Community Supported Agriculture
“YAY RAIN!! Keep it coming!!!!” wrote Courtney Tellefsen, on the Facebook page of our Community Supported Agriculture organization, or CSA. Courtney is the founder of The Produce Box, the CSA in the Raleigh, NC area. She tells us regularly what’s happening on the farms in North Carolina. Over the course of the growing season she has kept us informed that a rush job was needed to pick cherries, that she was able to get a shipment of fresh garlic and that the farmers need to know how much asparagus we are going to eat next year.
“YAY RAIN!! Keep it coming!!!!” got 39 likes and a couple of comments on Facebook. Facebook connects in a strange way our hyper active, socially networked world back to the farm. Back to a point where we city dwellers will realize how strongly we are still connected to nature and that we occasionally should push the “Like” button for mother nature. That rain will ensure that we’ll get our corn, our peaches and our squash on Wednesday with the next delivery. If it doesn’t rain, we will see how sorry our produce looks in our box. The supermarket will just raise prices and transport more tomatoes from 1500 miles away for this week.
A CSA buys food in your local area and distributes it to its members either by having pickup locations or by delivering it to their doorsteps. The food, and usually it is produce, is always fresh and always in season. You will not find asparagus in August or corn in May. It is yet another way to remind us of nature’s rhythm.
An important aspect of a CSA is the community it creates, even without Facebook. The farmers are always recognized by name in the newsletter. There are various events throughout the season. There’s always a way to meet-your-farmer. More than once a call for volunteers went out to get the harvest in, since things started to get overly ripe, or a big storm front was approaching. Often enough there are events for kids, planned together with a local museum.
For me, the CSA has changed the way I cook. It wasn’t me who picked the produce anymore, but I had to adapt to what was delivered. I was forced to research new dishes, even new vegetables and fruits. It was a helping hand in my battle to become a better cook. How else can you explain that I am now cooking so many dishes using sweet potatoes or the fact that I know how to make a winter squash soup.
“YAY RAIN!! Keep it coming!!!!”. Courtney actually used a lot more exclamation marks in her Facebook post. I know why.