Friday, January 8, 2010

What You Get from a CSA that You Can't Get in the Supermarket

This year my family purchased a Fall Keeper CSA share from Abbondanza Farms for the second time. The Keeper share is a little different from the more popular summer CSA share. You only get five drops, at a pretty high cost per drop, but each drop is a big box of storable fall vegetables. The idea is that by over-purchasing from the late fall harvest, you'll be able to continue eating local produce through most of the winter. See my previous posts on CSAs and the Fall Keeper Share to learn more.

As the summer produce dwindled, I started planning (and craving) what I would cook with the first pick-up. I remembered the quality of last year's beets, winter squash, fingerling potatoes, and I couldn't wait. The summer CSA (from the same farm) had ended two weeks earlier, so my cupboards were pretty bare. I hadn't bought anything at the supermarket because I knew I had a bountiful box of food coming.

As I eagerly drove up on Thursday, the usual pickup day, I was perplexed to find the parking lot empty. I slowly realized that I'd gotten confused. Thursday had been the pickup day all summer, but I'd received an email earlier in the week notifying me that the pickup day for the fall share was Wednesday. Ohhh noooo….

I was so disappointed. How could I have spaced this out? How was I going to get my veggies? What was I going to cook for dinner that night?

So I called the farm, explained my situation, groveled, begged, and sure enough… no problem, I could come get the share at the farm that weekend. Great! When I arrived, they didn't seem bothered at all. In fact, it appeared from the stack of boxes set aside that I may not have been the only person to have gotten confused.

I definitely wasn't going to forget again. Especially since the next share was a double pick-up of veggies right before Thanksgiving. How exciting!

Two weeks pass by. Every day I remind myself… don't forget the veggies on Wednesday.

The day arrived, and what a crazy day it was. That morning, my son got sick, so I stayed home from work to snuggle with him. I also received a call from a family member asking if I could help take an elderly relative to the hospital the next day. And, I was busy thinking about a business trip I had to make to India in a few weeks. To say I was a little frazzled was an understatement. At eight PM that night, it suddenly dawned on me that it was THE pickup day, the one I wasn't going to forget, and it was one hour after they closed. ARRRGGGGHHHH!

I was so upset. How could I have done this again? After a few minutes I came to my senses. I have too much going on. Yes, it's a lot of money that I spent and am going to have to spend to buy the food I didn't get, but I've got too much to worry about. Besides, while they were very nice last time, I just couldn't stomach the thought of admitting again that I was so disorganized. I decided to forget it.

A few days later, I received a phone call from the woman that runs the program. She had noticed from the checklists that I hadn't shown up for either of the first two pick-ups and was concerned that they hadn't properly communicated the schedule and location to me. I was so surprised and moved that someone would go to this trouble; everything came rushing out. My voice starting choking up as I told her about the troubles of my week and that I had just been too embarrassed to call again. Finally, I sighed, "I know this is silly, that it's just food, but I was so looking forward to those veggies." She cut in, "It's not just food. It's important. I'm so sorry to hear about all of this. We'll absolutely get you your share if we have to drop it on your doorstep." We talked about 20 minutes more. She shared a little with me about her family. She asked more about mine. And we talked about the farm and the food that really did mean a lot more to me than I was willing to admit.

So that day I got my veggies and a very welcome personal connection.

There are many well-advertised benefits of joining a CSA: fresh, varied, high quality produce, eating organically, supporting a local business, lower carbon footprint from eating locally grown food.

Here's one more...

The community supported part of the term Community Supported Agriculture means that you're not just supporting a community farm, they're supporting you. I'm pretty sure I've never seen that on sale for $.99/lb at Sunflower Farmer's Market.

1 Responses (Leave a Comment):

jennysue said...

i love your posts. i love what you care about and how you express it. keep em coming, lady. xoxo