As you will recall from previous posts, Matt and I enjoy gardening. The past two summers we have had amazingly successful gardens that have produced far more food than we could possibly eat ourselves. However, this summer, with the purchase of a new house, we no longer have a suitable gardening spot. Our backyard is simply too shady to allow for anything to grow.
So, we were faced with the challenge of finding a way to get fresh vegetables without growing them in our own backyard. The only two options that seemed worth considering were growing vegetables ourselves in a community garden space or joining a CSA (community supported agriculture) program.
We had already tried the community garden space here last summer to augment our backyard garden, and lets just say we were less than impressed. Most everything we grew was devoured by local wildlife, and what didn’t get eaten was choked out by weeds that were impossible to keep up with. Not to mention the hassle of remembering to drive across town to water things. Apparently plants need to be watered.
Therefore, we decided to go with the CSA. Kent and Dori Baxter run Abundant Acres Farm just outside of Richmond city limits, and they offer a CSA program. A CSA or Community Supported Agriculture is a program where at the beginning of the growing season people buy shares of the farms crops and livestock and then receive them throughout the season as they are ready. The upside to this is you are able to get fresh, usually chemical-free vegetables without the time or space required to grow them yourself. The downside is you have little control over what vegetables you get, if the farm has a bumper crop of red beets, you too have a bumper crop of red beets.
Matt and I paid $633 up front, and we have received various vegetables, 1 whole chicken, and a dozen eggs each week. We will also receive a turkey at Thanksgiving. So far we have gotten a wide variety of vegetables, including but not limited to yellow squash, zucchini, green beans, potatoes, tomatoes, beets, cauliflower, carrots, radishes, strawberries, snow peas, and salad greens. All of them have been great and it has really pushed us to try new recipes.
It has been doubly convenient for us because the food has been dropped off at my office every Thursday , so I don’t have to worry about picking it up anywhere. While I still miss doing my own gardening, we will definitely continue to participate in the CSA program as long as we live in our current house. It is really a great alternative to grocery stores or growing your own.
If you want more information about CSA programs in your area, check out Local Harvest.