January 23, 2009

CSA Workshare Day

Because I was under the weather for the last couple of weeks, I missed the first two days of the CSA workshare that I signed up for. I finally made it out there this week, not really knowing whether or not I was actually up for it since I didn't know what they'd have me doing. I figured I'd either keel over in the field, or not. Fortunately, I'm still here to write about it. I really didn't want to have to cancel for the third time and possibly lose my spot.

The farm is about 35 miles from here, a 45 minute drive, according to the Google Maps. I missed a turn so had to backtrack a bit, and the trip ended up taking about an hour. Next time I'll know. Drop me down with a car and a map into the middle of a strange city of any size and I'm good to go. Put me on a two lane country road with same map and I envariably get lost or take a wrong turn somewhere. I'm a city girl, what can I say? I like places you can get to on the Interstate.

It was cold enough that morning so that I needed four layers on top: a tank top, short sleeve tee shirt, sweatshirt, and lightweight jacket. By about 10:00 I had shed the jacket and then the sweatshirt. By the time I left, around 12:30, it was a beautiful day, in the mid-seventies. It wasn't muddy at all, which was fortunate as I had no rubber boots. I just wore regular utility boots that I didn't care about getting muddy. I could have easily worn sneakers.

I met the owner of the farm, his wife, and a permanent worker as well as a several of the other workshare participants, all very nice people. Our first assignment was to walk down to a field and plant several long rows with tiny cabbage transplants. Lots of walking, bending and stooping was involved--I found out that this workshare thing would be good exercise for me.

We finished that chore in a couple of hours and stoppped on our walk back up to the main area to retrieve the many, many tomato cages that were still sitting out in the rows where the previous season's tomato plants had been. We brought them back down near the main area and stacked them neatly in a pile where they'll stay until they're needed again in the spring.

Our next job was in the greenhouse where we filled seedling flats with soil and then planted them with pepper seeds. We emptied some other seedling trays of their soil and too small/too old transplants to get them ready for planting again.

Then, because it's between seasons, where things operate a little differently than when the official CSA season is in force, we walked back down to the field to harvest what we wanted for ourselves. I'm not sure how it will work during the regular season, but the others talked about how it felt different to be harvesting for oneself instead of for the CSA members.

Luckily I had a canvas bag with me that I had carried my boots and things in, so I was able to use that to hold the vegetables I picked. Some smaller plastic bags would have come in handy to separate out the different greens and herbs.

I didn't take any pictures of the farm because I was new and didn't know how they'd feel about that. Perhaps I'll try and take some another time.

I did take a photo once I arrived back home of the things I'd gotten. This was after carefully separating out the greens and herbs that had all been put loose into the big bag.

I got baby spinach, lettuce, cilantro, dill, Daikon radishes, kohlrabi, some tiny turnips and kale. There were also collards, but I passed on those. This is more than enough for me to eat in the upcoming week since the other person in this house doesn't care for any of this selection at all. Well, maybe the cilantro in some salsa.

They also gave me 15 good-size vegetable plants to take home with me. I was as thrilled about that as anything else because the cost of plants is quite expensive at the nurseries and big box stores these days. I got some broccoli, Chinese cabbage, iceburg lettuce and a regular green cabbage. The other person around here likes iceburg lettuce, so I hope that I can nurse those along before it gets too warm.

I was a good girl and took them right out to the garden and planted them when I got home. It was such a beautiful day, more like April than January, and I couldn't resist staying outside a bit longer.

I also stopped at a hospital volunteer-run thrift store on the way home. One of the reasons I chose the workshare day that I did was because I knew this thrift store would be open on that day. It's only open three days a week and I don't usually visit unless I have other business in that town (which isn't often).

In one of my past kitchen declutterings I had rid myself of my nice large salad spinner because it was so large and I felt it didn't justify the space it took up. There have been times when I've regretted that decision, so I was quite happy to discover a small salad spinner at the thrift for only $1. There was also a larger one, of a nicer quality and five times the price that I didn't choose. I liked that this one would fit easily into my cabinet over the top of the refrigerator. I also like the fact that if I decide to declutter it again in the future, it only cost a dollar.

All in all, I really enjoyed the experience. I met some nice people, got some exercise, obtained some fresh local vegetables and vegetable plants, with a bonus visit to the thrift store. I even learned a thing or two about gardening that will help me with my own backyard garden, but more about that some other time.


At 6:58 PM CST, Blogger P-Dot said...

What a great day you had and topped off with a thrift store SCORE.....
I did the same thing with my salad spinner when I went into living in the RV. Had to re-buy now that I am in larger housing. Not a deal like yours but definitely thrift store purchased.
I love the CSA concept and they are all over Northern California where I live. We have a Farmer's Market that comes to "BH" once a week and I just love it.
Good post!

At 6:36 AM CST, Blogger Kathy said...

P-Dot - That's interesting that the Farmer's Market comes to y'all. A good idea, I think.

At 6:53 PM CST, Blogger T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

And, I've fretted over my simple weeding assignments at the CSA! It sounds like you experienced a complete and intense immersion! What a great selection of fresh vegetables and herbs, too!


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