Homemade Ontario wild blueberry jam with fresh baked spelt bread..yum! Wild blueberry jam made by the Herschberger family, the spelt bread baked by Lehr's Bakery in a wood oven.
Soooo, yesterday was my first Wednesday participating in the local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) in my hood. Never heard of it? Neither had I until I read a small write up about it in the LCBO Food and Drink magazine and checked them out online here. Basically, what it is is a commitment you make to support your local farmers by paying for a seasonal collection of wonderful farm goodies ahead of time so the farmers have a confirmed list of participants.
Every week, you go to your designated pick up location to grab that particular weeks core 'basket' (available in mini, small and large shares, accordingly to your family size and needs..) plus $10 worth of items of your choice..choices range from grass-fed beef, heritage pork, pastured lamb and goat, free range chicken and eggs, whole grain flour, maple syrup, honey and preserves, or you can fill out your share with more varieties of fruits and veggies..all produced by and from local farmers. You really can't go wrong.
I'm signed up with the Kawartha Ecological Growers, mostly due to the fact that one of their pick up locations happens to be right around the corner from where I live. You can check them out at http://kawarthaecologicalgrowers.com to read all about their program. The 'core' basket contains items that every participant receives accordingly to what's in season on the farms that week. The great thing about not picking and choosing exactly what produce items you get every week is that it forces you to open your horizons..ever notice how you leave the grocery store with exactly the same items over and over again? And you know that the produce you're leaving with was still growing in the ground the day before, not sitting in a temperature controlled trailer truck, plucked off of the mother plant weeks before natural ripening.
The pick up is open from 4pm ~ 6pm and I got there right at 4 because I was new to this and didn't want to feel rushed through explanations and such. Also because I'm greedy and wanted first dibs on everything they had out on the tables for purchase above and beyond my prepaid 'share' items. My core basket contained the following:
Asparagus (Zehr’s Produce, Amos & Nancy Lee, the Fisher Family)
Rhubarb (Kawartha Organic Produce, Alva Stoll, Amos & Nancy Lee)
‘Dancine’ Lettuce (mini buttercrunch) (The Old Tin House)
Baby cut salad greens (Wildfire mix) (Zehr’s Produce)
Celeriac (Henry & Anna Herschberger)
Popcorn (Enoch Stoll)
And with my $10 credit that's included with every weekly pickup, I grabbed a loaf of fresh baked spelt bread, a jar of homemade Ontario wild blueberry jam (yum!) and some organic pork sausages for the BBQ tonight. All with the satisfaction of knowing that I'm supporting our local Ontario farmers and having some damn good eat'ns tonight! It's not too late to join the summer program or consider joining the winter program this fall. It really is nice to know who your farmer is. :)
xo Blue Gnome