Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Cooking Away My CSA

When most people hear the term 'CSA' their thoughts turn to fruits and (more likely) vegetables.  That's certainly how we began our love affair with CSA's.  But CSA's aren't confined to produce. Some farms include the option for shareholders to purchase shares of eggs, homemade bread, meat, cheese, fruit, flowers or other farm products along with their veggies. Sometimes several farmers will offer their products together, to offer the widest variety to their members. For example, a produce farmer might create a partnership with a neighbor to deliver cheese to the CSA drop off point, so that the CSA members can purchase farm-fresh cheese when they come to get their CSA share. Or a farm may create a standalone CSA for meat, flowers, eggs, or cheese, etc. 

As I mentioned above, we initially joined a vegetable CSA.  My son was four at the time.  Having grown up in a rural area where my parents raised and preserved every jar of jam and jelly, chili sauce and spaghetti sauce, pickles and applesauce and.... (you get the picture) pretty much everything we consumed, I was overcome with the desire to at least expose him to freshly grown produce.  I wanted him to know where fruits and vegetables really comes from and to taste the fresh goodness of organically grown, local produce. Next stop - Holiday Brook Farm in Dalton.  It wasn't long thereafter that Holiday Brook Farm began their meat CSA and we immediately signed up for a monthly pork share too.  We've had a fabulous experience there (just ask my son who ate half our allotted pint of self-picked snow peas last Saturday before I could even get them home).  
Last summer Cricket Creek Farm in Williamstown began a cheese CSA featuring their handmade cheeses and offered the option to pick your share up at Holiday Brook Farm.  Cheese?  Are you kidding me?  Sign me up!  
A few months later, I converted to raw milk (that's another post for another day) and began making the trek to Cricket Creek on a regular basis for their sweet, creamy, Jersey and Brown Swiss milk.  So when they expanded their cheese CSA last winter to include raw milk and meat - you guessed it, I signed up!  They've continued to expand and modify their CSA in an attempt to meet their members needs.  They now offer bread, dairy, meat, ground beef and egg options, in addition to cheese, of course!

But enough of me waxing poetic.  Let me show you some of the delicious goodness that abounds in the Berkshires (and quite possibly where you live too!).  These were all taken in the past week.  Yes, we eat good here!

I hope these images will inspire you to eat good too.  And support your local farms in the process.

Bon Appetit!
Strawberry shortcake with berries from Nourse Farm
courtesy of Berkshire Organics
Boneless pork chop from Holiday Brook Farm
and asparagus from Smiarowski Farm
Grilled Burger with ground beef from Cricket Creek Farm
and sauteed snow peas from Holiday Brook Farm
Morning coffee with fresh 'cream'
(off the top of this bottle of raw milk from Cricket Creek Farm)
Raisin bread toast with fresh farmstead butter
from Cricket Creek Farm
Tom's frittata made with farm fresh eggs from
Cricket Creek Farm and amazing breakfast sausage
from Holiday Brook Farm


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