Karl's Farm

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It Just Keeps Getting Better

By: Catharin Dalpino    (Jan 18, 2011)

Last season was our second year with Karl's Farm, and, if possible, it was even greater than the first. Karl's hits all the marks of a great CSA in terms of quality and variety of produce, service, communication, etc., but with a few extras.

Every year there will be vegetables or herbs you've never heard of that will expand your scope and understanding of food (and your cooking skills). Or there will be varieties you have heard of but never had before. (This year we got some lemon basil which was so fragrant I couldn't bear to actually use it - I kept it in the fridge to inhale once a day). You will also learn to adjust your meal planning and your cooking to the cycles of nature - a very useful skill in a number of ways. (Chances are it will be an upward adjustment, i.e., you will be coping with surplus. This year I made a point of cooking and freezing extra veggies. This is not only frugal but also helps in the awkward period when a season ends and your mind does not quite understand that baskets of veggies will not appear magically at your door once a week. In my freezer I have pestos made from all varieties of greens; purees from beets and squash for risottos; and tomatillos and chili peppers for winter pots of chili.)

But the extras that Karl and Paula provide really make them stand out as a CSA. When they introduce new vegetables or herbs they will provide not only descriptions but also recipes. Their home delivery is invaluable for the urban client and there wasn't a single hitch in delivery. But most of all, Karl and Paula see their CSA participants as partners. Before the second season, when things were still in the seed catalogue stage, I asked about French sorrel, a lemony green that I had seen and used often in California but had never found on the East Coast, and that is ambrosial when cooked with eggs, fish or in soups. In response, Karl and Paula planted some, and it was unbelievably special to have it.

When Karl's Farm opened subscriptions for the new season I signed up immediately for both the spring/summer and the fall. Honestly, if I could take out a ten-year subscription I would.

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