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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Imitation is - well it's delicioius!

I have an older sister, Brenda, who I have always looked up to.  Brenda has done an amazing job of managing her weight and she runs half marathons which makes me a little jealous but mostly uber proud.  Anyway, I have always looked up to my big sister and a couple of years ago Dan and I were at Brenda and Alex's house and they were telling us about this program they were part of called Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). 
Essentially, local farms sell a 'share' of the farm.  You, as the shareholder, get a portion of what they grow.  I thought this was really cool so I looked into it the night we got home but I missed the deadline to sign up for that year.  So, I checked it out again this spring and found one that looked like they delivered a good variety of produce.  The farm is called Angelic Organics and it is located in Caledonia, IL.  I also did a quick google search on the farm and the CSA and I couldn't find any negative comments about it.  So, we signed up for a 12-week share of vegetables and a 6-week share of fruit.

This meant that beginning in August every week we pick up a box of vegetables and every other week we also pick up a box of fruit.  The farm that we use delivers a bunch of boxes all over the area and even into Chicago.  This was one of the selling points for me, convenience!  In addition to that nifty convenience, our CSA writes a blog post for each vegetable delivery and each fruit delivery so that you can know what you're getting.  They also offer a 'trade' box so that if there is something that you don't like you can leave it for someone else and/or take something that someone else has left. 

Our first vegetable and fruit box!!
Before the first week that we picked up food, we received a package in the mail from the CSA.  EUREKA!  The farm wrote a cookbook based on the vegetables they grow and share with their consumers.  Each item has several recipes but it also gives storage instructions and even some interesting stories from the farm.  For those who don't know me well, I love cookbooks.  I love reading them, I love looking at the pictures I really love everything about them.  So, this cookbook was right up my alley and now I was doubly excited to get our first box.

We have been delighted with our vegetables and uber delighted with our fruit.  I've purchased a few other fruit items in addition to what we've gotten in our box and I've always been tremendously disappointed in that fruit.  All of the items we get from our CSA have been so ripe and delicious.  In all of the produce that we've gotten during our time with the farm, we've only had two mis-steps.  The first was a smushed tomato that got in the way of a watermelon and the second was a box of figs that were moldy.  I was disappointed, but the rest of the delivery was fantastic.  I mean, yum times a thousand!

Anyway, this is my way of saying THANK YOU to Brenda and Alex for inspiring us to invest in our neighbors, in their farm, and especially in our health by joining the CSA.  If you can join a CSA, you should really consider it.  The produce you'll receive is way better than what you can find in the local grocery store.

Do you have any interest in joining a CSA?  You should probably check them out now because if you wait until spring it might be too late.  You can start your search for a local CSA here.  If you're currently a member or you join one I'd love to hear your thoughts on your experience.  I'd also love to hear any recipes that you've whipped up as a result of your fresh vegetables.

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