Welcome to the ripe earth! If you are interested in cooking with fresh local food, this is the site for you. Each week I’ll post recipes that I’ve developed using the produce I pick up at my local farmers’ markets and through my membership in a Community Supported Agriculture group.
This is the fifth year I’ve been a member of a CSA in my hometown of Sleepy Hollow, New York. For years I’ve had the idea of writing a blog associated with my CSA membership but the time just never seemed right. Earlier on my kids were just too young for me to take on a project like this. Then eventually my writing contracts pulled my attention away (pesky paid work). The time is finally right and I’m so excited to get this project off the ground.
While a lot of you visiting this blog are members of our CSA, for those of you who aren’t (and there’s plenty here for you even if you aren’t), I thought I’d give a brief description of what Community Supported Agriculture is all about. Essentially, a CSA is an alternative economic model for supporting local agriculture. This subscription-based model is designed to provide upfront operating costs for a farm moving into its growing season. By investing in the farm before the onset of the harvest, the subscribers (that is the community) agree to take part in the risks (and rewards) associated with this harvest. Each week throughout the growing season, the subscribers pick up their “share” of the harvest. CSAs first began operating in the United States about 30 years ago and have grown in popularity as consumers have become more mindful about the sources of the food they eat.
CSAs provide a classic “win-win” scenario: high quality local food at a great price for the subscribers and a guaranteed market and lower operating risks for the farm. Less obvious are the community building benefits of a CSA. I love that I can walk up the street with our little red wagon and my kids in tow to pick up a load of fresh vegetables for the week. I love that I’ll meet my neighbors along the way. And I love that there are still small farms out there that are making it against high odds.