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The Story Behind my "CSA Experts" Project

I’ve been nostalgic for writing a newsletter. It’s one of those things that I get in the habit of.  I start gearing up for it in my mind a few days before I need to do it. And this week I just haven’t gotten out of the habit.

I even got out my list to write down my ideas like I do every week…

So I’m sitting down to write one anyway. 

Why not?

Yeah, I know that our Winter CSA ended two weeks ago.

Maybe it’s because Gene and Robert began yesterday to plan out a pilot Spring CSA program to begin April 2019… (year round CSA in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine…what!?!)

Or maybe it’s because I just miss seeing and interacting with all of the familiar faces of the people who eat our farm’s food. The people who have become like family to us.

Tearing up right now. No joke.

I just love farming the way we do because of the community that grows up all around us.

We grow the food. And then really nice people come here and become friends with us. It’s relaxed and supportive and comforting to talk with people who I have things in common with. Who I have known for several years now…

So thank you all for being members of our farm! Our farm literally wouldn’t be here without the incredible local support from our CSA members over the years.

And this brings me to one of our big winter/spring projects on the farm. And no. It is not building another barn, people.

It is building something a little different. Something that will be harder to see when you drive up to the farm. But, something that will make a big difference for people who come to the farm as new members of the CSA.

I am working on a CSA Training Library.

But, what about the Vegetable Gallery of over 200 recipes on our website, you ask??

Yes, that is still there. And yes, people love that.

It has helped so many people, including myself, to feel inspired to use the same vegetable in a new way or to use a new vegetable at all. I find myself using it multiple times a week.

But I think there is more to the “CSA way” of eating than just individual recipes. I’ve been feeling like this for a couple of years but hadn’t figured out what to do about it.

In the newsletters, I often mention cooking techniques or basic ways to use a vegetable that are not strictly a recipe, but do help in using the veggies. Like how to make an omelette or how to make a creamy soup. Generic formulas that could be used for many kinds of vegetables.

And then I thought, why am I only drawing on my own knowledge…? Because quite frankly, I don’t have all the good ideas out there.

So this year, I’ve decided to look to our successful members for help in this process. Over a dozen of our longest standing members (think 7, 6, and 5 years) have already agreed to speak with me about their experience with the “CSA way” of eating and how they make it work for them.

I had to take a break from phone interviews for a couple of months to get the website overhaul done, but now I’m going to be back to my project. 

Talking to our “CSA Experts”. The members who have been with us for a few years and are still with us. Still here and thriving.

What is it that YOU do to make the CSA work for you? What is the first thing you do when you get your box? How do you handle all the greens? How do you store your veggies to keep them crisp? What is it that you like the most about the CSA?

Then I’m going to organize this information into cheat sheets and "how to" formulas that will populate our new CSA Training Library and new Private Facebook group for CSA members over the course of the season. So new and veteran members alike can find fresh inspiration and keep experimenting in the kitchen.

And keep it interesting for me, too.  Because after all, I love learning new things.  That is what got me into CSA in the first place.

And eventually I hope to talk to all of you!  Let me know if you want to do it!

~Mary Margaret

PS: It is really fun!  And you will realize how much you have acheived in your journey with the CSA!  Way to go, you!