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CSA Week One

I wasn’t exactly born a city boy, but considering my connection with nature, I might as well have been raised on the Lower East Side. If I go too long without hearing a car I get nervous. I couldn’t tell clay soil from cat litter. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere out of walking distance from a good slice joint (we’re missing one in the West End, but that’s a whole other post). 

The point is I don’t even own a single pair of overalls. Working the earth has never been my specialty. So I was a little hesitant to get up at 6 am and go work in a field. And pay for the privilege. Still, kale don’t grow itself. Or maybe it does. As I stated, I’m still not clear on how this stuff works. 

Last summer I joined a CSA near by. Every week I would drive out there early in the morning, before the sun was it it’s most evil, and pick some greens, tomatoes, okra, whatever happened to be ready. In real life, unlike in supermarkets, crops tend to grow on a micro-seasonal schedule. You’ll have a handful of weeks when certain fruits and veggies are perfectly ripe, at the peak of their freshness and flavor. The following week anything that hasn’t been picked is looking it’s age, like a Real Housewife after her fourth Pino Gris and not enough sunscreen. Pretty soon it needs to be plowed under to make way for the next round, and something else is blooming a few rows down. 

I really enjoyed the challenge of this. How much kale is too much kale? There’s only one way to find out. See how many meals you can make out of it. Creativity always comes out of restrictions. How much great art has been created because a starving artist couldn’t afford to buy more paint and was forced to use what she had at hand? Food’s the same way, except you get to eat it afterwards. It’s a comment on transience of life. It’s also delicious. 

Last year was an experiment. This year I’m more prepared. I’ve also agreed to help out. Today I had to till the soil between rows of onions. Got to push this big plow looking thing. Worked with a downright medieval looking contraption called a stirrup hoe. And I’m proud to report the onions are no worse for wear. Mostly. 

For a couple hours of work, I got to walk out of there with a big bag of kale, some bok choy, and red leaf lettuce. Erin already has visions of kale chips dancing in her head. I’m thinking noodles with peanuts and stir fried bok choy. The hard part isn’t so much the tilling and the planting and the harvesting. It’s not even coming up with ideas on how to use bushels of greens. It’s just finding the time to cook all this. 

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  1. June 3, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    Sounds cool! I have been subscribing to my CSA for almost 2 years, but I have never had the pleasure of working at the farm…wish I could. In the meantime, I have been working on my garden 🙂

    Thanks for sharing!

    Come and check out my weekly CSA link party if you like…http://inherchucks.com/2012/05/31/whats-in-the-box-28/.

  2. June 4, 2012 at 11:55 pm

    Scary description of the housewife. I don’t think I could have too much kale.

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