Community Supported Agriculture: Connecting with Food and Farmers


A photo of Jenn NemecWhether you call it serendipity, luck, coincidence, or the hand of God, sometimes you just feel guided down a certain path. You find the dominoes just sitting there, patiently waiting for you to knock them down. I recently experienced this phenomenon. Reaping the benefits will require a bit of work on my part, but I am going to do my best.

A couple of weeks ago, I was out celebrating World T'ai Chi Day, and a woman from my Tai Chi class said something about the Topeka Natural Foods Co-op. Now, here's where I admit that I've lived here almost 3 years, and I didn't even know we had a co-op, let alone its location. (Until now I've driven over to The Merc in Lawrence to meet my natural food needs.) Turns out the woman's husband is an officer in the co-op. She took me over to show me the place and told me about their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) offering, touting fresh produce until November. And, well, they had just one spot left on their list.

Bok choy, carrots, eggs, radish tops on the CSA tables

I've read and written enviously about people with CSA memberships. The cost and amount of food they talk about always seemed to be too much for my single, publishing-salary life. This one fit my budget and is a grocery bag full of produce rather than the "box" I've heard about. (See the dominoes all in a line?) So, right that minute, I signed up – and the first pick-up was last Friday.

Luminous radishes

I really wanted asparagus. (What could be better than fresh asparagus?) So did everyone else, apparently, because even though I got there within 20 minutes of the start of pick-up, the asparagus was already gone. But what was left was so gorgeous. Japanese mushrooms, radishes like we used to have on the farm in that special luminous red, carrots with dirt still on, bok choy, farm-fresh eggs, a bag of baby spinach, and some mixed greens. There were even some choices in there like asparagus or mushrooms, carrots or shitakes, eggs or spinach. Some lovely volunteers kept the tables full (even filled them especially for my photographs) and helped with decision-making.

K.C. Compton
5/17/2011 12:54:09 PM

Jenn -- here's a quick pickle recipe from The Herb Companion that has become my newest favorite thing to do with radishes: Herbs de Provence Quick Radish Pickles: If you like pickles, these are really tasty and the recipe completely earns the "quick" in its title. --KC

Richard Kurkowski
1/4/2011 10:43:39 AM

Was reading Jennifer's article in the January/February issue Teaming up to save the Bee's. Some of the info I have seen is commenting about cell phones and cell towers maybe upsetting the honey bee's ability to find their way back to the hive. Also there are questions about GMO's Whatever is going on maybe a combination. Its a very important problem I hope it can be solved soon. I don't know what we would do without honey let alone all the crops that need bee's for pollination. Keep digging. Thank You Richard

Della Sinnock_2
9/6/2010 2:28:33 PM

I may be a little late with this simple recipe, but here it is anyway: For the bok choi, just seperate the leaves from the stem and slice the stem like celery (about 1/4" thick), and saute' in oil, then about 2-3 min before they are done, just toss in the leaves and cook together. Just some salt and pepper are enough for the seasoning and any good oil is fine to cook in. HTH, Della

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