We just got our first CSA delivery! For anyone who doesn’t know, CSA stands for Community-Supported Agriculture. Otherwise known as a farm share, CSAs are gaining popularity for their support of local agriculture and their awesome fresh organic produce. I’d looked into joining one three or four years ago, but at the time there were few choices in San Diego and those only offered large boxes which were prohibitively expensive (and far too much food for one person).
Fast forward to two and a half weeks ago, when hubby and I were walking through the Hillcrest Farmer’s Market. We started seeing that, at every other booth or so, they were advertising various CSAs. Several of my friends have joined up lately, too, and so I mentioned that we really should consider one. My husband leaped at the idea and before we left the Farmer’s Market we’d decided to do a bit of research. By the end of the day we’d decided on joining up with Farmer Steve.
If you’ve been doing research in San Diego for a CSA, you probably won’t have heard of him. He’s got no website, and if you Google him, you’ll come up with nada (well, except perhaps for this post!). But he grows fruit in Ramona and has a business partner who grows veggies in Oceanside/Bonsall. He and his wife deliver fruit and veggies (and EGGS!) to you. Which was just about enough to make us sign up on the spot (most CSA boxes need to be picked up at central locations, which may or may not stay open late enough for you to pick them up!!! Farmer Steve will also bring boxes to at least Hillcrest, just in case you won’t be home). But when we got home and started comparing the prices, we decided that his price of just $45 every two weeks (for a box of fruit + a box of veggies + a dozen eggs) was a value we couldn’t pass up.
Disclaimer: I am neither employed by nor getting anything free from Farmer Steve, okay? And I can’t vouch for whether his prices might go up at any point in the future, or whether he’ll stop home delivery… I’m just so excited I can’t stand it!
Anyway, our first box was supposed to come on Monday, but there was a crossed communication line. So they rescheduled with us to come by today. Farmer Steve himself (an incredibly personable guy, by the way, that both of us liked instantly, another reason we decided to go with his CSA) delivered my boxes to my door. And LOOK at the haul we got!
Yes, this all came from our $45 share.
- 18 oranges/tangerines (I think 6 of them are tangerines and the rest oranges, but there are 3 different types)
- 1 large grapefruit (I’m not sure but I think it might be Oro Blanco… Despite my aversion to grapefruit – I think it tastes sort of like cat pee smells – I am determined to try a wedge, pith-off, with a little salt… I’ll post how it goes!)
- 6 lemons
- 6 avocados (3 of one type, 2 of another, and 1 giant one… the 3 small ones are smooth-skinned and the large one is not the softball-shaped one, but still looks like it might be an heirloom)
- 1 extra-large tomato (IN APRIL!) and 2 small ones
- 1 purple mystery fruit*
- 3 baskets strawberries (these smell AMAZING!!!)
- 1 basket brown mushrooms (OMG, I had no clue these could be grown successfully in SD County!)
- 2 medium zucchini
- 3 ears corn
- 1 bunch (11) carrots
- 1 bunch (7) beets
- 1 bunch beautiful red lettuce
- 3 small bunches spinach
- 1 dozen free-range brown eggs
Now, if you’re new to the concept of a CSA, there’s one more thing you need to know. Unlike a Farmer’s Market, where you get to pick and choose what you get, CSAs put together a box of whatever they’ve harvested that week (or two weeks, or what have you), and everyone gets some. Typically everyone who is a part of that CSA gets the same share, but sometimes it’ll vary, depending on what they have. The point is that you might get fruit or veggies you don’t like or haven’t tried yet. Once this would have probably scared me (as a kid, I could count the veggies I regularly ate – and we had veggies every night, but just not a huge variety – on two hands). Now? I’m so excited! It gives me an opportunity to taste new things, and in their best possible states (um, hello? fresh and organic?). Joining a CSA does involve a certain willingness to try new things, though – or a friendship with someone adventurous to whom you can give what you don’t like! Luckily, hubby and I have been on a “trying new things” kick for a while, and I’ve discovered 8 or 10 vegetables over the last 2 years that I’d never tried and LOVE now (including 3 just this year).
I cannot WAIT to have the eggs (I actually think I’ll make eggs for dinner… Perhaps with a gratin or something on the side… Hubby and I LOVE fresh eggs!). I know how I can use just about everything (except the mystery fruit), but I have to admit that my love for beets is less than a year old, and any time I’ve bought them (which has only been once or twice) we’ve eaten them raw… So if anyone has any beet recipes they’d like to share, I’m all ears!
Oh yeah, I forgot to share Farmer Steve’s contact info. You can only call him (he doesn’t have e-mail, at least public e-mail). His number is (760) 751-0805. I don’t know if it’ll make any difference at all, and I certainly haven’t told him that I was planning to blog about it so it might come as a surprise to him, but if you do call him please tell him Elisa sent you – if nothing else I’d like him to know how very happy I am to be a part of the CSA!
*Mystery solved: it’s a passion fruit! Thanks Helena! 🙂 Can’t wait to try it!