Tomatoes and AsparagusFor the first time this year, I joined a community shared agriculture program. For 18 weeks over the summer and into the fall, I receive a portion of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables from local farmers. The cost is about $24 a week. It seems reasonable to me. There is a wonderful farmer’s market near me. I can easily spend over that just picking up a few fruits and veggies and I don’t get as great a variety.

Wednesday afternoon is my pick up time at a mall about a five minute drive from home. The order is packed in a blue plastic container with a lid. As little extra packaging as possible is used. So the onions, potatoes, rhubarb, etc. are all loose in the box.

The organic strawberries came in plastic containers, the white mushrooms in a paper bag, and the asparagus kept together with an elastic band. The Boston lettuce came with the roots still attached. It had its own plastic container. All packing material, even the elastic bands, are to be returned so they can be reused.Organic Fruit and Vegetable Portion

Each week I return my empty blue container and pick up my second one. Each container is labeled with my name, the pick up location and a number which identifies the size of my order. The order shown in the image at the right is a regular portion for a family of four. I get half that amount.

I wasn’t sure what to expect as this was my first order. Besides the items mentioned above, the bin contained a large tomato, cilantro, a jar of pickled garlic flowers also called scapes, and green garlic. I don’t often buy fresh cilantro but did identify it. When it came to the green garlic and garlic scapes, I had no idea. Both were new to me.

Green garlic is garlic harvested early. It looks much like green onions with a larger white bulb. It has a milder flavor. Garlic scapes are the curly tipped tops of garlic plants. They are very tasty. Generally this part is discarded when garlic is harvested for the cloves.

Fortunately, a description of  the more uncommon items was included with the order as well as a page on how to store the produce. A few tips and recipes were also provided.

Are there any things  that I don’t like? Yes, I’m not fond of rhubarb. A friend once served vanilla ice cream and placed a bowl of red fruit sauce on the table. She mentioned it was made with rhubarb. I thanked her for the warning and ate my ice cream plain. :-)

So keeping an open mind, I’m looking up rhubarb recipes. A rhubarb or rhubarb and strawberry crisp is appealing.

Getting produce this way, I expect I’ll get to try several new things. The fruits and vegetables change every week as the produce available for harvest changes.Easy

By eating organic fruits and vegetables this summer, I’ll be eating healthier and living a little greener.

If you’d like more information on this type of program, I joined Community Shared Agriculture August’s Harvest.

Wondering how what you are eating is affecting the environment? The Eating Green Calculator will give you the answer. On the same site, is a calculator to Score Your Diet for its affect on your health, animals and the environment.

Filed under: Live Green