The temporary spring weather this past weekend revealed a few green sprouts around my yard and made me realize it is time to start preparing and planting a vegetable garden. Every year I decide to plant a vegetable garden and then the reality of work, kids, dogs, housecleaning, takes over. I could combine kids and the garden but I am a realist. I know that I would end up doing the gardening the same way I am now in charge of the health and well-being of a gerbil.
Luckily, friends of mine own a working farm right here in Boulder. Last year they started a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), so I was able to participate in farming when I had the urge to connect with my food, or just wait until my weekly veggie share appeared on my doorstep. I had never purchased a CSA "veggie share" so last year was an education in CSAs, as well as sustainability, farming, cooking, and eating.
The first weekly shares started in May with potted basil and tomatoes to grow at home, a bit of spinach, and a few salad greens. Each week the bounty increased. By late summer each dinner was full of fresh veggies, and the kitchen counters looked like a produce section in an upscale market. As the fall days shortened, we were able to gather pumpkins for Halloween and winter squash to last, well, through the winter. It is early March, and there are still a few squash waiting to be cooked.
I'm looking forward to seeing what veggies show up in the CSA this year. Last year I learned how many ways you can cook, eat and love beets, kale, chard and some interesting edible weeds. I also learned how many pounds of zucchini can be eaten in a week.
The CSA system works for our family. For a reasonable cost we had incredibly fresh veggies, a wider variety then we could have grown in our backyard, and different selections then I would have purchased at a store or even a farmers' market. We met a charming group of idealistic young farmers in the spring who grew into realistic, idealistic, young farmers by the fall. Whenever we wanted we could go farm (I only chose the days with perfect weather). As an added bonus, at my request and with the support of other veggie share owners, the farm donated veggies to a group of young Sudanese refugees who are settling here in Boulder.
Now that the spring weather has made me again think about planting a veggie garden, I will instead buy my veggie share. When I have the urge to farm and work - and the kids and dogs do not need my attention - I will bike to the farm. Even if the urge never strikes or I can't find the time, I know that come May I will have fresh, local, sustainable, delicious vegetables.
If you are interested in purchasing a veggie share, here are links to Boulder-area CSAs and a link for those of you in Denver:
Boulder County CSA:
Beyond Organic Farm (www.beyondorganicfarm.com)
I am completely biased. The farmers are primarily CU students and the owners are my friends. Right here in Boulder and on the bike path.
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