Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Year of Eating Locally

Close to a year ago, in commemoration of Earth Day, we posted something about doing more to eat locally, seasonally and sustainably. This year, we've finally taken a decisive step in that direction. Together with our friends, Tanya and Wil, we joined a local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farmshare. A CSA is a way for the food-buying public to create a relationship with a farm (for us, it's Tantré Farm in Chelsea, MI) and to receive a weekly basket of produce. By making a financial commitment to a farm, people become members (or "shareholders," or "subscribers") of the CSA. The cost was a little high upfront, but between our two households and at the prospect of getting fresh, locally-grown organic vegetables, fruits, and herbs for much of the rest of the year, it actually works itself out in the long run.

I'm excited to receive our first batch of produce come May/June- I think veggies like arugula, peas, and chard come first. It'll be inspiring to cook based on what's at its peak of flavor, freshness, and seasonality. Alice Waters said it best when she writes that cooking seasonally also gives you an appropriate reverence for place and time, for what Nature had intended for us to eat at a certain point of the year. While I appreciate being able to get tomatoes even in the winter, nothing tastes better than the burstful sweetness of heirloom tomatoes smack in the middle of July.

Also, I'm really looking forward to trying vegetables that we may not otherwise buy on our own from the market. I have no idea what to do with beets or kohlrabi, but we'll soon have to learn if we're going to be getting a basketful of them every week. It'll be an adventure to explore new flavors and ways of cooking, or maybe even eating them raw because they will be so fresh and flavorful. Our friends who've joined CSAs in the past warn that it's a lot of veggies for a week even after you share it between two families (for instance, with Tantré Farm, each week we'll expect to get 1 to 4 salad greens (lettuce, arugula, etc.), 1 to 4 cooking greens (collards, Swiss chard, spinach, etc.), 1 to 4 root vegetables (carrots, potatoes, etc.), 1 to 4 fruiting vegetables (tomatoes, corn, squash, etc.), 1 or 2 alliums (onions, garlic, etc.), 1 to 3 brassicas (broccoli/cabbage family), and 1 or 2 herbs), but maybe this will be a way for us to simply incorporate more vegetables into our diet, and learn how to dry, cook, or preserve them in ways that will allow them to keep longer. The possibilities are endless and we can't wait! :)

1 comment:

A said...

Sounds like heaven!