Our family found a great option to satisfy our hunger for locally grown fresh produce – it’s called a CSA – community supported agriculture.
Every Wednesday morning our farmer packs up bushels of fresh-picked produce and brings them to town for families like ours. The farm is just a few miles up Kiler Canyon Road from our home in Paso Robles, CA.
The produce starts coming in March and we get it weekly through October. We like that local farmers who don’t use pesticides or herbicides grow the produce organically. We like that we know our farmers and can visit the farm.
Opening the bushel every week is like opening a present. There are always new and interesting treats inside for us. The selections rotate with the seasons.
The bushel is fun for the whole family. As I pick through it with my 5-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter, I encourage them to identify veggies and taste and feel new ones. They love to help in preparation.
The flavors and smells of the fresh herbs and vegetables are amazing. There are often edible flowers we add to our salads.
The wide variety of contents mean we always have an excess of produce to eat with just about any and every home-cooked meal throughout the week. The farmers email us a suggested recipes every week for us to use.
I keep a bottle of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper on the kitchen counter for quick and easy salads tossed up before every dinner with lots of greens and herbs
Other favorites are diced veggies or spinach for omelets, steamed broccoli, grilled zucchini, pickled carrots, and fresh crispy snacks of all kinds.
The bushel usually has a generous blend of these, and always mixed greens:
Edible Zucchini flowers
Edible dandelion flowers
Sometimes there is more than we could possibly eat in a week. When that happens, we give the leftovers to girls who raise chickens for eggs. Then we enjoy the eggs the next week.
As a first step, try your local farmers market. Ask questions and find out more about your food. Some people call us localvores or localtarians. I just think of it as tasty good fun. Now, go out and taste some for yourself!