Salivating in anticipation of 2010
By: Veronica Dunlap (Mar 21, 2010)
I joined Three Rivers in 2009. I loved it and can't wait for the 2010 season to begin.
Amy and Segue do several things that really enhance the experience.
Pickup: You can pick up your vegetables on one of two days, and you can decide weekly which day you wish. You are not tied to one particular day for the season. I had a full membership, but those with 1/2 memberships (13 weeks) could choose which 13 weeks to pick up their vegetables - just show up and sign in.
Selection: You select what you want. Amy and Segue have a blackboard on which they write any limits on a particular vegetable for that week. Sometimes you leave with 2 bags of veggies. Other times you leave with 2 bags of veggies, all the green beans, cherry tomatoes, basil, dill, and oregano you can pick, plus a bunch of cut flowers and a melon.
A few pick your own: Amy, Segue, and their apprentices work very hard to plant, raise, and harvest the food. At pick up, you choose from several tables loaded with food ALREADY PICKED. There are a few foods, though, that are a pick-your-own. Among those are strawberries, peas, green beans, cherry tomatoes, the herbs, and flowers. There's just enough to pick to be a joy, and there's plenty of food if you chose not to pick.
The food: Organically grown and non-GMO, the food is healthy and delicious. Much of the food can be eaten raw. Other things you really have to cook. Amy and Segue have recipes posted on their website and often have cookbooks available to look through during pickup. And people made some great dishes. I'm a poor cook, but I found that there wasn't much I couldn't stir fry/steam.
The cost: A full membership for 26 weeks is $500, that's under $19 a week. I was able to substantially reduce my grocery bill. I shop at Whole Foods (the produce and bin aisles only). I am grateful for a store like Whole Foods, but it is so expensive. And Whole Foods doesn't match the locally grown, direct from the field to your kitchen. After a season with Three Rivers, I was very aware of the difference.
Kids welcome: No on site babysitter. You have to watch your children, but they are welcome. They get a bang out of picking strawberries, peas, cherry tomatoes or visiting the pigs. There's also a small play area next to the barn with some toys for the little ones and a few seats for adults.
Volunteer opportunities optional: There are some volunteer opportunities, but they are not a requirement of membership.
The drawbacks: They are some weather-related risks. The green onions kept, but the bulb onions had to be used quickly. (I've forgotten the reason, moisture?). Whole Foods would have found another supplier, and the customer would have been ignorant of the problem. At Three Rivers, we used them quickly or skipped them.
Conclusion: A life changing, positive experience. You find your body turning toward spring and real food like the dial on a compass.