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We’ve just finished our first vegetable csa here in cape town. A csa (community sponsored agriculture) is the ultimate in food box dorkiness; you pay upfront for the farmer to buy their raw materials, which they dispatch to you (if their crops are successful) and you get whatever they’re growing. There are tours to visit the farmers during the season (we were busy, so didn’t go), which adds an extra element to the experience. You pick your crops up from a central area, and that’s about it.
The joys of the system are that you are getting farm-to-table food; something can be in the ground that morning and you can eat it that evening (so its not irradiated and sitting in some warehouse for ages before it gets to you). I’m a big broccoli fan, and I haven’t ever had such green tasty broccoli before, similarly to the sweet potatoes (unfortunately we only had one week of them though). Its exciting receiving the week’s produce and wondering what’s going to be in there. Also important is the dinner party conversations which allow you to take your food douchery to another level.
Its not all about eating fresh vegetables and marveling at the provenance of nature. You do tend to get a lot of repeats (we ate a lot of carrots), there is the shlep of picking them up, and it costs a bit more.
After doing the winter one I would be interested in looking at a summer version, and perhaps one that also focused on fruit. I’d also be very keen to get a share of a pig or a cow. I don’t know how well I would relate to my bacon if I had to meet it first, but I like the idea of being a bit more responsible in terms of understanding where my food comes from and how its treated along that path. I think it was fairly successful, so I’m intrigued on how it will progress.
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