Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sharing a Share!

Has all this talk about community supported agriculture and farmshare boxes got you thinking about trying it out?

I'm an enthusiastic CSA customer - of meat, vegetables, fish, and fruit so far (though we're skipping the fish this season) but lest you think that I'm some kind of crazy person I should mention that I've tried out all of these CSAs by sharing them with someone else at first. And added each one in gradually.

My very first season with Brookfield Farm, I think we signed up to take home a third of someone else's box - giving us a chance to choose those vegetables we thought would get eaten in our household, and to take home an amount small enough to feel managable and to adjust to how to plan my meals around which vegetables are arriving in the box that week. Hate brussels sprouts? (What's wrong with you?) Your share may be happy to take extra. Love rutabagas? You can probably bargain with you share partner to take them all home. You might want to find a partner who doesn't love and hate all the exact same things as you so that the splitting has two winners instead of a winner and a loser.

With our CSA, we moved up to half a share for a year or two, and then a full share's worth because eventually I felt confident that I wanted to cook and eat it all, and I couldn't stand seeing all that good stuff in the box and only taking half of it home. We still share our meat CSA - though in the end I take home a quantity that's about as much as having one small share, we save a bit more money per pound and get a bit more selection by having one extra-large share to divide up. I signed up for the fish share myself because it seemed like a lot of time-sensitive work to divide up a whole fish each week, and my eyes were a bit bigger than my stomach - though I did adapt eventually and we didn't waste much fish. Next time we do it, though, I've realized the best way to share it would be just to alternate weeks - one week I'd get a whole fish, the next week the next person would.

Even though the season has started by now, it may not be too late to find a friend who has a share and has decided that it's a bit more than they want to cook and eat each week. Keep your ears open and join us in cooking fabulous sustainably raised local food!

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