CSA Time - FamilyEducation

CSA Time

June 06,2011
Sweet Pea Chef
Jessica Efird

Jessica, aka the Sweet Pea Chef, is a former U.S. Senate staffer/weekend gourmet turned full-time mom/family gourmet. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband and two sons.

We’ve had a very, very rainy spring in Ohio and the middle part of the country.  And despite a recent mini-dry spell, our overall rainfall for the year is way above average.  Flooding hit many parts of the state in April and May and as such, our small, backyard garden has been delayed, as the earth has been simply too wet to do any planting.  This delay is a very minor disappointment for our family, but in other parts of the country, the wet weather is a huge problem.

This is our third year as members of a local Community Supported Agriculture Cooperative (CSA).  If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of a CSA, they differ from community to community and from farm to farm, but usually, you buy a “share” of a farm’s harvest each year, then pick up or have delivered the produce each week throughout the growing season.

Our CSA farmers send weekly emails throughout the growing season and so far our emails have read “due to the large amount of rain…” or “our plantings are delayed…” all due to the rain.  Yes, farmers are being affected by the rain and because of our association with a local farm, I am more aware than ever of the perils of farming.  Our farmers work *hard* to provide us with healthful foods.

So support a local farmer’s market this year, stop at a roadside stand (quick tangent:  make sure that the local stand you stop by is selling actual local produce.  Due to the rapidly growing interest in “local foods,” some unscrupulous entrepreneurs are buying food at grocery stores and selling it out of the back of their truck as if they were farmers, at highly inflated prices.  Two weekends ago we traveled to Virginia by car and we passed a number of these stands, selling produce that couldn’t possibly have been locally harvested, and in fact, a family member of mine stopped at such a stand only to realize the food had been purchased on sale at Food Lion, as it had a sticker on it!) or make a day of it and visit a real farm with your kids.  Support your local farms and the food they work so hard to harvest.

If you need a quick read that will make you appreciate how difficult even small-scale farming can be, I highly suggest the funny, self-deprecating account of “The $64 Tomato.”  Whatever you do, next time you bite into a piece of fruit or enjoy a fresh salad, take a moment to thank this country’s local farmers!

SPC