The Right CSA for your Cooking Style
By Joey Hernandez
Waking up early and buying tomatoes from your local farmers market is one way to support a local, sustainable economy. But, there’s one step further: buying into Community Supported Agriculture (CSA).
CSAs work for both the farmer and buyer. Consumers pay up-front, allowing the farm to pay for the seeds and tools needed for the season ahead. In return, “shareholders” receive a weekly supply of produce, meats and cheeses from the grower. While CSAs promise plenty of food, ingredients delivered depend on what grew that week. There’s lots to consider. Which CSA suits you?
“Iron Chef America”
You revel in the joy of cooking with new ingredients, experimenting with new cooking methods and playing with new tools. Sous vide immersion circulators roam freely in your adobe.
CSA: Polyface Farm offers beef liver, tongue, kidneys and tamer cuts of meat, plus vegetables and eggs. Sign up: Open enrollment buying club.
43 Pure Meadows Lane, Riverheads; 540-885-3590; polyfacefarms.com
“30-Minute Meals with Rachael Ray”
Planning a meal remains a priority as hectic workdays and carpools cut into your kitchen time.
CSA: Great Country Farms offers a produce list that provides recipes, expected crops for the season and a weekly newsletter designed for organization lovers. Sign up: Now. Shares sell out by first week of April.
18780 Foggy Bottom Road, Bluemont; 540-554-2073; greatcountryfarms.com
“Worst Cooks in America”
Even though you have a slight fear of cooking, you can still participate in a CSA. While a 20-week share may be a big commitment, some farms offer shorter arrangements.
CSA: Olin-Fox Farms. With two months of local farm-fresh goodies like free-range eggs and heirloom tomatoes, making omelettes will have you feeling like Eric Ripert. Sign up: By May 21.
P.O. Box 222, Reedville; 804-453-4125; olinfoxfarms.com
Illustrations by Ashleigh Carter
READY, SET, COOK While your weekly CSA box will contain an endless amount of possibilities for you to cook, it’s always helpful to have a few books around to inspire the next dinner creation:
Thomas Keller’s “Under Pressure: Cooking Sous Vide” to inspire your next gourmet creation.
An all-encompassing classic book like “Better Homes and Gardens’ 365 30-Minute Meals” offers both a variety of recipes and ingredient substitutions to avoid last-minute trips to the grocery store.
“The Farmer’s Kitchen: The Ultimate Guide to Enjoying your CSA and Farmers’ Market Foods,” by Julia Shanks, provides detailed info on farm-fresh foods, such as proper storage tips for produce.