Eating by Season: Why I Like Having a CSA Share

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I’ve had a few people ask about the CSA we have a share in, so I thought I’d post about it with some background on eating seasonal foods. In the past couple of years I’ve gained great appreciation for the rhythms of the Christian Year and the way that by observing it, the story of the Gospel unfolds. One way to participate in the Christian Year is to feast and fast according to the traditions of the Church which, obviously, involves food. Sharing food with family and friends should ideally be a daily reminder of sacred things: The Last Supper, the Holy Eucharist, and the Wedding Feast of the Lamb (all connected, of course). If we consider the partaking of food not as a mundane event but as a sacred rite, then what we eat, where it came from, and who grew it becomes important. Something we are trying to add to the rhythm of our lives is the practice of eating seasonal food. It seems elementary to eat according to what’s in season but I for one was completely unaware of when foods were in season–they’re available at the grocery store all year round!

A few books have been really helped me understand some of these food issues.

Wendell Berry’s collection of agrarian essays: The Art of the Commonplace has been changing my life. Please read ASAP.

Barbara Kingsolver’s farm memoir: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is a wonderful introduction to eating local and seasonal foods. I don’t agree with every little thing she says but it’s a delightful read and will make you want to plant a garden immediately.

I’ve also got some cookbooks that are divided by season that have helped me start to get the hang of seasonal foods.

One is Simply in Season, in the same line as More with Less. Not all the recipes are great (some are a little bit bland), but it’s still incredibly helpful for foundational ideas for cooking with seasonal fruits and veggies.

And I adore Brother Victor-Antoine d’Avila Latourrette’s cookbooks which I think I’ve raved about before.

Our friend Marianna gave us Twelve Months of Monastery Soups and I ordered and love Sacred Feasts. I want to get From a Monastery Kitchen and some of his other books. I have never made a recipe from “the monk” as Little Bear calls him that didn’t turn out delicious. These cookbooks join the efforts of observing the Christian Year and eating according to seasonal rhythms because the author cooks frugally with the contents of a monastery garden for monks who are observing the Christian Year.

Having local seasonal foods available through our own vegetable garden and a share in a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) also has really forced me to eat according to season.

Benjamin loves harvesting okra.

We’re still eating okra from our prolific plants in our front yard and our fall/winter garden of greens, leeks, herbs, carrots, etc, is coming in nicely. We divide a full share (enough veggies for four people) from Orchard Pond Organics with my parents and pick it up once a week. This is what our half looked like last week:

We got Spinach, Bok Choy, Bell Peppers, Butternut Squash, Summer Squash, Zucchini, Eggplant, Radishes, Cucumbers, fresh Basil and Eggs. I’m starting to lose hope that we’ll be able to eat it all before Wednesday when we get our next share. My plan is to try to use up everything but the butternut since they will last a good while.

My brother and I took Benjamin to the farm tour this weekend to see Orchard Pond. He loved seeing the chickens that lay our eggs. I took some pics with Garrett’s phone but I’m not sure if we got any good ones. I’ll post them later.

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Comments

  1. says

    Simply in Season is lovely, probably my go-to cookbook…but, you’re right, sometimes you do need to increase the seasoning a little.

    If you have an abundance of zucchini, I recommend chocolate zucchini bread!

    I would have been jealous of your okra and eggplant a couple months ago…but here it’s snowing, so all we feel like eating is soups and fresh crusty bread.

    I have a feeling that we should cook together some this winter.

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