekly newsletter, and helping people learn seasonal eating, food preservation techniques, and more."
This is my 12th summer with them. Out of the twelve years, there were only two harvests where the quantity was decreased due to bad weather and blight. Although it is somewhat frustrating getting less than what you were hoping for, it is outweighed by the fact that you know the farmer is earning a fair income and will be able to be back the following season. If truth be told, the bad seasons have been far outweighed by some very overabundant seasons.
So how do I love thee, Quiet Creek Farm, let me count the ways:
*I now know what fresh vegetables taste like. The vegetables are harvested within hours of picking them up. They stay fresh in my refrigerator for up to two weeks.
*I know my farmers and the pride they take in their crops. It sounds silly but I feel connected to my food because I know the people who grow it.
*My vegetables are beautiful. The colors are vibrant. My weekly basket looks like a still life. It is filled with many different shades of green, red, orange, purple, pink, and gold. The tomatoes are perfection.
*I now eat seasonally. I actually get a little depressed when I see the salad greens return in late summer because I now know that means summer is winding down.
*I get to visit the farm itself once a week. I spend about an hour picking up my vegetables and going into the fields. My CSA allows its members to pick a certain amount of vegetables, herbs, and flowers in the fields each week. There is nothing more restorative than spending time among sunflowers.
* I now eat a variety of vegetables. I love the fact that I know what kohlrabi and celeriac are and I know how to cook them. You get the vegetables that the farmers grow.
* I love the fact that I get to eat something called dragon tongue beans. My son was once corrected by a teacher that he needs to call vegetables by their proper names and not dragon tongue beans. The next day he brought in a whole bag of dragon tongue beans that he picked for his class to share. Twelve summers later the farmer still gives me an update on when the dragon tongue beans will be ready.
*When the harvests are abundant we all get to share in the bounty. A couple of years ago, there was an incredible potato year. I had potatoes stored in my house through the beginning of May. I love the fact that I know the conditions were great for growing potatoes.
*I learned how to enjoy different parts of the plant. Turnip and beet greens are delicious. Garlic scapes are wonderful. I wouldn’t know this was the case without the knowledge of my farmers.
*I have learned to be an inventive cook. I cook what I have on hand. I have become a pro at taking whatever vegetables I am given and cooking up a week worth of meals.
*I am going to enjoy these weeks of summer which to me means tomatoes, cucumbers, corn, and muskmelons. I know that when the weather becomes colder, I will turn back to my salad greens and root vegetables. By the beginning of November, I will miss my CSA and start counting down the weeks until June. Thank you The Good Farm for truly teaching me what seasonal eating is all about.
As always if things are not going as you plan with your health and you need some help managing it, please don't hesitate to reach out to me... your health advocate.
Tags: seasonal eating, vegetables, csa, healthy, fresh