Down on the Farm

Community Supported Agriculture

A few weeks ago, I blogged about our decision to buy into a “share” at a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm, The Dover Farm.  We’re now a good month into the experience and it feels like the right time to post an update.

Each Tuesday, we drive (just under 5 miles from our home) to the Dover Farm, anytime between the hours of 1:00 and 5:00 PM, to pick up our weekly allotment.  The freshly harvested veggies are all lovingly placed in a shaded stand, under a blackboard where the CSA hands post friendly guidelines for us – “Please take 1 bunch of kale, a head of red lettuce, a bunch of baby bok choy…” etc.  You bring your own bag, sign in on the clipboard, and then gather your goods.

Collecting our bounty at the farm.

The produce we gather each week is delicious.  Of course it’s all fresh, fresh, fresh – but also grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers.  What’s more, we are now trying vegetables previously unknown to us – various types of cabbage, unusual lettuces, chioggia beets, fennel, and the mighty alien looking kohlrabi (a sort of turnip). Dover Farm puts recipes up on their web site that help to decipher what to do with your harvest.  And I do a bit of searching on my own.  For instance, last week our haul included a big bunch of cinnamon basil (very unusual and lovely smell).  After some searching, I found a recipe for cinnamon basil lime ice box cookies. Have to say, they were delicious and I never would have made them otherwise.

Fresh Raspberries

Last week the raspberries were ready for picking.  So we took our cardboard container and headed over to the raspberry vines.  Hot work, but very rewarding.  Each berry a little work of art – so delicate and vividly red.  I’ve been doling them out carefully all week, cognizant of the work that went into growing (and picking) each one.

On the farm.

But there are other benefits, besides the delicious food. I usually go with my college-aged son (who is home for the summer) – he drives.  We both look forward to the outing each week and plan our day around it.  Typically, we head over there in the late afternoon and always end up taking a little stroll around the farm (which is encouraged) – to see what’s growing (anticipating what we’ll get next week), visit the chickens (you can also buy freshly laid eggs), check in on the baby chicks (who seem to visibly grow each week) and get a feel for the work that’s done there.  The farm is staffed primarily by volunteers and everyone we’ve spoken with seems to love what they do and take tremendous pride in the place and the output.  I can’t help but feel good as we get back into the hot car together and head home.  I breath in the smell of all those good greens, looking out over the lovely fields, and start imagining the meal we’ll prepare together for the family.

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