To kick off CSA season (my first pickup is tonight!), I'll be regularly blogging here about participating in a farm share for the first time. I am thrilled. Not just because the spring produce has been arriving slowwwly in New York (asparagus, strawberries, rhubarbs, and radishes only hit the farmers' market a few weeks ago), but because I'm joining a community of like-minded food lovers who want to feel great about the food we're eating all summer and fall. I love thinking that I'll be eating the same fruits and vegetables as 150 other residents of Manhattan's East Village. It's pretty neat if you ask me.
My interest in joining a CSA piqued while I was working on our food story in the June issue on Golden Earthworm Organic Farm in Jamesport, Long Island. The owners, Maggie and Matt, grow some of the most beautiful produce around.
One of the keys to have a positive CSA experience is to make sure you use up all of the produce you receive. Most farms offer both full (good for a family of four) and half shares. I won't be entirely abandoning New York restaurants for the next 26 weeks, so I chose to split my weekly box of goods with two other girlfriends. Each week, we're picking up 8 pounds of vegetables and 5 pounds of fruit from the women-owned Hepworth Farms. The New York farm is also certified organic---a huge bonus!---and they specialize in perhaps the tastiest summer ingredient: heirloom tomatoes! I can't wait to use them for batches of fresh sauce for pizza, ketchup, and more.
I'll document the recipes I make, the challenges I face (but hopefully those are limited!), and any helpful tips I learn every week. The one rule for the pickups? The CSA etiquette that I've heard thus far is to bring ample reusable bags to tote all the produce home.
If you're interested in learning more about the CSAs in your area, head to localharvest.org.
Do you have any other tokens of advice for joining a CSA? Are you involved in a CSA?