Sep 20, 2009

Thoughts on Community Sponsored Agriculture

Squash Load
Originally uploaded by Snak Shak
We signed up with a CSA this spring for the first time ever. I was a little nervous about it (would we be able to keep up with the produce?) but for some reason I was stoked to do this.

We were blessed to have friends that were willing to split a share with us, so I pulled down the CSA guide from the interwebs, back in March, did some research, and landed on Big Woods Farms.

Why? Because they don't deliver the to the Seward Co-op. Pretty much every damn farm I looked at delivered to the Seward co-op, which I don't care for and is not on my route(s). I decided to start an insurgent insurgency and split from the program altogether and go with an outsider.

Big Woods drops off at a house near that coffee shop on 50th street and 28th Ave. in So. MPLS (Nokomis Beach?) and has been in business for over 15 years, so they seemed like a good bet. I called them up to sound them out and they were great on the phone; friendly, helpful and not full of themselves. I signed up that night.

The produce has been great; we have gotten a bushel basket of veggies every week since June, it seems. This weekend was the "Fall Harvest Fest" at Big Woods. We headed down to Nerstrand to help out with the squash harvest, scored some of the best pumpkins we have ever had (absolutely no kidding) and took a bunch of extra squash home for ourselves and our share-mates. Well worth the time for the harvest and well worth the money for the share.

Much of the credit for the success of this goes to my lovely wife, who took the lead role in recipes and cooking for the produce. There's no way I could have kept up with this and eaten it up on my own.

This is well worth doing if you like vegetables. If you want to eat better, or want to improve your diet, this will be a challenge for you; the produce comes every week, and it doesn't keep all that long (although CSA stuff keeps longer than grocery store produce). If you are committed, this would be a great way to improve your diet and keep your food-dollars in the community. If you don' like to "eat healthy", this would overwhelm you in the first month - don't try it.

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