Supporting Local Food & Farmers

Friday, April 15, 2011 - 
A few weeks ago, the IndySpectator published an article about Community Supported Agriculture (CSA).  Ever since our friends Mallory & Ryan had signed up for a CSA last year, I've been bugging hubs to get in on it so we could have a veggie box of our own.  And after the article came out, it reminded me that I still wanted one.  Thus, the Ahrens' purchased their very own CSA for the spring.

You may ask, what is a CSA? I'm a huge fan of farmer's markets, and this is another way that you can support your local farmer's and the community of food producers.  Essentially, you purchase a "share" of a local farmer's produce and for that price, receive a bounty of fruit, veggies, herbs and other local items.  Programs can vary by weeks (ours is 7 for the Spring) and by price points, as well as items offered.  These bountiful boxes can be delivered directly to your door or you can pick them up at the farm or a local shop.

After some research, I settled on a local farm in Zionville, IN called Valentine Hill Farm.  This particular CSA worked for us because of the price point (around $17 a week) and because of the pick-up location, which is at the delicious Trader's Point Creamery (go there for brunch if you haven't - delish).  Another reason we picked it was because of the options.  They had four:
  • Small share (for two people)
  • Small share (for two people) including bread
  • Large share (for four people)
  • Large share (for four people) including bread
I was extremely interested in the bread, because you could get freshly made loaves of bread, English muffins, homemade pasta or pies.  Delicious, but not necessary for us.  Since we enjoy making our own pasta and hubs is one fantastic baker, we decided to stick to the small share sans carbs.  I signed us up, and our first weekend pickup was this past Saturday.  I was in Chicago for work and a friend's bridal shower, and hubs was working, so bestie Mel came to the rescue and picked up the veg box for us.  Plus, she sent me this photo to get me all excited for Sunday menu planning (a ritual in the Ahrens' household).  And can I just note it came in a Charles Shaw wine box?  Veggies in a wine box?  My kind of veggies!

What was in the lovely veg box?  Spinach, mache, baby Little Gem romaine lettuce, kale, wild chives, and cilantro.  I love not knowing what we'll get - it is all fresh and in season which makes the pending weekend menu planning that much more fun to me.  And Valentine Farm sends a newsletter with 3-4 recipes that you can try with your new produce.  Honestly, what is there not to love?

We are still in debate if we'll continue through the summer.  You may wonder, "Why Angie, you love your CSA veg box!?" but it is because we also love to frequent the farmer's markets.  Taking a quick bike ride down the Monon to the Carmel Farmers Market is one of our favorite summer activities.  And we are still getting fresh and local ingredients, all while supporting the local community. So, I guess we'll see...

Stay tuned for all the great cooking we get from this new adventure.  Not to mention, future photos of veggie box excitement.  Can you tell I'm excited? I hope you are too!