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My philosophy is that we should try to eat foods as close to the way God made them as we can … with an occasional Oreo or two (all things in moderation, right?)
But after trying for years to force myself to be good at gardening, I’ve come to two conclusions:
I am happy to support local farmers instead of trying to do it all myself.
I am a terrible gardener.
You might think that the first was clearly due to the second. And you would be partly right.
I tried my hand at gardening, but admit that I never gave it my full effort. The truth is, I hate weeding. Now I know that no one enjoys weeding. But I hate it so much that I don’t do it.
Every garden I tried my hand at was overrun by the end of the season.
And did you know you get bugs on you when you garden?
But I didn’t just want to garden. I wanted my own mini-farm. Chickens and a milk cow were at the top of the list. No goats. I had a bad experience with goat meat once and I want nothing to do with them.
My desire for my hobby farm ceased, however, after I experienced life on one.
I house/child-sat for my sister who has horses, among other things. Those who love horses insist that their manure “smells like hay”. I contest. After living in the mere vicinity of manure for a weekend, I came to my conclusion that
I am happy to support local farmers with my money in exchange for not having to live with manure.
I still plant container gardens with herbs, flowers, and sometimes lettuce.
But we now support a local farm through their CSA program. Are you familiar with CSAs? Community Supported Agriculture allows me (the terrible gardener/manure hater) to supply my family with a bounty of freshly picked, locally grown vegetables all summer (and much of the fall) long.
This will be our third year participating, and it is worth every penny.
Here are the primary benefits for our family:
We eat WAY more vegetables than before we joined.
I have had enough every year to put up produce that lasts us through the winter. (Freezing, canning, and dehydrating)
We try things we might not have before.
We belong to the CSA at Brown Family Farm. I’ll bet if you did a search for CSAs near you, you’d find several to choose from!
If you are on the fence about trying a CSA, maybe this will be your push.
Here’s what I have noticed: when we have the vegetables, we eat the vegetables. Having piles of green beans that I already paid for means we’ll eat green beans every day, and try some new ways to use them. I wouldn’t necessarily buy that many, but when we get them, we eat them.
Or we freeze or can them. I get my canning pot out mid-summer and leave it in the kitchen until mid-fall. I don’t do whole days of mega-canning. I do a few jars here and there as I have extra. I have put up tomatoes, pickles, and hot peppers. I’ve also frozen corn, tomatoes, bell peppers, poblano peppers, spinach, kale, zucchini and pumpkin. (The spinach, kale and zucchini have been known to make it into my sneaky chocolate pancakes).
The feeling of pulling something out in the deep of winter that I know was frozen within days of being picked is great! Maybe it’s not as great as growing it yourself, but I’m ok with that.
Have you been thinking of trying a CSA? I say Go For It!