Wednesday, September 10, 2008

One CSA Sharer's Story

Hi! My name is Jayne. I’ve been a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) sharer for some time now, and I’m going to appear on Val’s Cincinnati Locavore blog from time to time to give you a sense of what it’s like to be a CSA sharer. Below is a little piece I wrote in Sept, 2003 for the Turner Farm CSA newsletter. Tells you where I’ve been on this journey:

One Sharer’s Story……
I became a Turner Farm sharer in 1996 –really through no effort of my own. A friend had seen an article in City Beat about the farm and approached my husband and I about joining together. Seeing it more as an opportunity to get together regularly with some close friends, my husband and I signed on with no predetermined expectations about what it would be like to be a CSA sharer. Seven years and two (and a half) children later, I have found that being a part of Turner Farm continues to enrich my life in a variety of ways, even though those friends have since moved away and my husband has relinquished all sharer responsibilities to me.

Growing up in suburbia, I had little appreciation of the work it takes to grow your own vegetables, let alone run an entire farm. I was more than a little impressed at seeing ripe asparagus and prickly okra on the plant. And I remember a particularly beautiful day in October in one of my first seasons when I was harvesting purple wax beans from the vine. I believe I came close to achieving a state of Zen that day – with the sun on my skin, moving slowly down the row on my little wheeled cart, my mind at peace. Participating in this type of soul-satisfying work was such a welcome change from my usual fast-paced life.

And then there were the vegetables. My novice kitchen had never seen the likes of Swiss chard, okra, turnips, and edible soybeans. Now chard (or “shard” as my daughter calls it) is my family’s favorite vegetable. As I gazed at each week’s variety of veggies, I was forced to seek out new ways to cook them and as a result, I discovered that I love to cook. Who knew? As my family grows, and life seems to consist of more things, more activities, more responsibilities, I’ve found that my connection with Turner Farm has been a wonderful antidote to it all.

Five years later, I’m still here. So while you’re still digesting the little romantic overview above, here’s a few logistics about my CSA: Turner Farm is one of those CSA’s that require all sharers to work a certain number of hours each season (fostering that community part of a CSA). Our summer season runs from May 15 – Oct 15 each year, and we need to work a total of 44 hours, that’s 2 per week. For the past 8 years, I’ve created the shareholder newsletter to fulfill the majority of my work hours. This has worked out well during a period in my life that included three pregnancy-through-toddler stages, when my productivity in the fields was somewhat limited. Now that my kids are old enough to be of some actual help (well, sort of), I’m happy to be back in the dirt on occasion. I pick up my weekly share each Thursday, and that pretty much determines what’s on my dinner table for that week. Turner is a vegetable CSA – we’ve had a couple forays into fruits (raspberries one year, yummy melons another), but the fruit hasn’t been a rousing success so far. That’s fine – the veggies keep me busy enough.

Well, now that I’ve introduced myself – I’ll be back to share more of my adventures as a CSA sharer.


valereee said...

Jayne, welcome! We're glad to have you join the team!

Carolyn said...

Great Blog!

Just surfin' the Blogs and found you. I wanted to say Hi and nice blog.

Stop by and visit me sometime....


chardlover said...

Carolyn, Thanks!! Good to hear from you. Love your blog - look forward to making those caramel apple bars!