July 10, 2004
I just finished cleaning the 12-gallon bag of organic produce we get each week during the summer from the Root Connection, a community supported agriculture (CSA) farm in nearby Woodinville, WA.
Basically, you buy a share of the farm's output and pick it up each week. It's theoretically possible to get nothing, but in practice, we get a huge bag a week. This week we got six heads of lettuce (a.k.a. a shitload of lettuce), a mess of zucchini and yellow squash, two bunches of carrots, and two bunches of red onions. It's too much for us really, but I support what the farm does and want to help. Realistically, a half share would probably be plenty for us most weeks (except when carrots are in season...)
If you've never tasted really fresh produce, you're missing out on one of life's great treats. Furthermore, the varieties of produce from the Root Connection are optimized for flavor, not appearance, mechanical harvestability, or shelf-life like virtually everything you get in the grocery store. The carrots are amazingly sweet and crisp (the kids won't eat store-bought carrots anymore), the lettuce tastes like something more than crunchy water, and the corn (later in the season) is like nothing you've ever had. Plus, everything is organic, so no scary poisons for the family, the environment, or farm workers.
I've come to love seeing stuff come and go over the course of the summer; I really look forward to each crop as comes into season and enjoy its run fully. Eating seasonally is something of a lost art in this era of a global food supply, cold storage, and hot houses. Too bad.
I'm also happy to that the boys can see where food comes from. There are u-pick fields and kids gardens plus flowers and herbs for members. The guys love playing in the fields, pulling weeds, and picking beans. A well-educated friend of ours from a wealthy LA family had never seen a corn plant until well after college (amazing to me, since I grew up in Minnesota). I don't want the kids to be so ignorant of where food comes from and what it looks like au natural (pre-bags and neat store displays). I don't think it's good to be so separated from something so vital.
Finally, I'm glad to see this rich land being farmed instead of turned into strip malls, grass farms (with heavy pesticides), and golf courses like all the land around the farm. I believe that we should use land in the ways it's best suited rather than what's most convenient or even economical. In the end, I think we'll all be happier for it and the ecosystem will be healthier.
If it were just great produce, our farm share would still be a good value. That it's good for the kids, good for the land, and just makes me happy makes it unbeatable.Posted by Tony at July 10, 2004 10:21 PM | TrackBack