CSA– Week 1

Wel­come to the July Car­ni­val of Nat­ural Par­ent­ing: Let’s Talk About Food

This post was writ­ten for inclu­sion in the monthly Car­ni­val of Nat­ural Par­ent­ing hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our par­tic­i­pants have writ­ten about their strug­gles and suc­cesses with healthy eat­ing. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other car­ni­val participants.

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**This post was writ­ten on July 5 in prepa­ra­tion for the Car­ni­val of Nat­ural Parenting.

Suc­cess. :)

This sum­mer will be a sum­mer of amaz­ing veg­eta­bles in our apart­ment (I hope). Jason and I decided that we would share a com­mu­nity gar­den plot with some friends and also join a CSA (Com­mu­nity Sup­ported Agri­cul­ture). Our CSA is from a farm about 40 miles from where we live.  While I would like to give some great rea­sons like grow­ing tech­niques or pest man­age­ment tech­niques for choos­ing this par­tic­u­lar CSA, but that’s not the case.  It was the only one we knew about.  So, we signed up for it.

While I hope one day to be able to rely on my own gar­den as our family’s pri­mary source of sum­mer veg­eta­bles and to be able to store other veg­eta­bles for the rest of the year, it’s a good thing that we are not rely­ing solely on the gar­den for this summer’s veg­eta­bles for a few rea­sons. First, North Dakota isn’t exactly known for it’s long grow­ing sea­son. Between some late frosts and early June rain that left our gar­den plot with stand­ing water for quite a while, we only planted our gar­den on June 16th! Sec­ond, we have a 20x20 gar­den, and I’m a novice planter. I didn’t use any sort of space sav­ing meth­ods. I didn’t do a square foot gar­den. My par­ents and I went to the gar­den one night. We made some rows, put down some seeds, and cov­ered them up. Last, if we hadn’t put sticks in at the ends of the rows it would be nearly impos­si­ble to tell where any of our (tiny) veg­eta­bles were start­ing to grow in the midst of all the grass and weeds. While I’m cur­rently in the process of weed­ing the gar­den by hand, it will be at least another week of work before I get through all the rows the first time.  To give you some idea of the amount of weeds and grass I am remov­ing, imag­ine a gro­cery bag 3/4 full.  I am about 40% of the way through the gar­den, and I have pulled that many weeds.  Twice.  While I am grate­ful to be able to have a gar­den while liv­ing in a north fac­ing apart­ment, it’s frus­trat­ing to me to spend hours upon hours upon hours pulling hun­dreds of weeds from our plot.

Thus, a few of the rea­sons for the CSA. :) Over the past cou­ple years, Jason and I have also been talk­ing about things we want our chil­dren to know and one of them is where their food comes from. We want them to be able to enjoy eat­ing a vari­ety of fruits and veg­eta­bles and to under­stand how they come to exist. So, in addi­tion to hav­ing a gar­den, we decided to join the CSA. We have been fre­quent­ing our local farmer’s mar­ket more and more, but with our chil­dren being as young as they are (just about 3 and 4 1/2), we weren’t sure they would dif­fer­en­ti­ate between buy­ing broc­coli from a local farmer at a stand and buy­ing it at the store. One of the ben­e­fits of the CSA is that the farm is pretty close and the farmer is open to vis­i­tors. At the end of the sum­mer he hosts a potluck at his farm, and he put out an open invi­ta­tion for his CSA mem­bers to make an appoint­ment to come visit him. I’m hop­ing we’ll do this at least once.

This week was the first week we received a deliv­ery from our CSA. We picked it up on Wednes­day, and I’m happy to say that we ate most of the veg­eta­bles we received! We got a con­tainer of deli­cious, melt in your mouth straw­ber­ries, a bunch of spinach, a head of let­tuce which I believe was romaine, and a bag of some kind of let­tuce. The straw­ber­ries received imme­di­ate atten­tion from our fam­ily. They were gone within 2 meals. The romaine (?) was used in sal­ads for Kael, Jason, and myself. Unfor­tu­nately, Asa hasn’t yet come to love sal­ads yet. I’m sure his day is com­ing though. :) The spinach was used to make green smooth­ies which the boys (and Jason and I) love. The other let­tuce was eaten in both salad and wraps. We didn’t eat all of it though. Tonight, I took it out of the fridge to add to our taco salad and found that the con­den­sa­tion in our fridge had caused it to get limp and slimy. I’ll be work­ing on another stor­age method for next week’s greens. All in all, I would say our first week of eat­ing from our CSA was a suc­cess. I’m def­i­nitely look­ing for­ward to Wednesday’s drop to see what comes in our next box.

