Keeping It Local, Part 2

So, last week, we talked about different places you can go to get local produce; farms, farmer’s markets, community gardens. But, if those aren’t options in your area, there are some other options. Namely, CSAs/Produce Delivery and home gardening.

Now, none of are currently participating in a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share, but it’s an idea we fully support. CSAs have some risk, in that if the crops don’t do as well as expected, your return on investment might not be as high. But, a worthy risk in that it supports your local agricultural system. And fun bonus? You’ll get to know fruits and veggies you’ve never met before (some of which look like aliens. I’m looking at you, kohlrabi.)

The newest thing in local produce seems to be delivery. We’ve got chicks on both coasts getting boxes of fresh veg!

Cam

When we first started this quest toward healthy eating, we were looking into joining a CSA.  During my investigation, I stumbled across Farm Fresh to You, a home delivery company that drops farm fresh veggies and fruits directly on your doorstep.  You can pick how big of a box you need, when, where, and how often it’s delivered, and you can even look up online exactly which farm your food is coming from.

Box of awesomeness

Box of awesomeness

I love, love, love being able to customize my box, especially because there are a bunch of picky eaters in this house.

It's just what I wanted!

It’s just what I wanted!

I also love that every Tuesday morning there’s a box on my doorstep, because, well, I’m busy (read lazy) and I really hate grocery shopping.

Cam2

As an added bonus, there’s always a couple recipes included with the invoice that incorporates produce you picked for your box.  How considerate is that?!?

Bec

Listen, I’d love to have a home garden, but my thumb is as black as tar. I am barely keeping the basil plant in the window alive at this point. So, what’s a busy (and gardening challenged) lady like myself to do when I want fresh produce?

Get it delivered!

It's like a present!

It’s like a present!

Like Cam, I can customize my basket. I can substitute out things I don’t like, and I can add on things like fresh eggs and bread. And bacon, I’m just saying.

BREAD

BREAD

Bec3

The absolute best nectarines in the world

The bananas aren't local, but they are organic. And bananas go like hotcakes, and sometimes go in hotcakes, around my house.

The bananas aren’t local, but they are organic. And bananas go like hotcakes, and sometimes go in hotcakes, around my house.

As much as I’d love to do a CSA, this is my preferred method of supporting my local growing community. Each week, they tell me where all my produce comes from, and give some recipes for the lesser know veggies. Like these…

Garlic scapes. If garlic grew in heaven, it would look, and taste, like this.

Garlic scapes. If garlic grew in heaven, it would look, and taste, like this.

And there’s no risk. I can cancel for the week when I go on vacation, or take a break from delivery if I’m not going to be home to cook much for a while. If you can find a produce delivery company in your area, I highly recommend checking it out!

We do have a couple of green thumbs in our group, though!

Vic

Hubs and I love to garden. We have a full acre and typically plant a 25 foot-by-25-foot garden in the backyard each spring. Hubs grew up on a farm and harvesting a garden each year is among his favorite activities.

Zucchini, tomatoes, broccoli, peppers, green beans and parsley are our favorites. Just ask the neighborhood rabbits…and squirrel…and deer.

Vic’s luscious garden midsummer in its prime. We snapped this one in 2011, before the critters became so brazen.

Vic’s luscious garden midsummer in its prime. We snapped this one in 2011, before the critters became so brazen.

Until we add a substantial fence, we decided not to plant. It’s a lot of work for few results in recent years, so we decided to table it this year.

“What’s the definition of insanity?” my husband asked. “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

It was a tough call, but it’s where we are just now. To get our fresh veggie fix, we head regularly to Rochester’s Public Market or my beloved Wegmans for delicious, local produce. And our dear neighbor has been generous enough to share his CSA share with us. We loved what we’ve tried (SNAP PEAS!!!) and find it fabulous that each share was in the ground just hours before we cart it home.

Snap peas, (my favorite!), lettuce, Swiss chard and other greens in a shared CSA haul from Vic’s neighbor.

Snap peas, (my favorite!), lettuce, Swiss chard and other greens in a shared CSA haul from Vic’s neighbor.

If we don’t have our fence installed by next spring, we’ll definitely be signing up for the CSA!

Jenn

Fresh food options in my local vicinity are much harder to find than one might assume. My area is very agricultural, and generally, pretty active and health conscious.  My little town has a farmers market, but it seems to be one-half food and one-half handmade crafts, and I’m not talking about honey or jam.

Not much going on here, folks.

Not much going on here, folks.

No one delivers out here in the not so boonies so a CSA or organic service are not options. I could get in my car and drive 10 miles east to buy the freshest seasonal fare, but that seems like it’s missing the point. I heard on NPR that eating local meant eating food that comes from within a 10 miles radius of your home. There’s a Whole Foods three miles from my office, but at my house we call it Whole Paycheck. If we wanted to eat organic and healthy and conveniently, there was one solution left.

Welcome to my home garden! I’ve never gardened before. I really have no idea what I’m doing and am relying on my husband because he has some experience in this realm of food growing.  First, we built raised bed boxes.

I got to use a hammer and drill!

I got to use a hammer and drill!

Next, we scored some fantastic compost from a local farm for TEN BUCKS. My husband and I were ridiculously excited about it and repeatedly called it beautiful.

Yep, we were happy as two pigs shoveling this…stuff.

Yep, we were happy as two pigs shoveling this…stuff.

Then, we ran to Home Depot to buy some plants and seeds. Since it’s late in the season, we focused on fall harvest plants. We also did some homework on companion planting and had a loose plan before going shopping. We decided on cucumber, zucchini, three kinds of peppers, carrots, broccoli, a blueberry bush, a slew of herbs, and bed dedicated to bee-attracting wildflowers.

The berries have grown SO MUCH already this season!

The berries have grown SO MUCH already this season!

We're planted! Not start growing, plants!

We’re planted! Not start growing, plants!

I’m SO excited to see how this works out and hope that in a few weeks, I can just go in the backyard to pick my salad greens and smoothie berries. I bet they will be the best greens and berries in the history of ever!

Do you garden? Get produce delivery? Have a CSA share? Tell us about it! And next week, we’ll give one last look into how we eat local. Enjoy! 

 

You’ve heard my thoughts! Would love to hear yours here.