Yesterday was an auspicious day. June 12th was our first day of our Local Eating Challenge Year. This is the perfect time to complete the story of how we arrived at this day. Our philosophies and views of our food and food systems will change no doubt as time goes on, but the past is set, and it defines the path we are on now. Its always good to reflect on why we are where we are.
So, as a recap, the cookbook changed the way we eat and local produce in Florida changed some of what we eat. But woman cannot live on local fruit alone, no matter how good it may be. We needed another catalyst, something that would send us beyond the occasional Pick Your Own and farmers market, into the realm of eating locally.
Enter… the CSA.
It was a very serendipitous occasion in early 2008. Laura and I had been discussing easy ways to reduce our impact on the world at large, and we had always felt a little odd about buying summer produce from California during the winter. I was, one day, reading one of the excellent local Boston newspapers, the Weekly Dig, when I stumbled across this article entitled “Buying the Farm: The Dirty Delicious Workings of CSAs”, read it, and promptly filed it as ‘something interesting to show Laura’. It wasn’t until the following issue that I read a Letter to the Editor, “Farm yer own peas, lazy pants!“, that I actually made the effort to show Laura the Dig article about CSAs.
I don’t really remember why we choose Red Fire Farm. It may have been the first one we looked at that had availabilities for our area. It may have been convenience. It may have been their website. Either way we signed up for a Full Season Share. From early June to the end of November, we had plenty of delicious produce. It was far and away better than anything from California, at any point of time in the year. We got to visit the farm, and see the wonders that consist of farming. We got to meet our farmers. We learned that eating seasonally just felt good. When the year was over, we missed it dreadfully.
In 2009, the farm sent out a call for a new CSA distribution coordinator for our particular pickup, Brighton. After some cajoling, Laura agreed to apply. As we began to learn more about the trials and tribulations of the small, local farmer, Laura and I began to appreciate our food more, really taking the time to enjoy it and reflect upon where it came from. We like knowing where our food comes from, and being able to visit the farm, knowing that we can eat strawberries and peas straight from the vine, with nothing to worry about except wholesome dirt and insects. Knowing some of the work that went into our food, we appreciated the hard work that goes into creating such a wonderful variety of produce.
We sought out more local foods. Meat we now get from Stillman’s at the Turkey Farm, a meat CSA Quarter Share once a month. Dairy we get from farm stands and farmer’s markets. Eggs from Red Fire Farm. Fruit and grains come from a variety of small farms. We like our farmers, and we like their farms. We want to support the good work these farmers do as caretakers of this earth. Not only will we document our food and where it comes from, we will be going to the source, talking with farmers and trying to catch a glimpse of the work they are doing, and why.
Right now, we embark on this journey to eat well, eat consciously, and support our local farmers and business people.
To a grand old year!