May 29, 2008

Our Fair Share - CSA Week #3

I haven't posted the contents of the first two weeks of our Fair Share, but I've had a couple of questions as to what comes with our share from our CCSA, so I will try to do so from now on. In case you don't know, CCSA stands for Combined Community Supported Agriculture. According to Wikipedia, Community Supported Agriculture:

...generally is the practice of focusing on the production of high quality foods using ecological, organic or biodynamic farming methods. This kind of farming operates with a much greater-than-usual degree of involvement of consumers and other stakeholders—resulting in a stronger than usual consumer-producer relationship. The core design includes developing a cohesive consumer group that is willing to fund a whole season’s budget in order to get quality foods. The system has many variations on how the farm budget is supported by the consumers and how the producers then deliver the foods. By CSA theory, the more a farm embraces whole-farm, whole-budget support, the more it can focus on quality and reduce the risk of food waste or financial loss.

In its most formal and structured European and North American form, CSAs focus on having:

  • a transparent, whole season budget for producing a specified wide array of products for a set number of weeks a year;
  • a common-pricing system where producers and consumers discuss and democratically agree to pricing based on the acceptance of the budget; and
  • a ‘shared risk and reward’ agreement, i.e. that the consumers eat what the farmers grow even with the vagaries of seasonal growing.

Thus, individuals, families or groups do not pay for x pounds or kilograms of produce, but rather support the budget of the whole farm and receive weekly what is seasonally ripe. This approach eliminates the marketing risks and costs for the producer and an enormous amount of time, often manpower too, and allows producers to focus on quality care of soils, crops, animals, co-workers—and on serving the customers. There is little to no loss (i.e. waste) in this system, since the producers know in advance who they are growing for and how much to grow, etc.

Fair Shares is a CSA that combines produce and products from multiple sources, including meat, grains, preserves, coffee, produce, and lots of other stuff. I like the excitement of not knowing what we'll have to work with for our meals over the next week...until we pick up our share on Wednesday nights...

Right. Enough background. Without further ado, week three's bags included:

It's looking like this week we may have hummus on toasted tortillas, fresh pasta (Mangia Italia spaghetti) with tomato sauce and pork meatballs, blue cheeseburgers, pizza, and maybe a frittata with spinach and broccoli. We're also planning to roast the Pilgrim's Acres whole chicken we got from week one - tonight, if we get home from work in time to roast it and eat at a reasonable hour.

For us, the tricky ingredient here will likely be the Match "ground pork," which I gather is a vegetarian pork substitute. Not sure what to do with that one, but we're definitely open to suggestions!


Joy said...

Sounds like a great week of eating! When I was taking vegetarian meals to work, hummus was the basis -- a hummus sandwich, a salad, and some fruit worked pretty well.

Debbie said...

Wow, with my CSA share I only get veggies! (Though they do supply eggs, bread and flowers for an extra fee.) I've never heard of "Ground pork" vegetarian protein, but if it's in a ground form I'd imagine you'd use it like sausage.

Jonathan said...

I found the Match Italian sausage to be really, really good - they nailed the spicing and the texture was close enough so it went in with some pasta.

The Match crab was not a hit, though, with anyone but me. Maybe I overcooked it?

I'd just cook the Match pork as you would the real meat and see what you end up with!

Lori said...

Yum, a hummus sandwich sounds like a great treat - I'll have to try that. I'm actually also starving for fruit at this point, since I'm trying not to buy "exotic" fruit and not much is ripe here yet. I missed the strawberries at the Maplewood Farmer's Market this week, but am hoping to find some at Tower Grove or Clayton this weekend.

Yep, that's what we thought - I'll be trying an omelette (or scramble if things don't turn out as planned) with the Match, fresh egges, herbs and a tiny bit of spinach. Mmmm.

Thanks for the encouragement with the Match pork. The instructions are a they suggest you should form it into tenderloin or chop shape, then cook and serve as you would actual pork. Since it definitely appears to be a ground pork texture, I'm not sure about all that. Guess we'll find out!