In the time since our 2013 CSA registration form has been released, we’ve received a number of questions from potential new shareholders. We took this as an opportunity to get back in touch with some of the pioneering members of our first year. The answers provided below from two genuine and generous responders, Lisa and Stacy, truly warmed our hearts. Please feel free to contact us with any remaining questions or concerns you may have!
1. What if I already grow a vegetable garden? Will I be swimming in zucchini all summer?
“I have a lovely garden that allows for a strong ‘base’ diet of produce in our house. When we joined the CSA I worried that I would be ‘doubling’ what I already had and was VERY excited to open the box each week and see things I wouldn’t have planted in my garden for lack of space, skill and knowledge about a particular variety. The CSA is not a ‘typical Nebraska garden’ and it opened our household up to finding new foods, expanding on what we already had, adding to what we could preserve for winter and we had our usual amount to share with friends from my own gardening efforts!” –Lisa
“No! The CSA share offers a nice selection of several different types of vegetables and herbs each week. The quantities of each selection are not overwhelming and you will never receive a box of just a single type of vegetable. The CSA program is a nice complement to a home garden, or perfect as the primary source of fresh vegetables and herbs for those without the space or time for a home garden. I found that vegetables I struggled to get to grow in my own garden flourished at 26th Street Farm, and I was able to enjoy these through the CSA program.”—Stacy
2. Was the CSA share a good return for your investment?
“Once I paid the share and opened that first box I didn’t think about the cost again. Picking up the box each week and sorting through what was in it felt like opening a gift! When you eat food as diverse, delicious and nutritious as what was in our box each week, you know the return was far greater than the investment.” –Lisa
“The CSA share was a good return for our investment. The CSA share was the perfect size for my on-the-go family of 4; we received a nice variety of produce each week, picked at its peak of flavor and nutritional value. We received weekly newsletters with preparation and storage tips and recipes for some of the less-common vegetables, and other CSA members also shared recipes and ideas for using the different vegetables in dishes.” –Stacy
3. Did your CSA share change the way you cook, eat or share food?
“Yes! What I really appreciated were the advance emails that gave a list of what to expect. That gave me an opportunity to do some searching through cookbooks (that had not been off the shelves for a long time until this summer) and search online for recipes so that once I had the box I was ‘ready to go’ with some new ideas about how to prepare the food in combination with what I had from my own garden. We have never had such a diverse array of food choices as we did during the season. We would have favorites from the box that I would go to the farmers market and stock up on. I also learned to preserve (freeze, mostly) smaller portions of food and find a better array of foods in the freezer this winter! (I also found out that I love beets…which I thought I hated…old childhood misconception!)” –Lisa
“Yes! We were able to try several vegetables unfamiliar to us and discovered some new favorites — and some new favorite recipes thanks to the newsletters and member feedback. We cooked a lot more with whole, fresh vegetables than we were accustomed, and discovered more ways to incorporate most of the vegetables in single-dish meals. We enjoyed sharing this wholesome food with our dinner guests, too.” –Stacy
4. Did your child/children approach eating vegetables in a new way?
“I included my son in the box opening each week. I made it a food ‘adventure’ so that he would be curious about the food to come rather than find it ‘strange’. I also looked for recipes that left the food as close to ‘full flavor’ as possible and only when we had tried each thing in it’s simple form did I combine it or add other things like sauce and cheese. One of the big hits of summer was all the ways produce can be made into pizza topping which led us to new pasta toppings as well. We learned to grill and oven roast vegetables in ways we previously had not. We also explored a wider variety of veggies as ‘scoops’ for dips such as hummus. Each dinner I tried to introduce one or two new things or veggie combos but made sure to have ‘regular’ choices too…just in smaller amounts!” –Lisa
“My vegetable-averse children were willing to try several different vegetables out of the box each week. They loved to pick one vegetable out of the box to try on the ride home. They are now more willing to try, and eat, vegetables and have even surprised us by asking for salad and grilled beets with their meals.” –Stacy
5. How does the 26th Street Farm produce compare to supermarket fare?
“When you eat food that was picked locally only hours before, you can taste the sun. The texture, taste, diversity in foods and absolute freshness were beyond compare. I actually saved money by eating CSA and garden produce but more importantly I provided my family and myself the most nutritional food they could possibly have.” –Lisa
“26th Street Farm vegetables are picked at the peak of ripeness, are firm and fragrant, have wonderful flavor and optimum nutritional value. Several of the vegetable varieties grown locally at 26th Street Farm and supplied through the CSA have never been available in our local grocery stores. 26th Street Farm vegetables are provided to CSA members within hours of harvest, and the freshness and flavor really shine through! I can hardly bring myself to buy “fresh” produce at a grocery store during the off-season now. (I’m a little scared of the shiny, waxy, squishy green cucumbers that the stores sell…)” –Stacy