Thursday, March 23, 2006

My First CSA share

Until last summer, most of the food blogs intimidated me. They had stunning photography that looked like something out of Gourmet and clever stories that their authors churned out 4-5 times a week. How on earth did they manage to do that while having a full-time job simply amazed me.

I was happy writing about food on my little website and never considered starting a food blog until one day I found the Seasonal Cook. To tell you the truth, I don't remember how I stumbled on her blog, but I instantly fell in love with her adventures in the kitchen. She was describing her experience with buying a share in a farm and relying on it for her vegetables during the summer and fall. I heard about the idea of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) before, but Seasonal Cook's vivid prose made reading about it simply addictive. Each week I wondered what she'll get in her share. And once she annouced the ingredients of the week, my mind set to work coming up with yummy possibilities. It was like a veggie TV serial.

It didn't take me long to realize that we lived 10 minutes away from each other, and by the end of the summer we met in person. It felt so great to talk about food, farms, cookbooks, and restaurants without people looking at you funny (most of my friend think my obsession with food is a bit excessive). Shortly after that meeting I decided to start a blog and sign up for a CSA share.

Although the CSA season doesn't start for another couple of months, now is the time to sign up for it. The share I bought is from Brookfield Farm in Amherst, MA. The reason I chose this farm is that they deliver to several Boston area locations, which makes it very convenient for me. Thursday night, I'll have to stop by someone's house in Cambridge to get my box of freshly picked veggies. Then I'll have all of Friday to decide what to cook, and the whole weekend to implement my ideas. I've been waiting for the season to start the way kids wait for Christmas.

If this sounds like fun, check out the Brookfield Farm or other CSA farms, but do so soon as most of them have very few shares left. For a list of New England CSA farms, see the Seasonal Cook's blog.

Of course cleaning and chopping 12 Lb of veggies each week can be a bit overwhelming, and many of my students who bought a farm share before told me that they had a hard time keeping up with all the chopping. This gave me an idea to offer a knife skills class for beginners in Helen's Kitchen. What better way to start the farm share season than sharpening your knife and learning to slice, dice, and mince!


Unknown said...

So I'm naive but I've never heard of CSAs. Maybe they're not out my way yet but they sound like a good idea. I'm going to add your blog to my 'foodie' links. Keep me informed about what you creat from your CSA ingredients.
Best of luck.

Pyewacket said...

Helen, you made my day! Thank you so much for your kind post. I'm glad you've signed up for a CSA; it really is a lot of fun, a veggie grab-bag.

And in response to your comment, my friend is actually doing a bit better, yes. The doctors hope she'll be out of the ICU by next week. But she's got a long haul before her. They don't think she'll be home for a few months.

And the school thing? Master's of Library Science. But I'm still in a test-and-see mode - I get good tuition benefits, so I can afford to try it out. It seems really abstracted, though, from the things I'm interested in. More and more, I'm feeling the need to connect my interest in food and sustainable agriculture to my actual employment, but I'm not sure how. But maybe libraries will be the thing, I just don't know.

Thanks again, and good luck with the CSA.

Anonymous said...


This is fantastic! First of all I'm so glad that you bought that CSA and started your blog ... I love reading about your work and the food you prepare.

And now I can't read about all the glorious foods that will be coming your way!

Genevieve said...

oh what a nice story about how you got started blogging. i felt the same way - highly intimidated at first. but now i like the down to earth food blogs anyway!

i have always entertained the idea of doing csa, but it would be an immense amount of veggies to eat on my own for a full week. i wonder if they let people split shares?

Helen said...

Hi Genevieve,

Yes, some farms let you buy half a share. You can also split a share with a friend :)