Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Good Eatin'

We love to eat. I mean really love to eat. While I'm eating lunch I'm thinking about what I might make for dinner, or tomorrow's lunch, or tomorrow's dinner. You get the idea. So when we get our two weekly CSA subscriptions, I celebrate.

I celebrate the local harvest, the variety, the farmers that have used their skills to grow and harvest our delicious, organic food. And I celebrate getting the chance to be creative in the kitchen.

Homemade tomato-pesto pizza using produce from our CSA

For those who may not have heard of them, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. What this boils down to is that members pay a share to a local farm. This share is used to financially support the farm and the members receive produce in return. The first CSA we joined was in Austin-Johnson's Backyard Garden. We paid about $32 each week and received a sizeable box of local produce. For several months Mr. DLT would bike the 40 mile round trip to pick up our produce. We eventually opted for a more local pick-up location. Our first winter they supplemented what they could grow with tomatoes and citrus grown in southern Texas. We loved the food and the farm was generous enough to host my class on a field trip.

Once in Albuquerque we joined Los Poblanos Organics. They have a different CSA model. Basically members order from their online grocers. You can get a "harvest box" which is like a weekly share of fruits and veggies. You can also get individual items, like a jar of local salsa or a carton of soy. Given their current acreage they are unable to provide all of the vegetables and fruits locally, so they bring in produce and other items from out of state. They also deliver and leave the goods in a cooler, which is a nice touch. After my online order has been placed and delivered, the cost is withdrawn from my checking account. The produce has been good, but something kept niggling at me regarding the miles in refrigerated trucks some of my veggies endured. I think it's wonderful that so many people in Albuquerque are eating organic food because of LPO--that definitely makes a positive environmental impact when you think of the soil degradation and habitat loss due to factory farming. I just didn't like how far my food had to travel.

I was still looking for a 100% local CSA and that's when I read this article/review in the weekly Alibi about Beneficial Farms. To be a member of the BF CSA, you pay at least $150 up front as your share. You can then sign up to receive a weekly fruit/vegetable share and/or a weekly cheese share. All of the food comes within 300 miles of Santa Fe, which was just what I was searching for. They also have a "marketplace" where one can buy individual items like jam, or 50 pound bags of locally grown and milled flour. Nice. When you're share money starts to run down, they automatically withdraw another share from your bank account. The fruit and salad greens have been delicious! I have especially fond memories of the champagne grapes and the donut peaches. BF also has a lovely blog that fills us in on what our weekly share will be as well as helpful recipes. We also get updated on the latest in what's happening within the US food system. I appreciate how much we learn about where our food comes from and that the farmers associated with this CSA are activists as well.

At first I thought that having two shares to two different farms would be too much. So far, though, our food waste has been very minimal although I can say that some weeks the chickens eat really well. Between the flexibility of LPO, the smaller share of BF, and pick ups on Tuesday and Friday, we're eatin' well all week long. A few nights ago we had homemade pita with tabbouleh and last night a brown rice stir fry and edamame. Lately the only things we've been eating that don't come from the CSAs are grains and dried beans. We are lucky indeed.

Don't mind the hand. Sure that was from some house project. I'm all healed up now.

Soon we'll have our own garden and be able to harvest our own produce, but until then, thanks LPO and Beneficial Farms for keeping us full of tasty, organic goodness.

No comments: