Finally – spring is here. Daffodils, tulip trees, forsythias – even some of the woodland wild flowers on our farm have started their show. It’s breathtaking and besides being beautiful to look at the new life gives an added bounce to the step and I certainly feel like I’ve got double the amount of energy. Which is a good thing as it’s time to start planting this year’s vegetable garden. After a long winter hibernation those first days in the garden can make your body feel very creaky indeed.
If you aren’t able or have the time to plant your own garden, now is the time to sign up for the Summer Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) season. If you aren’t familiar with the program, it’s an opportunity for you to buy a share of a local farm for the upcoming growing season and in turn you get a weekly basket of that week’s harvest. Without a middleman, a CSA provides the farmer with operating cash and provides you with the next best thing to having your own garden – without the work and all the benefits of fresh produce, herbs, eggs, or meat. Plus, it is a great way to save money on buying your food.
It also gives you the opportunity to meet your farmer and have a better understanding of what it takes to grow food – you share in the ups and downs of garden successes and failures. Raccoons in the corn, too many cucumbers, drought – it reconnects us to nature’s seasons. Even if you’re not growing it yourself, you become aware of the ebb and flow of the garden.
The current issue of Local Table has a listing of CSA’s in the Middle Tennessee area. It’s not complete as new ones seem to be popping up all the time, but it will give you a great start – each CSA is operated a little differently and will offer slightly different produce – so ask questions and find the farm that’s right for you. If you haven’t had a chance to pick up the new issue, you can also go to www.localtable.net, click on farm guide and search by CSAs.