When Life Gets in the Way

So, it has been 5 months since my last blog entry.  I have posted on projects and food, but seem to have gotten side tracked on posting about the garden itself.

I had surgery in late April, and before that just did not have the energy to keep up with everyday tasks, making the garden suddenly a chore – when before it had been a joy.

Six weeks post surgery and I AM BACK!  So much energy and raring to go in my favorite spot on the planet. There are new plants emerging, the strawberries are ripening, and for the first time I am harvesting big, wonderful onions.  Yum!

Though it is hard to hack through 5 foot weeds, and demoralizing to think about what I didn’t get done – no beets, no corn this year, say good-bye to dreams of spinach and lettuce – the work it takes to move back to a garden-centric life reminds me that for some a vegetable garden just isn’t possible. Health crises, time constraints, lack of space (though container grown tomatoes are an option for nearly anyone), etc. can become barriers to home-grown produce.

But…that does not mean that you can’t get really good, fresh produce! Farmers markets can be found in many communities, there are U-pick farms available from which to harvest your own food, and my favorite option – the CSA.

CSA, or community supported agriculture, programs allow non-farmers to subscribe for shares in a farm’s produce. The buyer pays a set price, and in return receives produce on a regular schedule. The farm benefits from a regular influx of cash, the consumer reaps the bounty produced at the farm with no work outside filling in an online form.

What can you expect from a CSA program? Good, fresh, seasonal fruits and veggies in a big bin, harvested and ready for pickup on a schedule of once every one or two weeks.

What can you find in a CSA box? A lovely surprise each time.

Receiving the produce from a CSA can occur in several ways – most supply through local farmers markets, some allow delivery to your door, and I am lucky enough to participate in a program that allows me to pick up my bi-weekly bin full of goodies where I work.

Since the produce isn’t trucked or flown in from distant regions (ever think about how it is possible to be eating oranges in the dead of winter in Minnesota? Those babies didn’t grow next door!) the fruits and veggies included in each CSA bin differ according to what is locally grown during the current season. Subscribers get a variety of foods, and have the fun of trying things that may never have made an appearance in their kitchens before.

More fun than you ever thought a Rubbermaid container could hold.

So, even if you find that a garden isn’t a practical addition at the moment, go out and find some fresh, local produce! Go on, it tastes so good…

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