My husband and I joined a CSA this year. For those of you who aren’t familiar, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. So, here’s how our program works.
Every Tuesday from June through November I visit the farm, where I’m promptly greeted by two dogs, Lacy and Lexi. I never know what they’ve been up to. Lacy has greeted me with a stick and shredded corn ear, whereas Lexi (the smaller dog) is the hunter. I’m not nearly as fond of the partially eaten bird or rabbit.
After my greeting, I enter the barn where Gail gives me a number of tickets. We started with 6, and are now up to 8. They have bushel baskets laid out, and a smaller basket in front that tells you how many items are represented by one ticket. If there’s a limited quantity (like blueberries) you are only allowed to use one ticket per share. Then of course they have the “free” items such as an herb or flower, and the sign up for the drawing. And as a CSA member, you can do their u-pick at a reduced cost.
It’s been fun watching the progression from lettuce (I didn’t know there were so many varieties!) to summer squash, blue berries and corn. But it’s not just the entertainment that drew us to this program. CSAs help the small farmer, give us vegetables of the highest quality, vary our diets with the growing season, and cut down on food costs. Gail even sends out a weekly e-mail with recipes and pictures of what they’ve been doing on the farm. In short, we become a family, complete with a family picnic at the end.
In many ways, we, as writers, are farmers of words. We start out with the seed of an idea, then nurture that creative spark to a full blown story. Along the way we add what the story needs: strong characters, conflict, setting. These are the sunshine, water and fertilizer for our creation. We enjoy not only the finished product, but the writing process.
So get back to the farm and check out the CSAs in your area. The programs are all different, but they all offer a wonderful marriage of farmer and consumer.