Farmer's Garden

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A real gem

By: Monica VB    (Sep 9, 2010)

While I am quite familiar with CSAs, I travel a lot for work, so have always just picked up friend's shares while they were away, or envied my coworkers. But when I saw a brochure at Equal Exchange cafe for the summer, I took the plunge and signed up for Farmer's Garden. Now I'm the one making my friend's jealous!

The price of course, is completely fair, especially when considering the length of the share (20 week and 10 week options). And although they don't deliver directly to my house, walking to Equal Exchange is always a delightful highlight of my week and a chance to get out of the office and into the sun for 20 minutes.

The amount of produce is very generous. I admit that I split with another single coworker, and I'm glad that I do because carrying that many vegetables home on transit would be cumbersome. I easily have enough vegetables for me and a guest for 5 dinners with 5 lunches of leftovers each week.

The customer service is excellent. One week I forgot to check my name off the pickup list and received a call early that evening from the farm asking if I had received my share for the day. So speedy! When I was placing the order at the beginning of the summer, I had a few questions, and they were always answered right away.

The quality is, of course, spectacular. The produce is picked within 24 hours of delivery, and you can tell. Even in this terribly hot summer, my squashes kept all the way through the week so I was still eating tasty fresh veggies the day before the next delivery. Radishes were extra spicy the way I like them. Tomatoes were a little under-ripe, but flavorful after a few days. Beets were on the small side, but super tasty. Stand outs include the corn, white eggplant, parsnips, and red leaf lettuce.

The variety is the real winner here. I started to create some genuine envy amongst my friends when bragging on the diversity of my CSA. Same goes for my coworkers who had to watch my haul come in every week! There are regularly 10+ different types of produce in the share. This gives great flexibility and creativity when making meals. If I had to make 6 dishes with potatoes and shallots each week, I would go nuts. But no, one dish with sweet potatoes, one with kale, one with apples, one with peppers, one with butternut squash, the list goes on. And it started with the first week and the variety has continued in strength the entire summer.

In short, I'm going to be sad when my Farmer's Garden CSA comes to an end. My life will have to go back to over-priced bland produce and takeout containers. I'll just start collecting inspirational recipes in anticipation of the wonderfulness of next year.....

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