The Produce IS Greener on the Other Side of the Fence

I was on the fence for a good long time about joining a CSA, which stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Part of it maybe was habit (why change my routine of going to the farmers’ market or just the grocery store?) and part of it was fear, which sounds ridiculous but it’s true. Would we like what was given in our mystery boxes each week? Would we be able to eat all these veggies? Would we be happy with the quality of the items? Well, like anything else in life, you just have to jump in and give it a go. And we are so happy that we did. Even hubby, who generally is not floored by vegetables, gave it the thumbs-up review at the end of last season.

I’ve mentioned CSAs quite a bit in my posts and that’s probably because I’m seeing more and more just how important they are and also how worthwhile they are. With all the information about GMOs and the food giants like Monsanto finally hitting the fan and finally getting into the mainstream consciousness, supporting local farms and farmers is increasingly important. It’s not going to make Monsanto go away or even begin to chip away at the monstrous agribusiness infrastructure that exists in our country, but it sends good messages to our local communities about what we value and who we value.

Local. There’s that word again. Our modern world is far from local anymore. We can fly clear across the country in five and a half hours, we can order items from any state and any country and have them delivered to our doorstep in the blink of an eye. A friend of mine noted that he doesn’t really bring back many souvenirs from trips anymore because it’s almost easier to order them online when we gets home and he doesn’t have to lug them in suitcases or pay the extra airline fees incurred with heavy baggage. We are not local anymore.

Gone are the days of entire families living on a city block, watching each other’s children, doing everything together and knowing everything about everyone. They walked to the market, they bought was available and grown nearby. Most often, they grew much of their food. There was no ordering, no shipping.

Somewhere along the line, things have run amok. The word BIG came into the picture, the word FAST was added to that and the rest is history. The initial upsides of growth and expansion have now run so far afield (pun intended) that we are fast approaching, if we aren’t already there yet, a zone from which we cannot recover.

But hopefully like most herculean efforts, little steps eventually add up and you end up in a different spot from where you started. European countries are looking twice and banning Monsanto, GMO labeling bills are being passed here in the US, consumers are becoming more aware and demanding more. Change is possible…not at all easy and sometimes not even successful, but some good generally comes from a shift.

Check out your area CSAs. There might be time to still sign up but if not, gather your info now, mark your calendar and make it a priority for next season (sign ups are usually in February or March). Here is my first haul of the season and this is only a half-share, which has proven to be plenty for my family of four on a weekly basis. My cost: $12.50 per week of organic, local vegetables and goodies. The peonies alone would have cost at least $10 a bunch at a store or market.

I’ll have a recipe tomorrow for you that used something in my mystery basket…


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