First off we want to say "Thanks!" for a great winter. Paul and I honestly, no joking, love having a winter CSA. Getting to feed a big bunch of people through the winter in Central NY from local produce is not very ordinary (at least not in the last 70 years). Walk into any grocery store at this time of year and check out where the produce is from. Very little from around here. Most of the food turns out to be from either Florida, California, or Mexico. There is a staggering carbon foot print difference between local food and food from 1000s of miles away. Eat Local!! Thanks for participating in a local solution.
I like to imagine what the landscape and local economy would look like if everyone ate from a CSA or the farmer's market year round. There would be hundreds of small farmers all actually able to make a living right here in the Finger Lakes! Add locally produced milk, eggs, meat, fruit and grain and our local farming economy would be thoroughly booming. Us farmers spend a lot of money locally, which everyone knows is just the ticket for a strong local economy. If everyone ate locally imagine what a developed food culture could emerge that was completely tied to place. Ever wonder how Italy got so good at tomato sauce? It happened because Italy grows great tomatoes and everyone there has been playing around with tomatoes in their kitchens for hundreds of years. The same can be said for cheese in France, borscht in Russia, and salsa in Mexico. The examples are almost endless, until you turn to the US. When I search my brain for local food inventions unique to Central NY I come up with... salt potatoes, local wine, cheese curds. There are probably others, but they aren't right there, easily accessible like they would be if we had generations of chefs basically forced to use only local products. They are out there, delicious dishes traditional to the Finger Lakes, circling around in the heavens just waiting to be born.
"Eating is an agricultural act." -Wendell Berry
So, how did everyone like the winter CSA? In particular we are interested in hearing about how the mix and match went. We feel like it was a break through, but want to hear from you. It is a big leap of faith for us farmers to put out all that produce and then say "take whatever you like!" (especially when the fields are frozen solid and under a layer of snow - no place to get more food). Of course we have a basic idea of what the CSA likes as a whole and we make sure that we have enough, but it would be devastating to run out of potatoes or carrots at a winter distribution. From our point of view the mix and match worked really well. We never ran out of anything, and we got some lovely insight onto what all of you eat when given free rein. For instance, two weeks ago rutabagas were third only to carrots and potatoes in popularity! We are also interested in hear about anything else you have to say about the winter CSA.
Enough of you want to have one more winter CSA distribution to make it worthwhile, so it's a go. We will distribute Wednesday the 24th of February at the Hazelnut Kitchen, 3-7 pm as usual. If you have already signed up - thanks! If you haven't signed up and want to be included, let me know. If you have missed a week of the Winter CSA you can make up a share on the 24th. Let me know about that, too. The cost for the share is $32.