Farms & Gardens

What to Do With Your CSA Bounty

My friend Doug sent me a great article from Slate the other day, written by Catherine Price.

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Now We're Farmers!

We'll, not really. But we do have a garden started in our yard, thanks to A Backyard Farm, which I wrote about in an earlier Simple, Good, and Tasty post. A Backyard Farm, in its first season, is the brainchild of Joan and Coleen, two terrific women whose quest to grow local, sustainable foods in Minneapolis and St. Paul now now extends to other people's home gardens. We had Joan and Coleen out to our house a couple of weeks ago, and we discussed an approach that would work for us.

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The First Garden

Just after the ground was broken on the White House's new, organic garden, the Washington Post quoted obama-gardenMichelle Obama as follows:

Read more » Bringing CSAs to Your Doorstep

food4thoughtlogoTony Pavelko, who recently started the Twin Cities company Food4Thought with Gina DiMaggio, recently sent me an email describing the service:

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Backyard Farming: More Local Than a CSA

A Backyard Farm is a local Twin Cities business whose goal is to help people in Minneapolis and St. Paul grow farms in their yards. The website offers a host of services, ranging from consulting homeowners on what to plant (and where to plant it, how to care for it, etc.) to the most full service option, which includes not only planting and growing organic vegetables, but even picking them and delivering them from your backyard farm to your front door.

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Choosing a CSA

CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) provide opportunities for people to eat locally, the get the kinds of foods you would normally find at local farmers markets, and to take part in the agricultural process. Most CSAs require some sort of ongoing commitment, such as a monthly fee in exchange for a weekly box of locally grown vegetables. Depending on where you live, the weekly box may include a wide assortment of mostly-root vegetables (kale, cabbage, squash, turnips in Minnesota, for example) or of anything else grown on a particular farm, in a particular climate. Many CSAs encourage their members to work at the farm for a day or more, to better understand the farming process and to get closer to local, sustainable food. Some require it. When I tell friends that I recently joined the Harmony Valley Farm CSA, they often start asking questions. Why did I join it? Am I concerned about the cost?

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What Will I Get From My Minnesota/Wisconsin CSA?

hv-header1 My friend Jim suggested this post, and I'm glad he did. He's apprehensive about joining a CSA; he seems especially concerned that he'll end up with 200 boxes of radishes. Here's a month-by-month listing (from the Harmony Valley Farm website) that lists the vegetables (and occasional fruits) that will be coming from the Harmony Valley Farm CSA, located in Wisconsin.

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Joined a CSA!

After finishing Michael Pollan's amazing new(est) book, In Defense of Food (which will be reviewed in a later post), my wife Laura and I decided that Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA, was right for us. Our neighbors, who read Barbara Kingsover's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food (also to be reviewed later) instead, were way ahead of us. We'd been enjoying locally grown foods (kale, turnips, cheeses - we live in Minneapolis!) at their home for months, so we knew they would have already researched the options. After some consideration, we joined Harmony Valley Farm, a CSA based closer to Madison, WI, but doing a good deal of business in the Twin Cities.

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