Monday, February 25, 2008

Community Supported Agriculture

I have joined the first season of St. Croix's first Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), run by the Virgin Islands Sustainable Farm Institute. A CSA is a program in which consumers buy a share of a farmer's crop up front. In this way, we, the consumers, participate in funding the operating costs and enjoy the bounty at harvest time. For me, it means an opportunity to support local agriculture in return for fresh, delicious, organic produce. This is a big thing here; an island where the supermarkets ship most of their produce from the States, and so we often get mealy tomatoes, old cucumbers, stale apples, and all at astronomical prices. A bunch of scallions costs $1.50. A head of cauliflower: $4.00, a pint of berries: $4.00 to $6.00, a bunch of bananas: $.75/lb.

Here's a sampling of this week's basket: tomatoes, eggplant, purple bell peppers, tatsoi, mixed greens, pigeon peas, celery, green and purple basil, mint and raccao. In previous weeks I've received cucumbers, okra, carrots, dill, bananas, passion fruit, limes and oranges.

I enjoy the variety from week to week, as each ingredient can inspire an unexpected dish. I've made fried okra, sautéed tatsoi, carrot soup, dill-yogurt dressing, insalata caprese, lime-poppy seed muffins, and mint tea. This week, I might put to use that mint towards a batch of mojitos.

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Blogger Peach Pod said...

I love this idea! Is it very expensive to do the upfront cost?

9:23 PM  
Blogger Jamila said...

Hi peach pod,
Here are the costs for the CSA this year:
Season 1: January 12- May 3, 17 weeks
Spring cycle- high vegetable focus with some fruit, herbs, and flowers
$400 ($23.53/week) for full share, distributed every week
$250 ($14.70/week) for half share, distributed every other week

Season 2: June 7 – August 30, 13 weeks
Summer cycle- high fruit focus with some vegetables, herbs and flowers
$300 ($23.08/week) for full share, distributed every week
$175 ($14.58/week) for half share, distributed every other week

9:04 AM  

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