Green For Saint Patrick’s Day
Maybe somebody can help me out here, because while I understand my own culture fairly well, others are still a bit of a mystery to me.
So now we are in Lent, which to me means that it’s wise to avoid our local fish fry places on Fridays. And I suppose that’s not such a big deal these days. With my new stupid diet, I’m supposed to avoid fried food anyhow. But the idea here is that Catholics aren’t supposed to eat meat on Fridays. Am I right so far?
Except now I hear that the meatless Friday provision was called off for today. You know, because it’s Saint Patrick’s Day. And I know I’m mixing metaphors here, but it doesn’t seem kosher.
Not that I’m throwing stones. I get grief every year when I put pulled pork on matzoh. You know, sometimes real life religious practice doesn’t quite line up with the dogma. And I think that’s okay. I like to look step back and look at the world’s religions from afar. Because for the most part, they are about treating other people the way you want to be treated.
When we start bickering about whose god said to build what structure on any specific plot of land, we lose track of the big picture to everyone’s detriment. For what it’s worth, I don’t blame religion, I blame orthodoxy. In all of its forms. For pretty much everything.
Where was I?
Oh, Saint Patrick’s Day, which is all about green. Except here in Albany we’re still under a thick layer of snow. So you’ll just have to imagine the green rolling hillsides of Ireland. But as you are picturing that lush sea of green, hold that thought in your mind, and let’s talk about spring.
It’s going to be here before you know it. Which means it’s time for those who are going to start planting to get their act in gear. And that means that CSAs are signing up members.
Every year there are still people who don’t know what a CSA is, and that’s fine. It’s great even. That indicates the market isn’t saturated, and these farm programs still potentially have room for growth.
C.S.A. stands for Community Supported Agriculture.
Buying food from farms at the farmers market is great. But it’s like Tinder. Actually, I have no idea if that’s true. I’m too old for Tinder. I was going to say it’s like dating. However, I was concerned that I may have to define that for younger readers as well.
The point is there is no commitment to buying produce from a farm at a farmers market. But it’s a great way to sample which farms really grow great stuff, and ultimately find a favorite.
CSAs are more like marriage.
You make a financial commitment to a farm for the entire growing season. In return, you receive a portion of the food that is harvested that season every week. In a good year, you’ll get more glorious local and seasonal produce than you can imagine. In an off year, you may end up missing out on corn or tomatoes. However, a good CSA will find a way to still make sure to deliver value to its shareholders.
And much like a marriage, there is tremendous value for both parties.
The Fussies have been happy members of Roxbury Farm for years. In the world of small farms, it is relatively big, serving 1000 families up and down the Hudson. Here in the Capital Region Roxbury has eight different pick-up locations, where you can gather your weekly share. There are two in Albany proper, one in Cohoes, one in Delmar, one in Glenville, one in Latham, one in Schenectady, and one in Troy.
I really like that you get to pick out the specific pieces of produce you want. If the share calls for a bunch of beets, I might go for the ones with the fullest greens, since that might be my favorite part of the beet. Or I may feel like getting small turnips rather than large ones, depending upon what I have in mind for them when I get home.
For the past couple of years, we’ve been sharing a share. That means finding another person to alternate weeks, so instead of having a massive amount of salad greens appear every seven days over the growing season, we get a break to catch our breath.
Those salad greens are so good that they were responsible for turning me into a salad lover from a salad hater. But even so, they can get overwhelming.
We’re signed up again this year. But it won’t start until the second week of June. Still, now is the time to sign up, so the farm can do its planning. This is a worthwhile venture to support, and it will make your life more delicious.
That’s my annual CSA pitch. Think about it. And maybe I’ll see you at the CSA pickup site. Or if we end up having different pickup places, at least we can come back to the blog every week and try to figure out what to do with the bounty of the harvest together.
I know I have my favorite recipes and preparations, but I’d be very curious to hear what other people do with their share.
Have fun out there today. Eat some corned beef for me. I’ll be eating roast chicken and challah. You know, because I have a holiday tonight too. It’s just the same one I had last Friday. And on Monday, I’ll talk about corned beef again, but this time from another angle. And no, it’s not hash. Any guesses?