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can par­tic­i­pate in the next Car­ni­val of Nat­ural Parenting!

Please take time to read the sub­mis­sions by the other car­ni­val participants:

(This list will be updated July 13 with all the car­ni­val links.)

Comments

  1. I love the fact that your farm­ers will let you come visit! I’m with you on the weeds — holy night, my gar­den is shame­fully overgrown!!

  2. What a great post! I’m so glad you enjoyed your CSA box — I totally hear you on the weeds; we have horse­tail in our gar­den, which is the plan­ets old­est plant; so you can guess that I’m never, ever going to get rid of it!
    It really con­cerns me and this year we grassed over 3 of our 6 beds in des­per­a­tion as I just couldn’t keep up with the weed­ing. It was such a dif­fi­cult deci­sion to make and I felt like a total failure.

  3. I belong to a farm deliv­ery (not a CSA) that gets in-season pro­duce from a vari­ety of farms. I LOVE it. And if I ever get the guts to start a gar­den, like you I’ll keep that deliv­ery until I know I can rely on my own work to feed us.

    I’m curi­ous to know from a newbie-garder: what are some other lessons you’ve learned so far about grow­ing a garden??

  4. So fun that you’re doing a CSA deliv­ery! We did for awhile but found we didn’t eat all the greens, either, before they turned, and it made us feel guilty. Maybe I should just shake the guilt and go back to one any­way, since it forced us to eat a wide vari­ety of veg­gies every week!

    Now I’m glad we just put in our raised beds this year so that our weeds aren’t out of con­trol. Yet. Ha ha! I’m a lit­tle scared now. We also got a late start plant­ing things out since we had to build the beds, but things are look­ing nice right now. Yea for gardens!

  5. Glad you had a great first week of your CSA! We seri­ously con­sid­ered it this year, but I was too chicken. I kept wor­ry­ing about not get­ting our moneys-worth or wast­ing food if we didn’t eat what they pro­vided. Maybe next year…

  6. Would love to see a pic. I think we’re going to do com­mu­nity gar­den­ing here next sum­mer. Can’t wait!

  7. I hear you on the weeds! Our sum­mer (in Seat­tle) has been really late and mild so far, which means our gar­den is not pro­duc­ing much, either. I hope we get a good growth spurt in the next month or so.

    Thats great that you will be able to visit your CSA farm. I think thats a great les­son for kids. Also, love the idea of spinach in smooth­ies! I just read about doing that with kale, too. Gotta try it!

  8. @Jessica– Well, I’m still *very* new, so I’m not sure I have many lessons yet. Maybe I’ll have a lit­tle more at the end of the year, but I can say that I’ve learned a few things. 1– Weed­ing and till­ing pre-planting is impor­tant. 2– Gar­den­ing in a place where there won’t be stand­ing water if it rains is impor­tant. 3– Gar­den­ing takes time. It seems like you can either put in a lit­tle time fre­quently or a lot of time at once if you let things go. 4– Make sure you know how many days your seeds need to grow. We put our gar­den in late and aren’t sure if we’ll get any squash or pump­kins. 5– Take pic­tures! This sounds funny to me, but I wish I had pic­tures of the gar­den from the very first time we put a hoe down in it until now to show much progress I’ve made in it!

    @Lauren and @Holly– We didn’t do as well eat­ing our greens this week as last, but I fig­ure that will hap­pen, and we have to weigh our accom­plish­ments with our non-accomplishments (I don’t con­sider not eat­ing 3 entire heads/bags of greens a failure).

    @Beanma– Pic­tures com­ing soon! Maybe next week? I hope.

    @Kristin– Our boys really like the green smooth­ies. I usu­ally put an extra banana in or some honey (or extra honey if it needs it) to make sure there’s no spinach or green-y taste. Because I do this, the boys ask for the green smooth­ies. They know they will be even sweeter! :)

  9. A friend of mine intro­duced me a cou­ple of years ago to a let­tuce stor­ing method that will keep it fresh for weeks. We don’t often need it, but if I’m remem­ber­ing cor­rectly, he washes the let­tuce and pulls the leaves apart, then dries it in a salad spin­ner. Then you lay out a clean dish towel and roll the leaves up inside it (no more than two leaves per layer). Stick in a ziploc and put in the fridge. The remain­ing water on the let­tuce will dampen the towel, which will in turn keep the let­tuce damp but not let it get slimy. I swear we were using the let­tuce he gave us a month later and it was still crisp and tasty.

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