It was 20 weeks of community supported agriculture. One hundred and forty days of menu planning challenges based upon whatever was in the box. Nearly five months of getting to know the people that grow the vegetables and fruit that we ate. That’s a level of intimacy with food that I’ve never before experienced.
I have to admit, I miss it already. Even if the last week proved a bit more challenging than most, what with a single turnip, a single smallish squash and a bunch of kale being what remained after we gorged on the beautiful heirloom tomatoes (in October!). It feels odd realizing that I have to actually buy my produce at the store now; almost formal in comparison to the box that would be handed to me to unload into my assortment of bags while I chatted with my newfound friends at Sacred Path Farms.
So, while I can now easily buy whatever produce I want (asparagus in December!), I doubt I will. And I know I’ll be buying much more organic from the nearby health food store. Seasonal eating felt good, even if that meant waiting for tomatoes after a cold spring. In this era of instant gratification thanks to the global economy, respecting the seasonal aspect of produce is almost a quaint notion. Quaint or not, waiting meant I appreciated them all the more.
The CSA also forced me to become much more resourceful, trying to come up with creative ways to use everything each week. I’ve socked away pesto in the freezer and dried summer tomatoes, knowing that those bright flavors will cheer up the spaghetti squash and other winter vegetables in the coming months. I’ve also learned that I like radish greens much more than the actual radish, and that pretty much anything goes well sautéed with a bit of garlic and tossed with pasta.
And that I’ll be signing up for the CSA next year too.