CSA Wednesday

Today marks the beginning of a new adventure in food for me. Earlier this spring I committed to being part of a CSA – Community Supported Agriculture. Essentially this is an agreement which exists between a group of local farmers and a group of local citizens. I agree to pay them for what they provide and they agree to supply me with locally grown produce, meats, cheeses and other items every week. It is a win-win for the consumer who wants to eat healthy food from local sources and for the local farmer/merchant who either cannot or does not want to complete with the large food conglomerates that largely control the grocery store market of America.

I have come close to doing a CSA for the past three summers. I have also talked myself out of it for the past three summers. What if all I ever get are bags of cabbage and onions?  What if I get stuff I don’t know how to prepare? This spring, however, I found a CSA with a little different twist – the Fresh Fork Market (www.freshforkmarket.com). This CSA works with several local farmers and is thus able to provide a greater assortment of foods as well as additional items from local merchants that can be purchased with a weekly membership. The price is reasonable, the pick-up locations are convenient and the website has great resources – no more excuses for me. For the next 22 Wednesdays I will pick up a bag of fresh local food in Brecksville between 3-6 p.m. I still might get stuff I don’t know how to prepare, but their website is full of ideas. I have a hunch some of you share in my uncertainties, so I am going to post my experiences with this CSA so you can come to your own conclusions about whether this could work for you.

So, what did I pick up today? I pre-selected the “Small Omnivore” bag for each week, which is generally designed for a family of 4 or less and includes meat. Vegetarian and vegan options are also available, as is a “Large Omnivore” bag, etc.  Here’s what came in my Fresh Fork Market bag for about $25:

  • ???????????????????????????????1 whole chicken, pasture-fed
  • 1 dozen organic eggs
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 head of lettuce
  • 1 bag of pea shoots
  • 2 lbs. organic whole wheat flour
  • 2 lbs. organic black beans

Each week Fresh Fork Market has add-ons that can be ordered in advance and picked up with your regular bag.  Here are the items I added on this week:

  • ???????????????????????????????1 lb. grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 lb. sausage-bacon breakfast patties
  • 1 lb. smoked turkey slices
  • 1 lb. fresh tomato-basil linguine
  • 24 oz. vanilla yogurt
  • 8 oz. fresh mozzarella
  • 1 jar roasted cherry tomatoes
  • 1 jar heirloom tomato sauce
  • 1 quart strawberries

The total cost of these add-on items was $50.  So my total cost for this week was $75. When I arrived at the pick-up point, I paid for a loaf of homemade wheat bread as I had run out of bread today.

Because Fresh Fork Market sends out an email a few days before pick-up each week, I was able to make a menu in advance and then add on what I knew I would use. So here’s my menu for this next week.

  1. Wednesday: Burgers and a salad (using pea shoots with the lettuce)
  2. Thursday: Kale and Bean Soup for lunch, Roast Chicken for dinner
  3. Friday: Homemade pizza using the mozzarella and roasted cherry tomatoes
  4. Saturday:  Black Bean Enchiladas
  5. Monday: Breakfast for dinner – Eggs with the sausage patties
  6. Tuesday:  Linguini with the Heirloom tomato sauce with a side salad

(Lest you worry that we starve on Sundays – we usually eat out! )

Stay tuned for updates on whether my recipes and cooking skills work to make the most of this week’s products.  On to making my first salad with pea shoots – who knew you could eat those?!





About Deb Ashley

At home, Deb is the wife of Mark and mom of three adult children. She enjoys cooking, taking care of a small but somewhat productive garden, feeding the local community of birds and other assorted critters, and taking naps with her dog Mandy. Her passions include teaching, writing and music. In the community, Deb enjoys working alongside her husband in his role as a pastor. She is involved in teaching and encouraging women from all walks of life through book studies, counseling, and speaking opportunities.
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6 Responses to CSA Wednesday

  1. Stacey says:

    Thank you so much for doing this Debbie:)!!

  2. pianosharon says:

    Thanks for sharing your menu for the week! We took a year off from Fresh Fork last year and tried going to the farmer’s markets and it just wasn’t the same. We’re back to Fresh Fork this year and I just picked up my bag today. Can’t wait to eat all of the wonderful food!

    • pwmja5 says:

      Thanks for your comment – as a new Fresh Fork member, I am encouraged to hear from someone who has done it in the past and come back again. Looking forward to a great season of cooking and eating!

  3. Miss TerryM says:

    Welcome to Fresh Fork! this is our third year and we absolutely love it. We eat healthier and waste less food because we plan around our bag. We’ve saved so much money on groceries and have gotten to try some really great items that we probably wouldn’t have tried on our own (wait till garlic scapes are out!). Everyone – and I mean everyone – involved with FFM is so friendly & helpful & passionate about their work. And I love that I’m supporting local farmers. I hope you love it as much as we do!

    • pwmja5 says:

      Thanks for your encouraging words – so far I have been very impressed with everything about Fresh Fork. I have talked about it with my friends so much this week that I think 2 of them are going to join for this summer also. Looking forward to saving money and eating better!

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