Belated thoughts on (winter) CSAs

This summer is our second year with Noble Gardens. Last winter we had our first CSA with Eagle Creek for eggs & veggies and it just wasn’t the same, it turned out… obviously. Winter veggies just aren’t as diverse as in the summer because traditionally you need to be able to store these things for months at a time to keep you fed through the winter. The eggs we loved, but we got so many bags of potatoes and carrots. We got other veggies, too, of course: some squashes (pumpkins, acorn squash, butternut, etc) & cabbages, a few really intriguing vegetable specimens like kohlrabi & Jerusalem artichokes and some great garlic.

Our diet is not one that uses root veggies (okay, tubers) as the main source of carbohydrates and as a result, we discovered that we just can’t eat that many bags of carrots or potatoes. For us, serving mashed or roasted potatoes with a meal is usually seen as something of a special occasion because I make The Hubbs’ favourite meal: roast chicken with mashed potatoes, roasted root veggies, stuffing, and lots of gravy. It’s not a meal I make on a regular basis, so when I do make the roast chicken dindin, I want to make him feel extra-special… and I guess it really is an extra special meal since we rarely buy chicken, anyhow.

As to what we normally consume to bulk up a meal along with our conscious attempts at eating lots more veggies, we usually consume various forms of rice or rice noodles, occasionally pasta and sometimes even bread. Obviously I don’t have any kind of “hardy European” lineage in my blood seeing as I can’t stomach the idea of having potatoes more than a couple times a month :P Trying to figure out how to consume those 5 pounds of potatoes every two weeks with our winter CSA was really difficult and I’m not gonna lie: I am very sad and horrified to admit that we ended up with a lot of rotten, wasted and mouldy veggies which is something that I absolute abhor. Food waste absolutely breaks my heart and it’s just a horrible waste of so many resources of all kinds.

Now that we’ve had the experience of a winter CSA, would we do it again? I don’t know.

We’ve had four different CSA experiences under our belts, and The Hubbs has discovered that he is more comfortable with some farm families than he is with others, and as a result, feels more comfortable to support those farmers, first and foremost, over the ones he can’t quite jive with. This is sort of one of the reasons why I am hesitant on making a decision regarding a winter CSA… and yes, I realize that we have literally only just begun our summer CSA and I am thinking about what our winter options are!

I really want to say yes, but I’m kind of leaning more towards the no because of last year’s experience. If Noble Gardens offered us an opportunity for a winter CSA, something they mentioned they might be considering for winter 2013/2014 when we talked about it last fall, The Hubbs & I will have to have a serious discussion about it. I would like to think we might take it, but if our only option is to go with the CSA from Eagle Creek like we did last year, I think we might have to decline and contend with grocery shopping once a week like the rest of the world does for their veggies. Truth be told, having just realized that the grocery store is our only option, I’m feeling a little ill for some reason. Taking part in a CSA and not making full use of it is a lot of money to literally be throwing away, and I don’t know that I could do another winter of trying to eat all those potatoes & carrots — we might also, very seriously, be faced with as much food wastage as we did last year and that’s not a good thing.

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2 thoughts on “Belated thoughts on (winter) CSAs

  1. I agree that potatoes can be a bit tough to use up. I tend to use them as my “pot luck” dish and take roasted potatoes everywhere we get invited. The carrots are easier though. My kids take raw carrots in the lunches. We juice them, put them in salads and only occasionally have a cooked carrot meal.

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