This fall I stumbled upon a new local farm called Care of the Earth Community Farm that was offering a fall season CSA farm share. I've always been interested in the CSA concept, but it always seemed like such a big commitment of time and money. But since this farm just got up and running this year, they decided to offer a partial season from September through November. So it was only a 12 week commitment, thus significantly cheaper than a full season. So I did it...and it was GREAT.
I went with the half share, which turned out to be just the right amount each week. A typical box from early September might have been 3 summer squahses, 2 green peppers, 4 jalepeno peppers, 2 large tomatoes, one small head of lettuce, one bunch of swiss chard, one bunch of herbs, a few small potatoes, a bag of green beans, and maybe some other little things too.
By the late fall there was a lot of butternut squash, carrots, beets, brussels sprouts, cabbage, and dark greens (so much damn kale!) I found myself cooking a lot of different things that I would never buy at the store, because I had to use it all up. I learned that roasted beets are amazing, and that I don't much care for turnips or radishes (especially that evil daikon radish).
They had a little open house one Saturday afternoon at the farm. It's just outside Knoxville to the east side of town. They have about 30 acres total. For this first short season, one young woman did ALL of the work herself. Everything. She fed 50 people for three months. I think that's an admirable job.
The last CSA pickup was the Sunday before Thanksgiving. And now, two weeks later, I'm really missing it. The freshness of this produce was like nothing else I've ever had. I guess I got used to it, because after a weeks worth of Kroger produce again, it's just not the same. I was wavering on whether or not to make the investment for their full season next year, but the last week or so has completely made the decision for me. I can't wait until it starts again in April.