I tried to join a local CSA a few months ago, but they were booked full. They offered to put me on a waitlist and I accepted, although I didn’t think it would do me much good. I was wrong! Last week, my number on the waitlist came up, and yesterday I got my very first CSA box ever. I can tell right now it’s going to be like getting a present every week. The anticipation, the hints, the slow reveal, the tearing through the packaging…it’s all there.
In the box this week: avocados, strawberries, baby bok choy, scallions, chard, a hulking huge cauliflower, cilantro, and a bag of fancy mixed salad greens. There were supposed to be carrots too, according to the newsletter, but I guess they didn’t make it. The total cost of this week’s box was $20. I mulled over how much I think I could have gotten all of these items for at my regular haunts, and I think I could have done better by almost half (generous overestimates: 1.39 chard + 2.00 avocados + 1.99 cauliflower + 0.33 cilantro + 2.50 strawberries + 1.20 baby bok choy + 3.00 salad greens + 1.30 scallions = 13.71, and in actuality much less). So in black and white terms, it doesn’t compute.
But there is also this: all of the items in the box are organic and grown less than fifty miles away (47, to be exact), which can’t be said for any of the vegetables I buy at Dai Thanh down the street or Su Vianda near city hall. And I wouldn’t have bought all these on my own. Left to my own devices, I would have bought half this much in a week, and predominantly eaten starches, carbs, legumes, and animal proteins. I knew the minute I opened the box that I was going to have to make a much bigger commitment to more veggies in my diet or the whole endeavor would be a waste. That’s not a bad thing to realize. There’s also the given that future boxes will contain produce I’m not familiar with, and I will be coerced into trying new things.
So my ten extra dollars is a put-your-money-where-your-mouth-is vote for supporting local agriculture, it’s replacing my normal produce with organic, and it’s forcing me to eat healthier and widen my horizons.
Meanwhile, what’s the first thing to do with the contents of this week’s box? Make a salad for the next day’s lunch, obviously. I also sautéed the chard for a pasta dish and made an amazing batch of cauliflower soup, which I’ll post tomorrow. I’m a big believer in riding bursts of energy as far as they will take you, so I capitalized on the excitement of getting the box to get a lot of it washed and cooked for later in the week. The things I didn’t attack right away, I put in the fridge in green bags (which are now cheaper at the regular grocery store – twenty bags for ten dollars).
Oh yes, and this CSA will bring you locally grown flowers for an additional $6. I’m satisfied.
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