I wish we could say "Hey, CSA, it's not you--it's us." But that wouldn't be true. Well, not completely true, anyway.
The CSA model is wonderful, and I still recommend it if you are just beginning with real food/local food as an idea, or if you don't live in an area that is as local-food friendly as ours. I just think that for us... well, we've sort of moved beyond it. We ended up throwing out a lot of food last year because we had too much, or got things we didn't/couldn't eat, and we found new ways to eat locally and seasonably that didn't require a middleman.
And that--cutting out the middleman between my dollar and the farmer who grows my food--is a really important thing to me.
So what do we do without our CSA to continue to eat locally and seasonally? Here are a few key points to our approach to food:
- We buy directly from farmers. We are fortunate to have a year-round farmer's market, and we go once a week to stock up on groceries which we buy directly from the people who raise them. We are on a first-name basis with the people who grow our vegetables, feed our pork chops, and pull our eggs out from under the chickens who laid them. That also means that our money goes directly to those people with no middleman taking a cut, maximizing profit for our farmers and helping to build an economy that rewards the kind of food production we consider important.
- We eat in season. I eat maybe one or two homemade salads all winter, and those are very special treats usually made with locally grown hydroponic lettuce. We'd eat more, but I just don't like hydroponic lettuce much. The rest of the winter, we eat meat, root vegetables, and preserved foods. Which brings me to my next bullet point...
- We store up for winter. I buy extra food all summer and invest time in canning, pickling, storing, and freezing in order to have access to a greater variety of food during the winter months. Our freezer is stocked with eggplant, cauliflower, and berries. Our cupboard has applesauce, tomato sauce, bruschetta, pickles, and jars of locally grown dried black beans, spelt berries, and more. We are practically swimming in butternut squash and onions.
Do you eat local? How do you do it?