I wanted to join a CSA since I first read about community supported agriculture. The majority of my grocery budget goes to buying produce (mostly organic), but I tend to buy the same fruits and veggies (spinach, arugula, bok choy, mushrooms, bananas, plums, etc.) all the time because they’re what I’m familiar with and they’re usually not too expensive. I’m also not a great cook — I’m constantly stuck in food ruts — and I figured a CSA would force me to learn how to cook new dishes since I’ll have no control over the fruits and veggies I’ll receive. Oh, and it also seemed like a good way to support local, organic farmers.
After doing a bit of research last fall, I learned that there’s a Washington Heights CSA that distributes veggies in Fort Tryon Park, which is only a few blocks from my apartment. The produce comes from Windflower Farms, a small, organic farm upstate in the Taconic Hills. Joining the CSA was the hard part. Apparently, a glut of people also wanted in, so I was on a waiting list for several months. A few weeks ago, I received an e-mail stating that I was accepted from the waiting list, and I signed up for a vegetable share (22 weeks) and a fruit share (20 weeks).
Yesterday was the season’s first pick-up, so I headed to the distribution site, at New Leaf Cafe, in Fort Tryon. I was surprised to find a rather long line of people also picking up veggies. Apparently, the CSA has quite a few new members, and a volunteer kept reiterating that they’d never had a line before.
It moved quickly, though, and soon I stood before a row of boxes, each bearing a different veggie. A large chalkboard informed us how many of each were were allotted.
I returned home with this gorgeous array of veggies, fruit, and herbs. Then came the hard part: washing, breaking down, and deciding what to do with all of it.