CSA all the way!

 A quick guide to joining and getting the most out of your CSA share 

I had read about community-supported agriculture (CSA) many times and always thought, “That’s a great idea; I should do it.” Probably around somewhere like 5 years later, I finally found one and joined. I had moved from the city to the suburbs, gained a larger kitchen, lost a walking-distance robust farmers market and was regularly buying nonorganic produce because my local market just didn’t have all that I needed. So, with a lot of excitement and hopes of gaining free delivery, I joined the Angelic Organics CSA program en force

There are several different options to choose from to best suit a person’s fresh, organic veg and fruit needs. I, of course, did it ALL: Full-shares of fruit (10 weeks) and vegetables (20 weeks), plus extended season shares, giving me an additional 4 weeks of veg and 2 weeks of fruit pushing into the fall season. I receive 3/4 of a bushel of vegetables each week and 6-8 lbs. of fruit every other week. Basically, I get a giant box jam-packed with goodness for my household of 2 adults and 1 toddler. And to answer your question, no, we are not vegetarians. 

At first, just the simple delivery of the box each week was super exciting. Actually, that excitement never went away… I get a delivery email once it has been dropped off, and I often text my husband to tell me what came if I’m not home. Unpacking a box is like opening Christmas gifts. What comes is a surprise: We have an idea based on the season, but ultimately, the box is filled with what is prime in my area at my particular delivery time. I recall an occasion when we first received heirloom tomatoes; my son removed the largest one from the box and took an enormous bite out of it… probably the freshest food he has ever consumed. He devoured the tomato and toast sandwich I made him and quickly requested more. 

Now, post-initial excitement, I make sure to well pack the greens and more delicate foods as I want to keep them fresh as long as possible; however, the goal is to eat those first. But then comes the question: What do I do with all of this? It’s quite counter to how we have eaten our homemade meals since moving out of our mom’s home. What we were used to was going to the grocery store, buying what we wanted and eating; this often included premade meals from the deli. These trips generally also included purchasing some fruit and guilt veg that many times went to waste. But here we are with a refrigerator packed with veggies, a few we don’t even know the names of. 

Then comes to the rescue: The Internet. Crazy. You type in a vegetable and get an index of the best ways to store and cook it. Voilà! Now, I’m not all about super involved cooking nor do I have the time to spend on painstaking nuances. I’m a concocter…a little of this, a little of that and many substitutes so that I can use what’s in my fridge and not have to go to the store. Basically, I never want to have to go to the grocery store. 

The results for my family are as follows: 

• We have way more variety in our foods! We have tried so many amazing new recipes and created our own. There are FAR more wins than losses on this. *If the produce is great, you have to do very little to make it even better. 

• With an Angelic Organics share you also receive free access to a seasonal recipe service Local Thyme. I found this incredibly helpful whether I was using the full recipe or as a guide. 

• We feel great from eating so many vegetables and don’t have that sick-to-your-stomach fullness after meals. 

• We get to teach our son new words through unpacking the boxes—and we learn new things ourselves. How many 2-year-olds are asking for pluots by name? 

• The grocery store is no longer a chore but a quest. We get our basics: Some dairy, bread and occasionally meats—but now we experiment with new sauces, spices, nuts and legumes that support our beautiful veggies. 

• Eating out is a rarity. We save money on eating out, and we find that our home-cooked food is generally way more delicious. 

I was SO incredibly happy with our first experience with Angelic Organics that I pre-signed up for my share this year, and YES, I again did the full monty. Our family has benefited in countless ways through joining the CSA, and I highly recommend anyone considering it to just go for it. At first it may feel like you have gotten in over your head, but there is something to the meditative practice of unpacking, cleaning and preparing fresh, organic food grown locally and ethically. The heart that goes into growing it shares the heart that goes into preparing it, ultimately feeding the hearts that are consuming it.