Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Action (i)

What do tomatoes and Princesses have in common?


 To combat this, we signed up for this

Every now and then my husband and I would talk about getting our produce through a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) instead of through the grocery store.  But it never seemed urgent enough, or neither of us researched it much beyond the conversation.  Or we'd hear that it cost X amount of money and there never really seems a good time to spend X amount of money.

Still, more and more people we knew kept raving about how delicious their local tomatoes were, how incredible their apples from the orchard over yonder.  Our neighbor, who joined a CSA, would routinely drop massive bags of vegetables on our doorstep because she would get so much food each week that her family couldn't eat it all.

More evidence mounted.  We visited friends in Massachusetts and upon opening their fridge to get creamer for the coffee, it looked like the farm had just emptied it's contents onto their shelves.
When I finally found the creamer, it was in a glass bottle, which I haven't seen seen since I was 8 and the milk man dropped our milk on the front stoop.  It was also from down the road, and was the most amazing thing I'd tasted this side of the Mississippi.This family talked about how they would get so much produce each week and they'd challenge themselves to eat it all before the next shipment.  (And, how I love a challenge.) 

The myth of the high cost was dispelled quickly when we finally tallied up what we're spending weekly and compared it to what you would spend over the course of a season through a local farm.  Local won for produce, and for other areas it was a wash.

Still, no action.  I'd taken to buying local produce at our grocery store, and as much as I hate to admit it: I am a creature of habit.  And old habits can be hard or sometimes scary to break.

I also have great intentions. I've always intended to regularly get to the many farmers markets that happen all over Rochester throughout the week.  Or even our public market.  But the actual practice was infrequent. 

Then I was stuck by the truth that I used to love my weekly trip to the grocery store: the convenience, the getting a coffee from cafe, wandering the aisles and pointing out fruits and veg to Miss C.  Mostly, that I could go anytime at all.
But it's hasn't been that way for quite awhile.  More often than not, I dread it.  C ends up sullen and sad when we leave, and that's on the good days.  On the bad days, she's crying because we didn't get the dolls, balloons, candy, or Princess blow-up pool on the way out.  And she reeeaaaaaalllly needed them.  By that time, there's not much coffee can do for me. 

So while many are drawn to their CSA because of the freshness of it, and how it is good for the Earth, and how it draws community together, I am drawn to it because of this: they only sell food.  And that's really all I want these days.

If you are a U.S. reader interested in researching what your area offers, take a look at Local Harvest.
This site helped us read through the choices in our area, and pick one that seemed a good match.
Some are straight-up you pick up the food.  Others have an option to work with your kids on the farm.  All sorts of choices.

(If you are about to comment, "Why don't you grow your own tomatoes?" or, "Why don't you plant an herb garden and an apple tree?", please see above section under Good Intentions.  Maybe next spring. )

(If you are a Rochester reader, interested in taking a step this way, The Good Food Collective has a winter option that is quite reasonable.  And looks seriously fantastic.)

And as far as I know, none of them are selling Aurora beach chairs with matching bikinis.


  1. Hi Mary, great to see that you have joined your local community garden, I always have good intentions of doing this too. Just wanted to let you know that I have linked to you via a Lovely blog award as I really think what you write here is important for people to read.

  2. Unfortunately there's no CSA in our area; otherwise I would be all over that.

    We do, however, get our groceries delivered. We have no car, and we figured out that the delivery fee is about the same as both of us taking the bus to the grocery store and back. We started doing it when the bops was a baby and challenging to take out and about (e.g. find a corner of the grocery store to breastfeed) and we never stopped. So we mostly avoid exposing her to that particular temple of consumerism.

  3. Things have gotten really bad if kids are sullen and sad after a trip to the grocery store. I've given up, as much a possible, going to my local supermarket. I'm lucky enough to have a really terrific grocery store at a local farm to go to. I'm trying to get the rest of the family to give up their national brand cereal, which will further limit the need to go to that supermarket.
    CSAs are great but you have to really keep up with the incoming produce. Yikes! Some people around here split a share - useful if you're not ready to get into preserving and canning!

  4. It is certainly true that we remember lovely routines with our children, sometimes, a year ago, rather than the hell they have become.

  5. I'm finishing up my first summer of doing a CSA. I loved it! I barely had to buy produce at the coop all summer. I will probably do it again next year but just do a half share. For a family of 5, a full share was too much sometimes.

  6. Off topic, but I saw this and thought of you: