This is my family’s fifth season as CSA (community supported agriculture) members with Denison Farms in Upstate New York. From early June through October each year we share in the bounty, or loss of hurricane damaged crops, with the Denison Farm family of members.
As a change, this year we decided to take advantage of a working share. With our CSA, you can receive a reduction in annual payment (approximately 10%) in lieu of working 8 hours either at the farm or at one of the farmer’s markets where Denison is a vendor.
I decided to work at the Denison Farm’s stand at the Troy Waterfront Farmer’s Market for a Saturday. I loved it! Being at a farmer’s market pre-opening gives you a much greater appreciation for the amount of work that the farmer’s and artisan craft producers go through every week for market day. At 7:30AM, we unloaded the impeccably organized truck of well labeled crates. Denison Farms produces dozens of certified naturally grown produce from Tat Soi to Adirondack Blue Potatoes.
By 9AM the stand was open for business. The staff at Denison so thoroughly know the ins and outs of every product they sold. It was amazing to watch them describe with such passionate detail the differences in a vegetable’s taste, texture and so on. I felt so inept with my basic knowledge of the products we use at home. I contributed through restocking the tables and making 1.75 pound bag of carrots and trying to direct customers to the real farmers when they had questions.
Why a Joining a CSA is Important for Families
My daughter was less than a year old when we made the commitment to start partnering with a CSA. Since she’s grown picking up our Wednesday veggie box for 5 months out of the year, she’s developed an appreciation for growing your own food through our CSA and backyard garden. Yes, I’m going to gloat here, she loves vegetables many kids won’t even look at – Brussel sprouts, kale, spinach. She’s not a complete veggie lover and it’s still tough at times to get her to enjoy vegetables, but she does enjoy the opportunity to grow food and I attribute that, in part, to our CSA. Our toddler is another story.
I wish I could have taken her to the farmer’s market to help, but it wasn’t the place for a five year old with little attention span. When I came home I was energized to use our recent box of veggies for new and enticing recipes. I made beet chips with my daughter’s help and a mixed winter squash, leek and potato soup.
As this season quickly comes to a close and our own garden has largely been disassembled, I think of the lessons we teach our kids about how and what we eat and how that impacts them. I think back and smile how last summer I caught my daughter playing with her anatomically incorrect Barbie’s in a clearly more sustainable living scenario. Cinderella Barbie and skimpy dressed veterinarian Barbie were picking up their veggie share! How we live our lives truly does impact our kids and this little role playing proved we’re doing something right!
Mark your calendars now as most area CSAs begin to sign on members in January for the upcoming summer and are filled by April.
Adrienne Veglia Mazeau | Adrienne lives outside of Albany, NY with her archaeologist husband, creative school age daughter and a very active toddler. When not dreaming about where to take her family next she works as a Fiscal Policy Analyst for New York State. Combining an insatiable appetite for breaking out of routine and discovering new destinations with her family while working full time keeps the balancing act interesting. Writing as become her creative outlet. Email: AdrienneVegliaMazeau@AlbanyKid.com, Twitter: @AdrienneVMazeau