Early summer means one thing—farm share time! There seem to be lots of people in my life every year who have never heard of it, despite my continued evangelizing.
Here’s how it works:
In early spring, you pick a farm and pay them some money that entitles you to a share of their crops that season. In our case, we picked World PEAS, which is a farming cooperative of many immigrant farmers, and we paid them about $450 for a small share (2-3 people’s worth).
- The best place to find a farm near you is Local Harvest’s website.
- When picking a farm, think about exactly what you want — just veggies? Fruits and veggies? Coffee? Eggs? Dairy? Meat?
- But for the truly lazy at heart, the most important factor is pick up location (and time). Read on…
Once the season starts (usually about mid-June), you will get a weekly delivery* of fresh produce. Delivery with an asterisk. Farmers don’t live in cities. Something about needing dirt and land and whatnot. So they trek the shares into the city. Yay farmers! However, to make things more efficient, they pick a centralized drop point (sometimes a couple) for people to come get their shares. Our CSA has pickup points all over Boston on different weeknights. We picked one that was close to our home and also went fairly late into the evening—because there is nothing worse than running home from work in a panicked frenzy to make sure you get to the pickup site before it closes. Trust me. It is not fun.
The good and the bad. CSAs bring lots of good: Farmers get needed influxes of cash before the season starts, you get lots of delish fresh things. It’s pretty much the freshest and local-est stuff possible.We get kale, chard, strawberries, spinach, arugula, snap peas, carrots, parsnips, radishes, potatoes, watermelon, corn, tomatoes, etc. SO MUCH TASTINESS!
But… you also assume some of the farmer’s risk. If Hurricane Voldemort comes and ravages your farm’s crops, then… you don’t get crops. It it doesn’t rain enough and all the tomatoes get sad and die, then… no tomatoes for you.
Reasons to love it. I love the farm share. I love that it challenges me to cook food in season. (Currently we are drowning in a sea of greens—the share this week had kale AND chard AND spinach AND arugula AND lettuce. Salad, anyone?) I love that I am more connected to where my food comes from and how it’s grown. I love that our weekly grocery shopping dwindles down to the basics (cereal, soy milk, bananas, and various proteins). I love snacking on whatever’s fresh as I walk home with that week’s share (even if that sometimes means I’m a terrible partner because OMG STRAWBERRIES I EAT YOU ALL! Uh-oh… ).