One of my favorite things to do last summer was to go to the Thursday farmer's market near my office. There were produce vendors, of course, and a cheese maker, bread bakers, an organic chocolate company, and others. I'd pick up greens for salads and other fresh and/or slightly unusual vegetables for a special treat for my husband and me. And the kids, too, of course - but mostly my husband and me.
By late July, I was in the habit of finding this one farmer to pick up a bundle of squash blossoms for squash blossom fritters and a bag of pea shoots for a quick sautÃ© with a balsamic dressing. I'd get the goat cheese for the fritters from the cheese maker, and a baguette or cibatta from the bread maker. Maybe some fresh mint for mojitos. Eating our fresh treats and sipping the cold drinks on the porch on a hot summer night while the crickets sang was idyllic.Several times over the summer, my husband and I talked about shares in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms. We thought maybe we should try to get in on one next summer, and wouldn't it be great to have fresh, local and maybe even organic produce all the time. I looked up CSA farms around us, and while there are a few in the area, there aren't nearly as many as there are in the suburbs to the north and west of us. Like many people, I am starting to be more aware of eating local food. I'm reading more about ways to make the right choices, and noting where things come from. Goodness, I love my mid-winter mangoes from the local mega-mart, but the carbon impact to get it to me is high â€” oh, so high. While I don't think it's possible (right now, at least) for me to go totally local, organic and sustainable in my food purchases and still have things the kids will touch or money left in the checking account, I'm doing my best to make careful choices. It's a tricky balancing act.If I can help a little bit by joining and supporting a CSA, I think I'd like to do that. Now is the time of year to get serious about finding and joining. Some have work requirements, and some do not. All require you to pay up front. (Ever wonder about the term "seed money"? Wonder no longer!) The lists of produce available week by week last summer make my mouth water and will require me to crack some cookbooks.I think it's going to be a yummy summer.