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First Day at Orchard Hill

Today was the first scheduled pick-up day for Orchard Hill CSA.  As I’ve mentioned, four other households I know decided to join along with me.  I am thrilled by this, and was quite confident that this CSA was a good idea . But I have to admit there was a little part of me that was worried.  I mean, what if we get there and all they have for us is a head of wilted lettuce?  I knew that wouldn’t happen, but I felt responsible for having convinced my friends to cough up $500 each to join.  After all, I’d never been there before, and never even met anyone who’d been there.  I based all of my assumptions on theory – i.e. that CSA’s are a good thing – and one or two positive comments I found on the internet.  So joining was somewhat a leap of faith, and I had convinced my friends to jump along with me.

Fortunately there was absolutely no reason for concern.  Today’s experience was wonderful.  Two of my friends chose to come with me and the other two households sent along containers for us to bring back their produce.  The sun was shining, the air was warm; the day was perfect for a nice drive in the country.  And drive it was.  I’m really glad I’ll be sharing the carpooling with 5 or 6 other cars as it was a bit of a hike to get down there.  I think it was a solid 40 minute drive each way, which somewhat defeats the zero emissions of naturally raised food.  Of course it is better than having it shipped from China, but driving 60km once a week with today’s gas prices will certainly add to the price of the food.  Fortunately I will only have to drive my car once every 6 weeks or so, and each trip will feed 5 households, which – if divided equally – makes for a 12km diet.  Now that is something to be happy about!

The drive is beautiful so it really wasn’t a hardship, especially with pleasant discussion among friends. When we arrived at last, the property was beautiful.  I look forward to wandering around and seeing more of it, but today we didn’t have time.  We were too busy figuring out how it all works!  Basically, the pick-up went as follows.  We parked and went into the distribution room.  There, there was a list with all the member’s names and a list of what you get today.  You scratch off your name and then move around the room and collect the week’s allotment:

12 stocks or rhubarb
8 green onions
8 radishes
1 bunch of asparagus
1 Pok Choi (sp?)
1 head of lettuce
A wide variety of herbs: oregano, sage, chives, sweet cisely (sp?), lovage, orange something or other (borage?), and several kinds of mint.
Fresh cut flowers (cut your own – this week we brought home bleeding hearts and lilacs)

Considering that my garden presently has mint, catnip, a few leaves of sage and a sprig of thyme, this haul is pretty impressive!  My roommate and I made up a very tasty salad and she baked a batch of the maple rhubarb pudding I posted about before.  Coupled with the stew I made yesterday, I think we ate very well!  Ironically neither of us like radishes, but we felt obliged to put some in our salad, and it actually was tasty.  Now to find something to do with the other seven… 

The flowers and herbs are a really nice touch.  The drive home was wonderful as the car smelled so good!  Unfortunately a number of things were wilted by the time we got them out of the car, so we will have to find a way to keep things cool as the summer heats up.  Fortunately everything perked up nicely when popped into water, and now our house smells like lilacs and lovage (which smells like celery).



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