One. It is a lot of work. Each Saturday, the CSA has to be picked up and the vegetables prepared within a day or two so that they don't go bad. For the most part we did a great job of using or preserving most everything. We lost a few things, mainly leafy vegetables and a few of the herbs.
The Earliest Field Tomatoes
Two. It is an unbelievable experience to thnk back on how the market changes from early spring until late fall. In early spring there were lettuces, apples stored from last year, rhubarb, chard, greens, and garlic scapes. As the spring continued, strawberries and blueberries started getting added and the varieties of greens exploded. Starting with early summer, carrots came in with the first onions, turnips and other hardy root vegetables. Some of the hothouse tomatoes became more numerous. As the summer drew on, the greens receded, root vegetables continued, plums and berries came and diminished, and finally the corn came through. By the way, the tomatoes... oh my goodness, the tomatoes. At their best they rivaled my father's from the Oakdale House garden. I absolutely loved them. As we are heading to the close of the outdoor season, apples in all there varieties are to the fore and the leaf vegetables make their reappearance. Here are some of the picture from the market:
Beginning of the Tomatoes in June
Tomatoes From the Middle of the Summer
Three. You really do get to know the farmers as you go to the stands week after week. Surely that doesn't affect nutrition or diminish the value of a good grocer on the West Side of the city. But it does help you develop a sense of your food's connection to the earth and the families that produce the food. In particular, the guy I bought pork from always had his kids helping with the sales. They may or may not have enjoyed being there, but you could really tell that the farm was a family affair.
Four. I will definitely do it again next year.
Finally, a recipe...
Finely dice 3 or 4 medium tomatoes
Finely dice 1 medium fresh onion
Finely dice 1 jalepeno pepper
Chop 5 or 6 sprigs of fresh Cilantro
Juice of one lime
Salt and pepper to taste.