This week kicks off the 2014 Community Supported Agriculture season at Piney Mountain Orchard! We have a great blend of old and new members, many of whom came out to the farm over Memorial Day weekend to meet the farm, the farmers, and of course the animals. It was a great, well attended event, and I was really touched to be able to see in one place the wide group of people who care about the farm and are invested in its future. Thanks so much for being a part of this great adventure — I’m happy June has come and we get to kick off the CSA season right!
Ten Tips for being a great member at Piney Mountain Orchard:
1. Know the time and location of your pick up, and make picking up your share just another part of your routine each week.
2. If you can’t pick up your share, let us know ahead of time. Or make arrangements so a friend can pick it up for you. Letting me know at the beginning of the week helps to reduce waste and saves time during harvest, and letting me know at the beginning of the month gets you a voucher for the farmer’s market for the value of your missed share!
3. Don’t expect all your produce to come from the CSA. I grow on about two acres and so grow smaller amounts of many vegetables rather than large amounts of just one or two. Especially with the Harvest Share I try not to fill your fridge or overwhelm your cooking skills – I hope you will have room in your fridge and your budget to pick up your favorite fruits and staples from the market or store each week. My goal is to be your gateway into eating locally and seasonally, not your one stop shop!
4. Explore the farm. Come visit us and see where your veggies come from, and get to know your farmer. Ask questions, pet the goats, and learn what your favorite veggies look like before they are harvested. Better yet, volunteer for a few hours and leave with some surplus veggies!
5. Read the newsletter — before you go grocery shopping! Get that goat cheese that will pair great with arugula because you know arugula will be in the share! I try to explain each vegetable, its common uses, and storage tips in each newsletter. If you have a recipe suggestion, post them to our Facebook page to share with other members.
6. Ask questions If you are unsure about an item in your share, please ask – I have droves of recipes and love talking about vegetables. I also like to talk about how things are grown, when, and where.
7. Give feedback. I am interested in knowing about any problems you are having with your share, from holes in your bok choy to squished tomatoes at the end of the day. I can explain why some things don’t look like their grocery store version you may be more familiar with. You are helping me to become a better farmer if you let me know any issues of quality in the share, and of course positive feedback makes my day!
8. Vegetables are field washed. This means I bring them in from the fields and soak and wash them in cold cold water. I recommend washing them again before use, because although I do not use harmful chemicals, there is a good chance there will be a little dirt left over and even a bug or two from time to time.
9. Get the most use out of your share — If this is your first time as a CSA member, it may take a little time to adjust to fresh produce and all its uses. Try new things! Take a few moments when you get your share home to look at the vegetables, wash them, prepare them for cooking, and start brainstorming recipes or reference cookbooks.
10. Books I recommend – Here are some cookbooks that I can’t get enough of, which feature simple recipes and seasonal cooking:
- Simply in Season – Mary Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert
- Moosewood Cookbook – Mollie Katzen
- Farmer John’s Cookbook: The Real Dirt on Vegetables – John Peterson
- From Asparagus to Zucchini: A Guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce – Madison Area Community Supported Agriculture Coalition
- The Davis Farmer’s Market Cookbook – Georgeanne Brennan