Spring is practically around the corner, and the amazing and fantastically abundant outdoor Farmer’s Market season commences here in Madison on April 18th. Technically that is still a month away…it’s never too early to start a countdown, right? While I am super excited to resume selecting my produce directly from the farmer’s that cultivate the locally grown fresh treats, this year I also want to try supporting the local farm efforts by investing in a CSA box. I have always loved the challenge of cooking what’s in season, and this feels like a healthy new direction to explore. Who can argue with fresh picked and hand selected vegetables? And as you can see from the empty greenhouse…I will also be trying a new approach to a kitchen herb garden by implementing an outdoor strategy that does not involve a all-you-can-eat snack bar for the cat. (We have not yet told the cat…)
In Wisconsin, we are extremely lucky to have a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) coalition that allows you to search a large number of registered farms relatively quickly: [http://www.csacoalition.org/about-csa/how-it-works-faqs/]. If you live outside of WI, I would suggest looking for a similar organization in your state, or for a little general help, try this site:[http://www.localharvest.org/csa/].
As I alluded to, I started with a large number options and through carefully reviewing typical crop choice and online customer reviews; at the end of my research I was able to narrow it down to 5. I have been patroning the Dane County Farmer’s Market since I was a child, and know first hand some of the vendors I wanted to partner with. It was so hard to choose! Honestly the final decision tie-breaker came down to the delivery sites and pick-up days/times…plus each one we selected has a 1/2 portion or small box share, yielding a better chance to evaluate both offerings and ultimately help us decide which one to go with next year. So for 2015 we are trying:
The other options I liked were:
*also has punch cards, allowing you to pick your selections personally at the market
*also has punch cards, and I am most likely going to buy a few…the beets, Jerusalem artichokes, edible flowers and greens they grow are awesome and not to be missed
*also has egg shares, you can go in for every week or every other week
I look forward to sharing my cooking adventures and would love to hear from anyone else attempting an eat local type challenge. Just 4 days left until the OFFICIAL start of Spring!