Simple for me the consumer, not so much for the farmer. . .
Simple for me because I don’t spend any time thinking about what produce to buy, knowing I’ll be getting the most delicious vegetables and herbs week after week. Simple also because I like to be home. I love our families little summer trips and outings but I also love the routine of making the most of what our incredible farmers produce each season. My CSA (weekly farm share) gives me beautiful surprises every week. Can lettuce really taste that good? Is that new-to-me mild leafy green (Komatsuna/Summerfest) as versatile as it seems? Yes and yes!
There is a lot of talk, generally, about seasonality and local produce. Who doesn’t love fresh asparagus and strawberries when they roll around?! But what about arugula, and salad turnips, spring onions, mizuna, new garlic and lettuce? Farmers grow dozens of less media-hyped varieties that are the bread-and-butter of feeding and nourishing ourselves day-in and out.
What if we embraced all the produce with the fervor of asparagus and strawberries? And of course we all have our favorites but falling-in love with what eating locally and supporting our local farmers means for ourselves, our communities, our arable land and water ways and our shared resilience is what I’m particularly interested in.
Farmers demonstrate resilience in ways I can hardly fathom and this spring, here in the Pacific Northwest, floods destroyed overwintered crops as well as fields of newly transplanted seedlings. The floods prevented farmers from working the soil, challenging schedules set months ago and making the job of harvesting and assembling early season shares even harder.
And then there’s us, the consumer who wants flavor and convenience and variety and nutrient-rich, beautiful produce. That’s what I get, year after year, even with record breaking heat, torrential rains and tenacious pests. So hopefully we, eaters, can be willing to share a bit of the risks and pressures our farmers face in delivering all that we want by putting our stake in the ground for local produce. Maybe the first few shares will be light and maybe I won’t see tomatoes for another 8 weeks but maybe what I do get will be delicious and interesting and ground me in my place in a way the same old broccoli and sweet potatoes shipped from far away won’t.
If we have the means and access and interest (many CSA farms & farmers markets take SNAP and even so it’s not accessible or of interest to everyone) let’s give the hype of local and seasonal some teeth and make it more than an occasional flat of berries and bunch of greens.
P.S. If you’re interested in joining a CSA here are some handy resources! And I’m always happy to field questions and help you find something that suits your schedule, location, etc.
P.P.S. Many CSAs give you access to my Seasonal Recipe Collection for the season because most of us need a little help in knowing what to do with ALL this variety and bounty.