Monday, October 5, 2009

First year in CSA (St. Louis Tuv Ha'aretz)

Year One as a CSA Family
by Gail Wechsler
Now that my family has participated for over four months in a CSA, I decided it was time to take stock of what we have learned from the experience. Never having done this before, we expected that there would be some challenges but also rewards in being part of such a community effort.
One thing my family has enjoyed about our Tuv Ha’Aretz membership
is that we have tried some foods that never would have been on our radar screen before. High on my personal list is collard greens. I went from not even recognizing what collard greens looked like to missing them when they went out of season. They were delicious steamed with garlic and butter.
Another benefit was that we really appreciated how fresh and delicious
the produce was compared to typical produce purchased from a grocery store. After we polished off the fresh strawberries delivered early in the season, my daughter remarked that there was no way she could go back to eating the traditional store-bought variety we used to get before joining the CSA. I felt the same way about the amazing asparagus that came to us in May.
Of course there were challenges as well. It was frustrating when the size of our week’s delivery was small due to bad weather. I also found it a challenge to come up with different ways to cook zucchini -- we’ve had a lot of zucchini bread and zucchini parmesan the past month or so.
Perhaps the most rewarding thing that has come from our involvement in a CSA is that we have learned about the importance of eating locally and seasonally from a health and environmental point of view. It feels good to be supporting a local farmer rather than leaving a large carbon footprint by purchasing foods shipped thousands of miles to get here. I’ve even resolved to visit the few farmers’ markets that operate from November through April to pick up the slack once Tuv Ha’Aretz ends for the season.
To sum up, being part of St. Louis’s first ever Jewish community CSA in its first year has been extremely worthwhile. We’re looking forward to year two being even better.

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