Well summer has come and gone and our CSA adventure is over.
We learned a lot about vegetables this summer. Here is our CSA experience by the numbers:
- 16 weeks of vegetables picked up
- 10 minute round trip from Scott’s work, 45 minute round trip from our house.
- 43 different vegetables (with some very general categories of “lettuce” since I didn’t always track which variety we were given)
- 12 of 16 weeks involved zucchini, because it’s basically a weed here in Manitoba. This was not a good thing for a family who is not crazy about zucchini.
- Only 2 weeks involved peas, which is a travesty because I basically signed up for peas. Peas are freaking delicious.
- I was surprised to get 1 clamshell of raspberries. Also freaking delicious.
- All it takes to get me excited about serving beans is having them show up in my fridge in THREE DIFFERENT COLOURS! (Yes, a horticultural gimmick, but it works on me)
The stand outs from the experience:
- Local organic garlic tastes a million times better than any other garlic ever could. Spoils a lot faster too, which is too bad because it’s the only type of garlic that I use exactly as the recipe calls, not feeling the need to double or triple it.
- I don’t actually hate beets. Of course now I hate beets for the effort it takes to prepare them without staining everything
- I cannot underestimate how great it was to open up the fridge and be like: “What vegetables do we want to have tonight” rather than defaulting to frozen mixed vegetables (though C was begging for them by the end of the summer. Girl loves her beans, corn, carrots, and peas)
- We were more likely to grab other local produce options at the grocery store when we needed to round out our veggie options.
- Homemade salsa. I could eat that with a spoon.
- C was super excited every week to see what vegetable we had. She wasn’t always as excited once they were cooked up, but it was neat to see her excitement over zucchini, peppers and onions.
- Scott now will eat squash!
- Pesto on ground chicken burgers? Oh my goodness, the best thing I’ve eaten in my life.
Some learning opportunities (also known as veggie fails)
- Every freaking leaf of every freaking vegetable can, and apparently should, be eaten. And C doesn’t eat lettuce or other raw leaves. Scott and I don’t eat cooked greens.
- Sometimes you just cant bring yourself to eat fennel until one day you open the fridge and find its gone bad. Lather rinse repeat for a few other vegetables
- We don’t actually store so much of our produce correctly, and that became much more obvious when dealing with organic vegetables.
- It didn’t make us any more inclined to ensure we were eating enough vegetables. In fact, but made vegetables seem like a chore.
- We just don’t have the time during the work week to come home and roast a squash, and weekends in summer are often too busy to do a lot of the prep that is required. With the exception of cucumbers, peppers and cucumbers, there weren’t many options that we had that were very close to being “ready to go” type options for busy days.
I do not regret trying a CSA, but looking at the food we received and the food we ate, the CSA model doesn’t work for us. Between picky adults and a picky toddler, it was hard never knowing what was going to show up until that day, and then not being able to have any control over the vegetables we don’t like beyond giving them to someone else. It also does not make sense next year, when I won’t be working. Since I’ll have the car, Scott won’t be able to just quickly drive over to pick up them. I’m certainly not going to drive 20 minutes, spend 5 minutes moving vegetables from a crate into a bag into a car, and then drive 20 minutes home with two kids every week. At least going to a u-pick farm or a farmer’s market seems like a better use of time, even if the drive is the same or longer, simply because it becomes an “activity” rather than “one more stop to make on the way home”. And then we won’t have to deal with all that zucchini that we’re never going to eat because zucchini is gross. Even better (and I know my mother and sister are already laughing at this, since I killed every one of my planters this year) would be to grow our own vegetables in our backyard.