Ever wonder why you buy a “share” of produce from the farm? A CSA farm sells “shares” of produce to the community. These shares provide the farm with capital for operating expenses before the produce is harvested. It saves the farmer from having to rely solely on the farmers market, assures them their produce will be sold, and guarantees an income rain or shine for the farm. In other words, a CSA gives small, family owned farms a chance to make it.
The USDA defines CSA as: “… a community of individuals who pledge support to a farm operation so that the farmland becomes, either legally or spiritually, the community’s farm, with the growers and consumers providing mutual support and sharing the risks and benefits of food production. Typically, members or “share-holders” of the farm or garden pledge in advance to cover the anticipated costs of the farm operation and farmer’s salary. In return, they receive shares in the farm’s bounty throughout the growing season, as well as satisfaction gained from reconnecting to the land and participating directly in food production. Members also share in the risks of farming, including poor harvests due to unfavorable weather or pests. By direct sales to community members, who have provided the farmer with working capital in advance, growers receive better prices for their crops, gain some financial security, and are relieved of much of the burden of marketing. “
Sounds amazing, right? What could be better? Buying locally; eating organic, super-fresh food; supporting a small farm; helping the local economy.
Many of you voted in that poll a few months ago that you were so grateful to be a part of the Monroe’s CSA that you’d be happy to help with some volunteering. A great way to help out would be to volunteer to help at the Harvest Festival on September 20th (watch for details in the newsletters), and while at the festival, remind each other to take only the U-Pick crops on the list the Monroe’s give us. The other crops will be for our shares in the coming weeks, and for the Monroe’s to take to market (since they still need to sell that produce too)!
Farming is a risky business. So much depends on the weather and good timing! Added to that, organic farming means there are no pesticides, so there’s a risk of insects as well. I’m so glad Jerry knows what he’s doing and he is masterfully making sure we get the very best every year! We have made wise investments buying a share with the Monroe’s!
How about those melons! Jerry’s been bringing on the most beautiful melons this year. The yellow watermelons are my favorite. And from time to time Jerry’s been known to accidentally drop a melon near the kids when the working members are out there. Too bad it has to be eaten right away!
Here’s a recipe my mom shared with me recently, and just in time! Not that watermelon isn’t great on its own, but here’s a refreshing way to use it, and it’s a perfect side dish for your next barbeque!
3 cups chopped watermelon
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 tablespoons lime juice (about 1 lime)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped green onion
1-2 tablespoons chopped jalapeño pepper (to taste)
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
After chopping, drain excess juice from watermelon in a colander. Combine melon in a large bowl with green pepper, lime juice, cilantro, green onion, jalapeño and garlic salt; mix well. Refrigerate 3 hours. Serve with corn or potato chips!
How incredible is this week’s share!??! So pretty with those pale green banana peppers, vivid watermelons, and gorgeous eggplant!
Last year when we got eggplant in our share, we weren’t quite sure what to do with it. The only way I’d ever seen it prepared was in eggplant Parmesan. I needed options people!
So I started researching a few recipes. One of the best I’ve found was called ‘Whole-Wheat Pasta with Roasted Eggplant and Tomatoes’ from the Great Food Fast cookbook by Everyday Food. I’ve made it quite a few times and come up with this variation. It’s my husband’s favorite way to eat purple food!
1 large eggplant, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 large onion, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
2 cups cherry tomatoes, or a few Roma tomatoes roughly chopped
2 small or 1 large zucchini, sliced into bite-sized pieces
coarse salt and fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 lb whole-wheat penne pasta
2-3 TBS capers (to taste)
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1. Preheat the oven to 450. In a medium 9×13 pan, combine the eggplant, onion, tomatoes, zucchini, and oil; Season with salt and pepper, to taste; toss well to coat. Roast about 30 minutes, tossing mixture halfway through.
2. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water according to the package instructions – do not over cook. Reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water; drain the pasta and return it to the pot.
3. Add the roasted eggplant mixture, capers, and Parmesan. Toss to coat, add the reserved pasta water, if desired to make a sauce. Serve immediately, sprinkled with more cheese.
Serves 4-6. Total time: 45 minutes.
What about you? How do you enjoy your eggplant?
Hey there friends of the Farm! Just wanted to introduce myself. I’m Anisa Schell, and I’ve been a Monroe-aholic for 2 years now. 😉 My family and I joined the farm in 2008 and, like many of you, fell in love with the awesome organic produce that we get weekly from Jerry and Jacquie.
Last year I signed up to be a working member because I wanted to see for myself what people did on a farm every day. My husband, Rick, hoped that doing this last year would get the dream of owning a farm out of my system, but I think it only deepened the desire. And this year, he had the opportunity to work a few weeks as well, and he loved it just as much as I did!
I am fortunate enough to be a stay-at-home mom with my two kiddos. This allows me to be a working member, and the boys (Henry, age 2, wearing the skull hat & Emmett, age 7 weeks, wearing green tye dye) get to come along for the ride. That’s me in that picture, wearing the baby. Henry’s been having a blast this summer catching toads and bugs and feeding the pigs each week as we fill the shares for all the members.
We live in downtown Englewood, so we carpool up to Kersey on our “farm day” with another working member from Littleton. We also have chickens in our backyard, in my tiny effort to turn our house into a wannabe farm. 😉
So there’s a little back story on me. BUT this blog is about YOU and about our awesome CSA! So… stay tuned for my next post about this week’s produce. I can’t wait to get to know the other members of Monroe’s CSA. Thanks to Brandon & Jacquie for letting me contribute!
Oh, and one more thing: the best part about blogging is that it is interactive! So if you see a post you like, leave a comment! If you have a question, leave a comment! If you want to see more of something…. leave a comment!