“I used to say I didn’t like tomatoes; but, after joining the CSA and eating the freshest and most interesting tomatoes I’d ever seen, I realized that I just didn’t like bland, plastic-y, flavorless tomatoes from the grocery store. It turns out I love a good heirloom tomato.”
This year will be my 10th season with my Community Supported Agriculture program (CSA) through Fair Share Farm in Kearney, MO. I’ve been reminiscing lately – especially now that my weekly farm fresh veggies are a well-entrenched way of life for me. How did I fi rst get started with my CSA?
It was 10 years ago when I signed up as a Fair Share member. At that time Michael Pollan’s “Th e Omnivore’s Dilemma” and Barbara Kingsolver’s “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” had not even been published yet, much less read by me. I hadn’t heard of the 100-mile diet; I hadn’t learned that most food in the industrial food chain comes from 1,500 miles away. Locavore didn’t become the New Oxford American Dictionary’s word of the year until 2007. “Food, Inc.” didn’t come out until 2008.
In short, all of the compelling facts I’ve learned about food today – the very same figures I often tout as good reasons to join a CSA – were nowhere on my radar yet. So I’m having to think a bit harder to remember what made me join in the first place.
The year was 2005. During the fall of the previous year, my friend and coworker Heather Gibbons had invited some farmers to the EcoTeam at work, a resource group focused on sustainability. Th ese farmers – Tom Ruggieri and Rebecca Graff of Fair Share Farm – had a lot of interesting and thought-provoking things to say, the specifics of which I can’t quite remember now. What I do remember is that the idea of getting food directly from a farm nearby sounded quaint, wholesome, and delicious.
And, maybe it was a little old fashioned sounding too. (And, I am just enough of a romantic to feel nostalgia for a time I have never known.)
Heather and I were both interested in the CSA and perhaps a little daunted by the notion of subscribing. So, we decided to go in together and to share a “full share” – that is, a subscription to a larger portion of fresh vegetables to be picked up each week from May to October.… Read More