Monday, March 2, 2015

What Are You Looking For in a Farm?

So, the search for the perfect farmshare begins! 
Step one, research. 
That's easy enough. Just punch CSA and your general location, and find your nearest CSA farms. 

Step two, pick your menu. 
Now, every farm in my area offers vegetables as the staple in your weekly share. You can't really select which vegetables you will get, but many farms provide a list of what they will be grown in the coming season, and when it will be available in your weekly delivery. 


We'll start you off with a salad.
Some of the farms I researched allowed a limited number of requests, such as less "weird" vegetables, more or less greens, but for the most part, you get what you get. Each week your share will include the crops that are ready and available at that time, which should mean your getting the freshest food possible, which is the main point here anyway. Most of my local farms also also offer herbs and seasonal fruit as part of the weekly share, but in much smaller proportion to the vegetables. 

And on to the main course

Many of the farms I researched also have egg and/or meat shares available. This would include any number of items from chicken, pork, turkey, duck, beef and lamb, depending on where you buy. I am not philosophically opposed to eating meat, but I am pretty thoroughly disgusted by the factory farming of livestock as practiced by large scale commercial agriculture. The whole process seems needlessly wasteful, cruel and environmentally dangerous. So if we're going to continue to be omnivores here, we should strive to be conscious omnivores, right? One of the main pluses of CSA food production is knowing exactly where your food came from, and how it was raised, which is preferably with plenty of room, good food and excellent care free of added hormones and antibiotics.
Ideally, I'd like to be getting as much of our food as possible from fresh local sources. So adding meat, eggs and honey to the weekly order sounds fantastic.
The main downside is the quantities - most available meat shares are for a LOT of pounds of product. We don't eat meat every day here, and we don't have a good place for a stand alone freezer to hold dozens of pounds of surplus chops and sausages. I may have to enlist some extended family members to make this work effectively.

Step three, location, location, location. 
So, where do you want to pick up your fresh batch of home grown deliciousness every week? If you live in an urban area, good news! There is probably a local drop location very close to you. 
For us semi rural folk, it looks like we'll be driving directly to the farm. The one I've tentatively decided upon has several strong positives- 
Good variety of seasonal veggies
Fruit with most shares
Long season (4 weeks longer than the other farms I've looked at, for about the same cost) 
Meat and egg shares available, though the meat shares are on a separate schedule. Veggies, fruit and eggs arrive every week, meat every month or so. 
Bridge shares - extra weeks at the start and end of the season - are also available.  

Looks like this might be the winner. 




1 comment:

Miss Taken said...

I am jealous and want in. I need a dang car.

I have the Spring itch though. I am ready for fresh out of the ground foods!!!