Union Garden CSA

Thursday June 21st was the first week of the Union Garden CSA pickup. CSA, as I am constantly forgetting, stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and essentially means that members buy a tiny share in a local farm. More information can be found at the FDA site and the Organic Consumers Association site.

I should admit right off the bat that I am not a member of the Union Garden CSA. I went with my friend Sharon to pick up her share of vegetables, fruit, and flowers. It was, in a word, awesome.

The vegetables in the first week were purple scallions, French radishes, red lettuce, Boston lettuce, and one of two varieties of basil plants, either lemon basil or purple basil. The purple basil won. Too pretty to pass up. The flowers were bell-like, violently purple blossoms, which were identified by the CSA workers, when asked, as “pretty.” Some internet research led me to believe they might be Pasqueflowers. What’s that you say? Pasqueflowers only grow in a few remote areas of England? Okay, so the flowers remain a mystery. But they were in fact, pretty. Here’s my best guess on a flower that grows in the U.S.

Essentially the CSA member buys a portion of the fruits of a farm or multiple farms, then the produce (or flowers, or eggs, or whatever) is shipped to a location where the members pick it up. In the case of the Union Garden CSA, just a few blocks from my house.

There are a few rules that must be followed. You have to pick up your food during the window of time that the volunteers are available, usually a few hours on one day of the week, i.e. 2-6 on Thursday. Another is that you must volunteer. Most CSAs require a shift or two each season, but the shifts are short and the jobs are undemanding ones, like placing a check mark near the names of members who have arrived to pick up their goods.

And the produce itself was consummately fresh and in excellent condition, harvested the morning it was sent to Brooklyn, and handled with a tremendous amount of care.

Sharon was gracious enough to bring her spoils to my house, and we made an orange, radish mint salad with purple scallions on a bed of red lettuce. Yum! And the chard that I forgot to mention earlier we cooked down with some canellini beans and served over toasted sweet brown rice. Double yum. It was a dinner that tasted of sunshine and the outdoors. And the strawberries I forgot to mention (how could I??) were macerated with a little sugar and we served them with mint and whipped cream.

The four of us (Sharon, her husband Richard, my husband Evan, and I) enhanced our enjoyment of the meal with the help of a few bottles of wine. Spring was ushered out, and now summer’s here.

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