Every once in awhile I browse through the site stats and giggle over the search words. “recipes that use lots of butter” is one that always cracks me up. We do like our butter! One that pops up from time to time relates around CSAs (community supported agriculture), and more specifically Potager Andre Samson. I realize I very rarely post about it, but considering it’s about the time to start thinking about signing up, I figured I would do a little review/info post about it.
A bit of background
2012 will be our 4th year as a CSA member. I originally chose Potager Andre Samson as they were one of the only CSA’s with a pickup nearby to where I was living and working at the time (the Guy-Concordia area). Having to go pick up your CSA a ways away is fine if you have a car, but if you have to carry it home on foot, having a pickup point nearby (and with hours that work for you) is a big plus.
Partway through my first year we moved to another area. It worked out fine for the rest of the season, as I worked nearby and could pick up our share on my way home. The year after we considered switching as our new neighbourhood (Plateau/Mile-End) had many more options, but in the end we decided to go with the tried and true, since we knew what to expect (and enjoyed all our veggies that first year).
What to Expect
Potager Andre Samson offers only one size share, which they say is good for 2-4 adults, depending on veggie consumption. We’re two adults who eat a lot of veggies, and there are times within the season when we just can’t consumer everything each week. No biggie, that’s when having veggie loving friends and family come in handy. As well as having an interest in preserving, whether it be by freezing or canning or any other method. I still have some frozen squash and leeks in my freezer, waiting for the right opportunity to come out and liven up my dinner. I also have ground cherry jam and corn relish in my pantry.
It helps to get a bit creative too. Meal planning has to be flexible, as you never really know what you’re getting each week until you pick up your share. The farm sends a list a day or so beforehand, but it’s always possible to have substitutions. And that’s the fun of a farm share! If you want to know exactly what you’re going to get each week, the grocery store or farmer’s market might be better for you. But if you’re up for a little surprise, a CSA is great! Originally I had thought I wouldn’t have to buy any veggies at the supermarket during the CSA season, which didn’t quite work out. Different crops are ready at different times, which meant that sometimes I didn’t have any onions, or potatoes, or what have you. I try to be flexible, but sometimes I run out to the farmer’s market or grocery store to pick up odds and ends to round things out.
One of my favorite aspects of participating in a CSA is the community aspect. I enjoy going to pick up my veggies each week. I get to laugh at a child’s reaction to some of the stranger looking veggies. Discuss recipes. I even get gardening tips from the gardener’s themselves. Equiterre talks about finding a “family farmer” on their website, and at first I didn’t really get it. And now I do!
I’m not going to go into the other aspects that make CSA’s so great, from the local aspect of things, to the cost to the idea of consuming so many organic veggies. If you need more convincing, google is your friend.
How to find a CSA
If you live in Quebec, head over to Equiterre and use the interactive search tool. From there its up to you to contact whatever farms you are interested in to get more details.