Consistency, Creativity - Another Great Year
By: Catharin Dalpino (Dec 2, 2011)
This is our third year with Karl's Farm and, although we had excellent first and second years, this year was even better. As always, each week we got an abundant basket of a variety of vegetables, delivered promptly to our door with a newsletter that described the contents of the basket and offered innovative recipes. (Paula's recipe for squash soup with Thai red curry was ambrosial - the soup has made a regular appearance at our dinner table since.) This is the first year that we purchased eggs, and I cannot say enough about the taste, texture and appearance of fresh eggs. (Once you have them you realize how anemic - and old - supermarket eggs are.) We bought eggs episodically this year but in our subscription next year we are going to get them on a regular basis.
There are specific reasons why Karl and Paula make wonderful partners for the urban consumer that I've noted in previous years but bear repeating. They are very responsive to members' needs and very creative in their approach to farming and to cooking and eating. And they make it easy to belong to a CSA with their home delivery service (which the vast majority of CSA's don't offer.)
This year I began to realize more of the longterm benefits of belonging to a CSA:
First, I got a better understanding of what it means to eat "seasonally." It's fashionable to do so (and doubtless better for taste and nutrition) but it's almost impossible for an urban consumer if they don't have a direct and regular link to a farm - if there are shortages in the vegetable supply in urban groceries (because of the season and/or weather) the store will simply fly produce in from other regions, even other hemispheres (at higher prices). But eating seasonally is a matter of coping with scarcity at some times and abundance at others, and I have to marvel at Karl and Paula's fast footwork that kept our baskets full week after week in a year of dramatic weather (an historic heat wave and a late-summer flood). And I learned to appreciate the bonanzas that seasonal eating can bring. We had a wonderful supply of tomatoes this year - a cook's dream - and I finally understood why Mario Batali only cooks with fresh tomatoes the three months of the year they are in season and uses good canned tomatoes the rest of the year.
In addition, a CSA membership will teach you frugality and the art (highly prized in every great cuisine) of using every part of the vegetable. In the literature of CSA's there is a fair amount of moaning among first-year members about "veggie fatigue" but it's quite easy to avoid. We settled into a routine of consigning any leftover veggies at the end of the week to the saute pan or the roasting pan, and we had ready ingredients in the refrigerator or freezer for pizzas, risottos, omlettes, frittatas, pastas, soups and all manner of sauces.
We can't wait for next season!
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