Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A garden and a CSA box

“You have a garden and a CSA box?” I get that question a lot.

I have subscribed to a community-supported agriculture (CSA) box of vegetables for more than five years. While I’ve been dabbling in herbs for years, only recently did I start a vegetable garden. Because my garden is small and I have limited free time, I only plant what I want lots of: tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, basil and brussel sprouts.

On the other hand, we get a wide variety of vegetables with our CSA box from Tipi Produce. For those who don’t know what a CSA is, here’s a brief CSA primer. A CSA entails buying, or subscribing to, a local farmer for a box of vegetables every or every other week. CSA farms have various lengths of growing seasons (ours has one of the longest at 26 weeks). Some provide vegetables only, some have fruit add-ons, and others add honey, mushrooms and even meat to their boxes.

Jay and I share a box with another couple and we split a new box of vegetables every Thursday from early May through mid-November. The box in spring has lots of leafy vegetables and, as the season and plants mature, we get your typical radishes, beans and peas. Later in the season we’ll find heartier corn, potatoes and squash in our box.

But among these typical vegetables, we also get garlic scapes, arugula, Italian frying peppers, Jerusalem artichokes and celerac. Don’t know what some of these are? Neither did we. Which is precisely why despite growing a productive garden, we intend to continue subscribing to our CSA. I grow the few things I want lots of, and we never quite know what vegetable surprise we’ll find in our next box. Thanks Tipi Produce for another great year of veggies.