21 May 2010

oh, hello!

It arrived yesterday afternoon, dropped off at the corner coffee shop.
Full of goodies, some were even sticking out of the top.

You know what i'm talking about:
my inaugural CSA box.

Amos and I (okay, way more me) decided that we should join a CSA program, where local farmer's markets drop off weekly (or bi-weekly, in our case) boxes chalked full of seasonal veggies and fruits. It's pretty reasonable, super convenient, and uber-hippie.

Of course I signed up.

It was so exciting -- we hauled in cucumbers, broccoli, bok choy, peaches, mangoes, strawberries, zucchini, lettuce, carrots, and oranges. we were supposed to have tomatoes, too, and I was assured they would be making that up to us next box. It was a bit of a stretch to fit them all into our small fridge (which lacks crisper drawers and sits, literally, on top of our counters), but my geometry skills did not fail me. The thing is packed to perfection. I wanted to take a picture, but the fridge lacks a light bulb. Please use your imagination.

 I started putzing in the kitchen and whipped up a little stir-fry and a rustic fruit tart that was very beautiful and astonishingly mediocre. Please note: Valencia oranges are extremely bitter when cooked. I picked them out and just ate the crust and goat cheese. Good enough for me. 

The day took a darker, or at least deeper, turn when I realized that not all the fruit was local -- all organic, but the mangoes were most definitely not grown in the Pacific Northwest in May (is it sad that it took a sticker saying "grown in Mexico" for me to figure that one out?) It brought up some tough questions: is organic, small farm produce good enough? Or is local more important? Is it bad to eat foods that are out of season and have to travel halfway around the world, even if they are sustainably grown? What happens to the Mexican mango farmers when I stop paying for his/her crops?

Gosh, this whole responsible global citizen thing is tough.

In the end, I think I'll be sticking with my little not-quite-CSA box, though if you know of any more local-centric options, please let me know. Can't stop now -- I have a feeling that bok choy was just the beginning.


  1. Anonymous22 May, 2010

    wha! Why on earth was there a Mexican Mango in there? I thought CSA's were totally local, 100%? This is boggling my mind...
    As for you question, I think local is most important, then organic. Ideally, it would be both, and it can be (usually). But recently I've been put off more by the Whole Foods produce that comes from South American versus their non-organic stuff. I'm also pissed off that WF fooled me and was selling out of season Rainier cherries a week ago - not even in season for another month. I wish there was a book that had all regions marked and which grew what, when. There's gotta be one out there!

  2. You CSA box looks amazing and delicious! We did a CSA last summer but we were rocking nothing more than lettuce and cucumbers for the first few weeks. Never got to enjoy tomatoes since the Northeast had a blight and almost everyone had to burn their crop, sad.
    Pretty weird about the Mexican Mango. Maybe ask them what's up at the next drop off? I think our farm had a "sister farm" that grew some of the fruit and they had some sort of arrangement.
    Being a responsible citizen really is complicated.

  3. Mmmmmm, I love Full Circle Farm! I used to get a box when I lived by myself, but found I couldn't get through all the fruits and veggies fast enough. But now that the boyfriend and I are living together, I'm thinking about signing up again. And I'm growing a few veggies of my own, too!

    Buying locally is the most important, but where we live it's hard to get fresh stuff all year round. I try to buy only from the US, mostly California, during the winter when I can't get a lot of stuff in this region.

    Buying organic is still extremely important, though, no matter where it comes from.

  4. I've never tried CSA but it definitely looks worth it. While I'm visiting my parents I've had to go to the local big supermarkets and I'm disgusted not only at the quality of their fruits and veggies but the obscene prices their charging on top of it. This weekend I'm heading to the farmer's market but maybe I should turn my parents on to this program. Have a great weekend!

  5. Yeah that is weird to have mangoes from Mexico in your CSA box. But if you live off of what's available in your region, it's slim-pickings for the most part. Have you ever read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver? It's a damn good book and really sheds some light on how we eat/consume food. There's a coop down the street from us that only sells local stuff so we try to shop there as much as we can, but sadly, our cravings really win most of the time and off we go to the mercado's or big chains to get what we're lusting after.

  6. Anonymous22 May, 2010

    I have to admit we are supermarket shoppers, but I always love the idea of a local fruit and veg box. Yours looks very exciting! Might have to investigate options in my area now!

  7. I have the same struggle with my Full Circle CSA box. It's not too uncommon to find "unlocal" produce in there. I haven't had in the summer season though so I am interested to see what turns up. I am of the mindset that local is far more important than organic... but I'm much more of a preacher than a practicer. :/


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