Taste of Spring

MountainFirePressKit(lr)_imSpring is in the air. Can you taste it? It really hit home when I started tilling a row or two of a small garden I share with a friend. Left over from the fall garden, I found quite a few spring onions that I had missed from last year’s harvest. They had multiplied in number for each one I had failed to pick. They were fresh green and pungent – like spring. I had also just harvested several beautiful heads of butter crunch lettuce from my greenhouse. The onions and lettuce, along with a few fresh radishes, and I had the makings of a fresh spring garden salad. But the dressing – what to do. Looking in the herb bed I spotted a renewed clump of fresh chives – of course a buttermilk chive dressing – one of my favorites! Yum – Dinner!

I’m lucky to live in the country and have many resources available locally. However I don’t always have the time or energy to do this every year. This year I am doing things a little different. I am buying a share of a CSA – a Community Supported Agriculture farm’s crop. That is right – along with 20 other families, I am buying a share of what a local farmer produces on his farm.

Each week starting in May, right on through October, I pick up a box of fresh, locally grown produce! Salad greens of all types, onions, radishes, edible pea pods, broccoli, and herbs in the early spring. In the summer months, fresh corn, cucumbers, tomatoes, chard, peppers and squash. Then in the fall, carrots, cabbage, pumpkins, onions, spinach and whatever else is still growing! This is a great deal of fresh local food for such a small investment.

A CSA is a way for a farmer to pre-sell his crop to a limited number of customers. The farmer gets the money for planting and harvesting up front and the customer is guaranteed an equal share of whatever is grown. This type of agriculture has been going on for years. In a good year, everyone receives the bounty and in a not-so-good year, the customer may receive less but the farmer is still able to pay farm expenses, taxes, mortgage, and “keep the farm” going for another year. I am buying a one-half CSA share this year to supplement my small garden, at a very reasonable price of $300. Six months or 20 weeks of farm fresh food for less than $15 a week.

We all need to invest in our local farms – and keep our farmers on the land, working for our community. Supermarkets are fine – but just imagine another “dust bowl” or major flooding out west and the impact on the price and selection of food. Imagine as fuel prices continue to increase – how that will affect the price of your food. Besides, we want to keep our hard-earned money in our community and support our neighbors and friends while preserving farmlands for both food production and recreation.

It is not too late to sign up for a CSA program. We have over 20 local farms offering CSA shares. Here is a link to help you find a local CSA (www.buyappalachian.org/filter/detail/csa) Remember, sign up today, and in May, you too will be saving the environment, supporting a local farm, and tasting the joyful bounty of spring.