"Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals, and happiness." - Letter from Thomas Jefferson to George Washington (1787)
So last year we joined a farm. Yes, it was LAST year. Old news. I know. But now that "The Lost Year" is over (that's what we're calling 2011 around here) I want to talk about some things we actually did, to remind myself that my lost year wasn't entirely worthless. I promise to throw in some current events too, maybe tomorrow.
Calling this post Life on the Farm is a bit of a stretch, since we didn't actually LIVE on the farm. Some weeks it felt like we did, some weeks I wished that we did, but no, we lived right here in our suburban box of a house instead. And joined a CSA.
What is a CSA farm? CSA stands for "community supported agriculture." These farms are a way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. Here are the basics: a farmer offers a certain number of "shares" to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included.
The farm we joined uses organic farming practices and offered so many great veggies - a LOT more than a box full most weeks - AND they had "pick your own" crops that included strawberries, green beans, herbs and flowers! It cost us a little over $20 a week and in return we got POUNDS of produce, a day trip to visit the pigs, chickens and butterflies, and gorgeous photo opportunities. Cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, potatoes, kale, collard greens, peppers, delicata squash, cilantro, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, beets, blackberries .... and more! Different every week, lots of variety and so yummy! And flowers! Fresh flowers for the table every week. Pictures of bees and butterflies. Not to mention the opportunity to check out all the bugs and frogs we could find.
Since we are continually trying to live a healthier lifestyle, this was a fairly inexpensive way to try new things and eat more organic produce. New favorite for me? Kale. My girl surprised me with her love of butternut squash. And the boys ... well, I don't know if they love any of the new veggies, but they are eating them so I can't ask for more.
If you'd like to find a CSA in your area, check out Local Harvest. Now is a good time to join since most farms fill up quickly and many have waiting lists. We had to wait a year to get in at "our" farm, but it was worth it!