Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Joining a CSA

Last September, near the beginning of this blog, I talked about my struggles with shopping for produce.  I haven't made much progress since then at seeking out more local foods.  But now that summer is here, and especially since I live in Lancaster (a city completely surrounded by farmland), I don't really have an excuse.

Over the winter, my sister suggested that I consider joining a CSA (which stands for Community Supported Agriculture).  Essentially, it means buying a share in a local farm, and then getting produce from them all throughout harvesting season.  It didn't take me long to figure out that this was the perfect solution for me.  It would teach me what's seasonal and growable in our area, and it would force me out of my comfort zone a bit with veggies, all while supporting a local farm.

I used the website Local Harvest to find the right farm for us.  My main criteria were: convenient pickup times and locations, big variety of veggies, and the ability to buy a half-share (since we're just getting started with this, and I didn't want to waste our money or their food).  Secondary criteria for my ideal farm were: certified organic, and a larger selection of herbs and fruits.

With input from Erica of course, I settled on Goodwill at Homefields.  I was astonished at how many I had to choose from, and all of them met many of my critical points.  In the end, I chose Goodwill because it had the biggest variety of fruits, and while not "certified organic," they do use strict organic practices.

So after much anticipation, our first pickup was late last week!  And for a first harvest, our half share was pretty decent:

We got red leaf lettuce, green leaf lettuce, arugula, chard, bok choy, radishes, garlic, kale, napa cabbage, and a bunch of herbs.  Erica had fun figuring out recipes for how we can use these things this week: I forget exactly what she has planned, but I remember hearing that homemade spring rolls are in my future....

The farm also has a "pick your own" section.  I think that's how a lot of the fruit will be, but this week, the "pick your own" du jour was snow peas, which is one of my favorites.  Erica snapped a picture of me taking the lead on the pea-picking:

I haven't done this since I was a little kid!

So far we're pretty happy with our CSA decision.  I'm a little afraid of things stacking up this week, as the only time we can get down to the farm is Thursday, and we're not going to be home again until Sunday.  It definitely is a challenge to work the things that you're given into what you're used to eating, but we are both putting real effort into it.  (The salad I made when I got home from the farm was incredible!)

Coming up soon I'll talk about the cost of this project:  I'm keeping a close eye on what we spend at the store now, to see if the CSA is saving us any money.


  1. I'm interested to hear how this works out for you. I've never heard of anything like it before. Where's this farm at?

    1. Maya, it's in Millersville. We found one in Wrightsville that looked really good too, but this one seems like a better fit for us.

  2. A friend of mine used to do this in New Jersey and loved it - hopefully it will be as positive for you! And thank you for the inspiration...I think I'll be looking them up on Texas.

    1. That website has CSAs across the country, so take a look! And PS, I hope you're liking Texas, but the Northeast misses you :-(