Almost anyone who talked to me over the summer heard about how much I love the vegetables I’ve been getting through what they call Community Supported Agriculture. You pay a farm at the beginning of the season, then when the plants start growing, each week they deliver what’s ready that week. I go to a drop-off location a few blocks from my home and pick up my share. Once a season I volunteer at the drop-off point, helping organize.
They organized a trip to the farm, about 120 miles north of New York City, and I jumped at the chance to go. Here are pictures.
I learned that the farm lies on a lake bed from eons ago, which they said made the land fertile. Also, the nearby creek often overflows and leaves silt that helps plants grow.
They don’t use pesticides. They just plant, weed, and harvest, which they say is a full-time job. They were one of the first farms to use a CSA model, which they did about twenty years ago, when the parents had regular jobs—one with the county, the other teaching. Then they only had a small garden. As they grew they rented and then bought nearby land. Now they serve 1,200 people from around 200 acres and will probably keep growing.
Now the couple’s son plays a major role. Each year they take notes on how each plant grew, when it was ready for harvesting, and so on to optimize planting for the following year. They plant everything they can that works in this climate and in this land. In another post I’ll show pictures of the plants I get each week.
Everyone who came gets food from the farm and we all enjoyed meeting each other. We brought dishes for a potluck lunch, which most people made from food from this farm. We all enjoyed seeing the land and plants our food came from and to meet the people that work the land. We shook their hands and talked to them. They were friendly and passionate about farming.
Growing up in Philadelphia with family in Pittsburgh, I’m used to thinking farms mean huge areas of just grains, not vegetables. This farm is all vegetables which you can eat right off the plant when ripe.
I’ve described this CSA as one of the two life-changing food experiments of this summer (not buying food where I had to throw away packaging being the other). I’m eating more food that tastes better, spending less money and getting more definition on my abs than ever.
I only wish I’d started with a CSA earlier.
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