Reviews for: Karl's Farm
A Lesson in Persistence
By: Catharin Dalpino (Dec 2, 2012)
2012 was an historic year for weather on the East Coast: a severe drought followed by a late-season hurricane. Throughout it, Karl and Paula managed (with no small amount of scrambling) to keep our weekly baskets full of a variety of vegetables. The year was yet another object lesson in the advantages of having a CSA subscription: you have a personal stake in the weather and a more intense awareness of the impact of weather on the food on your table. Kudos to Karl and Paula for coming through under such trying circumstances.
Each year of the CSA encourages the development of new skills to manage the variety and abundance of vegetables that appear at our door,and to extend the year beyond its formal December close. This year I learned to pickle and was surprised by how easy it is. We have jars of pickled turnips, beets, rutabagas, daikon, okra and jalapenos to see us through the winter, as well as pastes made from greens sauteed with shallots in our freezer, to use in sandwiches, pastas and soups.
This is our fourth year with Karl and Paula's CSA and there is no question that we will be signing up for a fifth. And a sixth. And a seventh...
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!
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.
healthy wealthy and wise
By: Mary Wilson (Dec 17, 2010)
I second the rave reviews by the six previous reviewers. I love my vegetable basket delivery from Karl's Farm and can't wait for the spring season. The weekly delivery of fresh vegetables prompts us to eat better. It's fun trying new vegetables and developing new ways to serve old favorites. And, ultimately, I think it saves us money because my husband and I are motivated to stay home and cook the fresh harvest rather than go out to eat or get delivery. Also, I enjoy the weekly newssheet that comes with the vegetables, with news of the farm, or a suggested recipe for that week's vegetables.
Lovely veggies at my door!!!
By: Kristen Grieninger (Dec 1, 2010)
This is the end of our third year with Karls Farm CSA and they continue their remarkable service. I love the fact that we get a good variety of such fresh produce week after week delivered right to us. We have gotten things we have never heard of or seen before, Hon Tsai Tai being a new one this year. Karls Farm along with other share holders help alot to come up with good interesting uses and recipes for such items. The mysteries of farm shares from Karls Farm make for a nice surprise and introduce new delicious and interesting produce into our diet. I loved the sweet potatoes this year they were lovely for our Thanksgiving dinner and they arrived fresh that same week! Karls Farm is also very accommodating when it comes to deliveries and changes in our schedule.
We have been getting their summer and fall shares for 3 years and it's always sad when the year comes to an end, but we look forward to another year and more surprises in our baskets.
Great Veggies from Karl's Farm
By: Susan Gustafson (Oct 11, 2010)
I joined Karl's CSA in the fall of 2009. I choose to pick up my half share on Fridays. Penny and I were really surprised at the amount and assortment of veggies we received. We learned to eat many things that we had never heard of before. It was a great experience and we feel so much healthier. I find Paula to be very responsive to any questions I have thru E-mail or Facebook. This summer has been so dry that the harvest was not as plentiful as everyone wanted, but I had the same problem with the veggies I grew at my home too. Too much heat and no water does not make a good harvest. Karl's still managed to provide us with enough to get by each week. I'm looking forward to the fall and next year. Thanks for your great harvest!
By: Michele Gaidelis (Jan 24, 2010)
My partner and I decided to try a CSA last year and chose Karl's Farm. The original reason we went with Karl's Farm was the delivery option. For two busy adults, there would not have been any other way. Every Friday we were greeted with a wonderful assortment of seasonal veggies! I am very impressed with the quality and the amount of food. The half-share was more than enough for the two of us and it allowed us to try veggies we had never tried or even heard of as well as some old standards. We are both always looking for new recipes to try and having an assortment of veggies to work with allowed us to expand our culinary skills. Thank you so much and I cannot wait until our Spring/Summer share starts. :-)
I highly recommend these guys.
Best-looking vegetables I've ever seen
By: Shannon M (Jan 3, 2010)
The vegetables they send are just gorgeous. Fresh, flavorful and huge. Paula is a sweetie and so easy to deal with. And having it delivered is so convenient, beats fighting the crowds at the Farmer's Market any day.