This is the the second year that we have bought a half-share of the Red Basket Farm, which is near Battle Ground. Every other weekend we receive a BIG basket of produce from Kate Rae’s CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm. Deliveries start in late spring with greens, peas and other early vegetables. With the coming of summer, our bounty diversifies and increases. Our last shipment weighed 42 pounds! There are many reasons to join a CSA. Here are 10 benefits we have enjoyed:
1. Pesticide-free, ultra-fresh vegetables. This almost goes without saying but we know that our CSA produce is grown in a safe, sustainable manner and that it is harvested right before we receive it.
2. Supporting and getting to know a farmer. Not only do we know where and how are vegetables are grown, we know WHO planted and harvested them. Kate has been known to say our names as she plants potatoes. It’s nice to know that there is a potato with your name on it! And her potatoes are fabulous when roasted with Red Basket Farm beets, carrots and onions.
3. Sharing produce with our friends and neighbors. We can’t eat all the produce we receive. So we share. Cabbages go to our German neighbor across the street. Spicy peppers go to a friend who is from Mexico. Vegetables build strong friendships!
4. Learning new cooking skills. Orach, kale, shisho greens, Swiss chard – we are learning to cook and eat in new and interesting ways. We still haven’t figured out what to do with mustard greens but we will get there someday! (See the Clark College Easy Vegetable Meals class listed below.)
5. Visiting the farm. It’s great fun to visit the 70-acre Red Basket Farm. It’s a beautiful site filled with beds of our vegetables, flowers, fruit trees and assorted animals. The surrounding countryside makes for a lovely Sunday drive and Rusty Grape Vineyard and tasting room is just down the road.
6. The BEST eggs in the world. It pains us to buy eggs in the store after eating the fresh green and brown eggs with such beautiful orange yolks. Kate’s feathered girls know what they are doing!
7. Meeting other CSA members. Each year, Kate has a beginning and end of year party. It’s great fun to meet the other members and spend time at the farm.
8. Surprise! You never know what you are going to get. This is similar but not the same as #4. It’s an adventure to pick up your veggies and not know what you are getting or, in some cases, what you have received, once you see it. It’s all about learning and being flexible.
9. Flowers. Many CSAs offer flower shares and deliver gorgeous bouquets.
10. Buying local. We buy so many things that are manufactured or grown thousands of miles away. Buying local, fresh produce is a gift to us, to the farmer and, hopefully, to the environment.
Note: On Thursday, September 24, 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., Clark College at the new CTC campus is offering an evening class “EasyVegetable Meals” with Betty Hinkle of News Seasons Market. Class members will create: Mixed Vegetable Grill with Spicy Peanut Sauce; Goat Cheese and Red Pepper Relish Sandwiches; Stir-Fried Japanese Mushroom Noodles; Roasted Root Vegetables; Gazpacho; Cauliflower Bake and Sweet Potato and Nut Bake. Cost is $85. For more information, go to Easy Vegetable Meals.
September 14, 2009 No Comments