You might be wondering what a CSA is, and why we are hauling from it as opposed to the greenmarket. Well, CSAs are often called farm shares - you pay a lump sum to a particular farm early in the season, and then pick up a box of produce delivered by the farm at regular intervals during the harvest. You get whatever is fresh, so the mix of vegetables varies with each pick-up. This particular CSA is different, because we've only bought a winter share. The harvesting is done - instead, we'll be getting a selection of vegetables that have been stored in root cellars, a few fresh vegetables still being grown in hoop houses (small makeshift greenhouses), and some other special items (like eggs, milk, and pickles).
CSAs are great for farmers because they're a way of raising money before the season begins, instead of having to go into debt, and because people who buy in each receive a share of whatever the farm produces - if one crop does badly that year, the farmer doesn't lose money on it. They're also great for people like us because it's quick and easy to pick up your CSA box every so often (depending on the CSA, generally once a week or once a month) and then enjoy wonderful local produce. We really enjoy going to the greenmarket in the summer, but come wintertime, it's often hard to get cellared items reliably. This gives us a way to keep eating locally...and it means we don't have to eat the same few meals over and over again all winter!
Just as we did last year, this winter we've joined two CSAs: this one, Norwich Meadows Farm, provides the types of items we described above. (The other, Winter Sun Farms, is a bit more unusual, but you'll hear about it soon enough.)
Without further ado:
jar heirloom tomato puree