Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Fall CSA Program

It's very exciting! We've decided that the response to our synagogue's CSA has been so positive, that we are going to offer a Fall Program.

Since there is another more established CSA in our area that uses the same farmer, we can look at what they received last year for any given week to get an idea of what will be in our box.

I was really surprised by the vegetables that arrived from late September to late November, when the fall season will run.

I always assumed it was all squash and root vegetables, but behold the mouth-watering assortment of produce we have to look forward to:
  • cabbage
  • winter squash
  • lima beans
  • white sweet potatoes
  • sweet peppers, green and red
  • broccoli
  • apples, low/no spray
  • kale
  • eggplant
  • carrots
  • parsnips
  • white turnips
  • yellow turnips (rutabaga)
  • celery root (celeriac)
  • radishes
  • leaf lettuce
  • lettuce greens
  • Chinese cabbage
  • Swiss chard
  • beets
  • collards
  • head lettuce
  • pumpkin
  • red bell peppers, sweet
  • leeks
  • mixed greens
  • herbs
  • hot peppers in a bag
  • tomatoes
  • Asian pears (No Spray)
If I had stopped to think about it this makes sense - what with fall being all about the harvest. I mean we only have a Jewish holiday (Sukkot) and an American holiday (Thanksgiving) centered around this harvest during this time period.

I'm reading Barbara Kingsolver's book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life about how she and her family eat only what they can grow themselves or can find locally for one year. One of the things she talks a lot about is how unbelievably clueless most of us are about when the actual growing season is for most fruit and vegetables. Thanks to decades of being able to purchase anything from anywhere at any time of the year, we are all as spoiled as the vegetables left on a Sunday night at the local supermarket.

The way she presents the progression of the growing season makes a lot of sense. She asks us to imagine all the vegetables and fruits we eat as part of the same plant:

"To recover an intuitive sense of what will be in season throughout the year, picture an imaginary plant that bears over the course of one growing season all the different vegetable products we can harvest. We’ll call it a vegetannual. Picture its life passing before your eyes like a time-lapse film: first, in the cool early spring, shoots poke up out of the ground. Small leaves appear, then bigger leaves. As the plant grows up into the sunshine and the days grow longer, flower buds will appear, followed by small green fruits. Under midsummer’s warm sun, the fruits grow larger, riper, and more colorful. As days shorten into the autumn, these mature into hard-shelled fruits with appreciable seeds inside. Finally, as the days grow cool, the vegetannual may hoard the sugars its leaves have made, pulling them down into a storage unit of some kind: a tuber, bulb, or root."
Using this imagery (which you can see an illustration of at animalvegetablemiracle.com), it makes perfect sense that asparagus (shoots) are one of the earliest vegetables to arrive in early spring, then green leafy vegetables, then later the fruits with lots of seeds like eggplant and peppers, and then the gourds.

I feel kinda dumb (for not thinking of it before), yet enlightened.


  1. Hi Rumpole,
    I think sweet corn is done by early October, isn't it?



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