Wednesday, November 24, 2010
While it was a great beach and tourism season here at the Jersey Shore, it was one of the toughest growing seasons in many, many years due to the lack of rain and excessive heat over the summer. The fall brought extremes in temperature between warm and cold. All of these conditions affected the crops and we actually missed two weeks of the CSA (24 weeks instead of 26). Some of the crops were not able to withstand the adverse weather conditions.
I would say that a CSA definitely is not for everyone. You have to know going in that farming is extremely weather dependent. We had our Tuesday night delivery rescheduled for Thursday night a couple of times. It was hard to use all of the fresh vegetables between Friday and the next Tuesday's delivery. Also, you may receive quite a lot of a vegetable that you don't necessarily love or know how to prepare. Think lots of radishes! Well, I made radishes every which way and learned to really like them! Radish greens are fantastic by the way! You also have to know that you can't rely on the box for all of your vegetable needs. You have to supplement from other sources. I wish that salad greens were available for more weeks and I also wished for more fresh herbs. Those were the items that I purchased regularly during the season.
Sometimes I felt that communication from the farm was kind of lacking but their business is farming not PR. There were a couple of instances of computer problems which delayed the receipt of the emailed weekly newsletter. Also since I never have actually seen the farm, I feel like I am missing a connection to it. I think that it would be nice to have a day to visit but again they are farmers not tour guides...
The passion for farming was evident in the quality and freshness of the vegetables. I enjoyed the challenge of finding ways to use certain vegetables. I also tried mizuna and kohlrabi for the first time this year. My particular CSA delivers and they somehow are able to stealth in without making a sound - they must double as Santa's elves! Overall I feel that my investment paid off. When you think of all the ways that you can spend (blow) $28 dollars in a week (which would be even less in a better growing season), isn't a box of fresh organic vegetables for your family a good purchase? Can't a family easily spend that at a fast food restaurant, on a takeout meal, or on a few cocktails? You have to be patient, flexible and creative and you will really enjoy a CSA share. Would I participate in a CSA again? Absolutely!
Shares are limited so now is a good time to contact a CSA in your area if you are interested in joining for next season.
What was in the boxes?