Here’s a picture of what we’ve been calling the “Veggie Puzzle”. For fun, we compiled ten of the more unusual vegetables that arrive in a typical Massachusetts farm share and designed a competition: name all ten and win a Farmers’ Market at Harvard t-shirt.
Over the course of two days, we’ve been hearing plenty of creative guesses, Latin names, and good reactions, plus recipes for all of the above. My favorite was a man who suggested a spicy chard saute with lots of garlic, onion, hot pepper, and ginger.
We’ve also been handing out information on CSAs in general and local CSAs specifically. If you’re in Boston and still looking for a share, read on! It’s time to get to know these vegetables.
N.B. Those who came by who had participated in CSAs correctly identified many more of the vegetables. Having a CSA is a wonderful and quick way to increase your food literacy.
What is a CSA? and other FAQs.
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. It’s a farm share – a way to commit to one farm for a season by paying for all or a portion of the season’s produce up front. They deliver a “share” of their production every week to a nearby drop-off point.
Why a CSA over a farmers’ market? It’s a matter of preference. If you like planning your meal before you shop or if you have an irregular cooking schedule, a farmers’ market or grocery store may be the way to go. If you enjoy cooking challenges or don’t have time to browse at the farmers’ market the CSA is best. For the farmer, the CSA is best because they don’t need to staff the farmers’ market, they have less waste (as the market customers are less predictable), and they have more income up front for buying seeds and equipment needs.
But it’s just me. Many farms let you split a “half” or small share. If not, ask a neighbor if he/she would like to split a share. It’s good to consider – CSAs often overwhelm people with how much produce arrives.
Can I still sign up? Yes! See below.
When do they start? It depends on the farm’s production mix. Many start in late May or early June with cool weather crops like radishes, lettuce mixes, and spring onions.
Do I have to pay all at once? Some farms and hosting locations (like Clover) offer the option of paying in installments. Check with your farm about specifics.
Clover Food Lab (7 Holyoke Street, Harvard Square) is offering farm shares – deadline May 1
Flats Mentor Farm (M), Next Barn Over (Tu), Enterprise (W), Drumlin (Th), Red Fire Farm (F), Kitchen Garden (Sa)
The Food Project (Tu) drops off in Central Square and North Cambridge as well as many towns in Greater Boston: http://thefoodproject.org/csa-box-share
World Peas Coop (Tu) drops off in Porter Square as well as many towns in Greater Boston. http://nesfp.nutrition.tufts.edu/worldpeas/csa_pickup.html
John Crow Farm (M) drops off at John Harvard Brewery, offers a veggie, meat, and poultry CSA. http://www.johncrowfarm.com/csa.htm
The Move also offers an exhaustive list of local fruit and veggie CSAs that deliver to Cambridge and surrounding towns. http://getoutma.org/community/good-food-in-boston/csa/vegetablefruit-csas/