Today is the first day of the Red Fire Farm Deep Winter CSA and I can’t wait to see what we’re getting! My friend Denise and I decided to split a share. If you’re not familiar with the acronym, it stands for “Community-Supported Agriculture” and is a relatively new (in the U.S., anyway) scheme where you pay for a seasonal subscription to a local (and often organic) farm, in return for a weekly or biweekly share of the farm’s produce.
Strangely enough, this is the first time I’ve ever joined a CSA, although they are very popular in the Bay Area. For various reasons, I was never able to either get on the list in time (some fill up quickly) or find one with a pick-up or delivery scheme that was convenient for me. Now that I am living in Boston, I am particularly excited about this “deep winter” version, since, unlike in California, the outdoor farmer’s markets have long since shuttered for the season — the seemingly endless winter season. There’s a joke that in New England, there are only two seasons: winter and “the other six months.” I didn’t realize how spoiled I was in California until I moved here to face the harsh reality of frozen ground from November through May. Spring comes slowly here. To truly eat locally in this area for the winter months would be a pretty grim prospect, largely limited to root vegetables, winter squashes, apples — for as long as they would last, and preserves. I haven’t seen our first share yet but word on the street is that it contains spinach, celeriac, butternut squash, cilantro (with the roots, I hope!), pickles, rutabagas, and radishes. The reason I’m yearning for cilantro roots is that the roots are an essential ingredient in many Thai dishes, but they’re usually cut off and discarded here in the U.S. before sale, making them very difficult to find. So whenever I do manage to find some cilantro with the roots still attached, I store them in my freezer until the next lucky break.