Monday, July 26, 2010

Marinara, bruschetta, oh my, tomato pie!

Fittingly, my friend Jenny submitted a lovely photo of some tomatoes - with an equally lovely story - on the day I harvested our first bunch of tomatoes from our garden. It's a very tomato-y day!

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Jenny's {every}nothing tomatoes are from a farm she can nearly walk to (despite living in a relatively urban area). She took her two daughter's on a tour and let's just say - fun was had! Aside from the amazing purpose of the farm - "a not-for-profit, organic farm that provides inclusive employment opportunities for adults with developmental disabilities" there is even better news to report. Their CSA (community supported agriculture - see below if you need more info) is so popular there is a lottery system for shares. Now, I realize that that could be quite frustrating for those who want local, organic food...but...how amazing! How wonderful! How great a testament to the public at large that we can create demand for a small farm so great that they can flourish, and, in fact, have a waiting list! One of the farms in my community has the same sort of demand and issues. Such a shame. Such a glorious, glorious shame!

Our local farm has such amazing abundance that they actually glean the extras from the fields with help from volunteers and give the fresh, organic produce to local food pantries. Also, such a shame, no?

Tomatoes1

Our starter plants for tomatoes this year came from a combination project of the local school and the local farm working together to educate the children about all things ecological and to raise necessary funds for their education. Every year there is an organic plant sale and the kids, their parents, volunteers and teachers get together to sell off tons of starter plants - and we take advantage! This year we have some plum tomatoes, sungold and black cherry tomatoes.

Tomatoes2

ABOUT CSAs: A CSA is basically buying shares of a farm's produce and bounty in advance. You pay a fee for a certain number of shares of the harvest. Every week, every other week, or whatever pre-arranged agreement is set forth, you go and pick up your 'shares' - usually a box of goods. Our CSA runs weekly from May through October. Some CSAs are purchased by season, by variety or offering (vegetables, meat, cheeses, eggs, honey, flowers, fish, etc) - so, while the setup and final products vary the idea is still the same: you pay, in advance, so that the farmer can purchase seeds or what they need. Then, as their products are ready for market, you get first dibs on all the lovely offerings of produce and more. A CSA is a great way to support your farmers, get variety into your routine, help nurture a healthy local economy, and re-establish personal relationships that influence and readjust your relationship with food (you'll be shocked at how much less waste there is when you know exactly where things came from).

Personally, I suggest everyone try a CSA at least once. I'm pretty sure you won't go back though - it's amazing what attaching a personal relationship can do for your relationship to food.

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