Eat Local Now – Still Time for a CSA & See Our Box, Week 1

April 19, 2012 at 8:36 am

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That’s the first box of our early season CSA from Tomato Mountain Farm.* Very green. All green. The box contained green spinach, the green in the bottom right corner; green “Vitamin D” (yea, that’s what’s it’s called), the broader leaves in the back right; green Tokyo bekana, the green leaves in the back left, and green “red rain” (yea, that’s what it’s called), barely visible in the left front.  What you dom’t see, a jar of their delicious strawberry jam.  Jam?  Tomato Mountain does not usually supply any of their high quality jarred goods in their CSA boxes, but they felt guilty this week.  See, it was too hot.   Tomato Mountain’s early season crops come from their hoop-houses, and the global warming made it so hot that it screwed with crop schedules and cool weather lovin’ crops like turnips and lettuce are behind schedule.  The jam made a nice make-do, but there was still plenty to use.  All green.

Do you have a box of all green to use right now.  Now is the time to join me as a local family.  Should not you have your CSA box too.  The other day I showed you what your year as a local family would look like.  I mentioned that around January, you should be planning for your CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture, box for the year.  Maybe you waited until late February to find your box.  After all, our big list of CSAs did not come out until  February 27.  OK, you know what to do next year.  Still, you can find plenty of CSA options for 2012.  Look at our list.

You do not need a CSA to eat local this year, but having a CSA surely helps you eat local this year.  This Local Family gets a CSA box because one of the Local Family works for a CSA farmer.  Just because it’s a perk does not mean we don’t love it.  We love a having a CSA for several reasons.

  • We’re supplied with local food for the week
  • We’re supplied with a variety of local food for the week, allowing us to try different things and forcing us to eat seasonally (as if we needed the excuse!)
  • We are supplied with local foods when there are few farmer’s markets; for instance in early Spring, late Fall, even into Winter.
  • We’re connected to a farm, we get tips and advice each week from them in the form of a e-newsletter; we learn about farm life in our e-newsletter, like how it’s too warm right now for our crops and how they deal with it being too warm.
  • We get surplus food, especially at the peak of season, so we can put away for darker periods.

Hey, we love market shopping too (we’ll get to that in a post soon), and we understand that a CSA is not for everyone.  Having one, though, sure helps.  It sure helps this time of year when there are less markets.

So far, this week, we’ve tackled some of the bekana, some of the Vitamin D, and some of the Red Rain.

This was a little saute of rain and D, flavored at the table with Mike Bancroft’s Co-op’s sauces.  Tender spring greens like these need nothing more than a few minutes in a medium pan with olive oil, a smidgen of garlic and some salt.

Tokyo bekana is one of those things you learn to know by dint of being in a CSA.  Dare we say, you would only know Tokyo bekana if you were in a CSA.  Curious, I did a bit of google last night, and I think the answer is that bekana grows easily.  It’s very much a cold weather crop, yet also one that can live into hotter days (unlike most lettuces).  It’s a member of the cabbage family, but does look like lettuce.  And Chris Covelli of Tomato Mountain said, why not eat it like lettuce.   And we did.  Although I don’t expect you to have the cornbread croutons around the house like we did (or at least the cornbread around the house to make cornbread croutons).

Commit to being a local family now.  One way that may help you in your commitment is to sign up for a CSA.  You still have time to find one.  Hope seeing week 1 of ours helps.

*My wife works for Tomato Mountain.