We are swinging into our spring season here on the farm and the crops are coming in. We held our Spring CSA gathering for our shareholders here on the farm this last weekend and their first pickup of the season went home with them. Mark and I really enjoyed meeting the new shareholders and sharing a laugh and hugs from our returning shareholders that came to the gathering. The spring season is always so exciting for me…my favorite season of the year to start with and secondly the wonderful feeling of watching these crops you have spent months growing getting harvested and appreciated. We sat the market pavilion up so that the CSA shareholders could fill their own baskets via a display of what was ripe and ready for this weeks pickup along with signage to let them know what type and variety of produce it was as well as how to clean it and store it.
I wanted the shareholder to see all the items that were going into their basket this week but more then that I wanted them to slow down and read the signage while they themselves packed up their own baskets. The CSA is about slow food and getting away from the super market mentality of mindless shopping. One of the draw backs of having the CSA shareholders pack their own baskets is that they tend to pick and chose what they want in their baskets and not take the lot of items available to them. And again that is not really what a CSA is about. The program is about taking risks not only with weather and crops but with food you normally wouldn’t try. I call this a slow food adventure. Sometimes you will find something you really enjoy but wouldn’t have picked up that vegetable on your own.
With special diets and such there are some things that some of the shareholders can’t use with their pickup. Eggs or added value products being some of those items some people can’t use. If that is the case if we have enough production of crops that week we can replace those items for more of what they can eat. If we are having a tough week fill all the baskets for the shareholder as it is then we asked that they try and trade with other shareholder or go and make friends with their neighbors taking a little hello gift with them.
The gathering for our shareholder is about meeting and getting to know our shareholders as well as getting them all together to talk about some of the ends & outs of the program itself. It is rare to have most of our shareholders in one place at one time so with that I wanted to talk about to them about some items that will help to make their experience being involved in the CSA better. One of the tools I talked a lot about was the Salad spinner..
This is the single most important tool for any CSA shareholder to have in their kitchen. They will be getting a lot of greens this spring and again this fall. Without one of these to help clean and dry all these greens they will start to dread their basket and all the washing that is to come. This little spinner make it easy and get the task done fast and efficient.
Next We gave the shareholder 2 green bags each with their pickup. Last season I stressed how these bags add days to storing your vegetables. Some got them…but some didn’t. After 8 years of using these bags I will tell you whole- heartedly they work. So instead of talking I thought we would show them how wonderful they work. They are reusable and these bag are corn starch based so also once they do wear out…mine are several years old…they will biodegrade.
We served lunch during the gathering. Homemade Chicken salad sandwiches with spinach pasta on the side. Served with strawberry/mint lemonade. After lunch we all headed into the market pavilion to begin packing up the baskets. This weeks pickup included
Asparagus Romaine Lettuce Free Range Farm Eggs
Broccoli Arugula Cilantro
Lettuce mix Kale Radishes & Spring Onions
And a container of Kim chi which is like a Korean sauerkraut. A little spicy with ginger and red pepper flakes, cabbage, kale, carrots and onions all fermented in a crock. Our friend Ben brought a batch he made to the farm last summer and I had to try to make my own this year. I loved it…Mark said I couldn’t make anymore in our kitchen…it does smell like sauerkraut in there for days and days….
As the spring season moves along and the crops continue to come in the basket with overflow and then there will be a low for in production while the warm season crops start to ripen. The shareholder will begin to see flowers for the cutting in the next couple of pickups along with strawberries as well. So here we are…heading into our spring season and with a full CSA and a great looking field just waiting to go home with them..yep…I am a lover of spring time:)
Photos from Gathering