Due to circumstances beyond my control*, there will be no picture of the last CSA basket. It's rather fitting, in that I'm ending the same way I began ;)
I actually got the basket last Friday, a week ahead of schedule, as that was the last week of the CSA. But, as far as I can remember, the basket had squash, potatoes white and sweet, radishes, peppers, salad mix, carrots, celeriac, turnip and apples... and grape jelly!!
The radishes, peppers and salad mix became lunch, the taters and carrots ended up in the turkey shepherd's pie and I still have the rest of the food. The apples and jelly will be eaten as normal, but I have no plans for the rest.. yet.
Being that it's the end of my first CSA year, I'm thinking about how it went, and if I'll do it again.
And I wish I had a definitive answer, but I don't.
I like the connection the CSA gives me, the link to my local farming community. I like the fact that my money is going directly to the farmers. I like the fresh, healthy, local food.
I found a lot of food to be repetitive of what I was growing in my own garden. I found that the quantity I received (although plentiful for the money spent) wasn't enough to either keep me in fruit and vegetables for two weeks, nor enough to preserve for winter. And, although this speaks more toward my own need for stability and control and not toward any lack in the CSA, I found the whole "Surprise!" thing slightly frustrating. At least with my own garden, I can see what's getting close to harvest, and plan accordingly.
So, what am I going to do going forward?
Although I haven't ruled out the CSA for next year, this year taught me that what I really need is a source of local food that does two things:
1. Supplements what I grow myself, and fills in the gaps.
2. Provides large quantities at one time for preserving.
Which, when you think about it, describes a Farmer's Market, not a CSA.
I do have an idea in the back of my mind, though, about approaching the farm about a "Preserver's CSA": I give them some money up-front, and plan to receive, for example, larger quantities of items I don't grow myself - fruits mostly, but also cucumbers and squash (since I can't seems to keep them alive here) and maybe a few other items, like corn. I think the benefit to the farm would be knowing they have a guaranteed sale, instead of waiting for me to show up at the Market, and the fact that I won't show up at the Market and buy the entire bushel of whatever they were hoping to sell that week :)
I still have a few months to figure this out, and I might just pop over to the farm one of these days and sound them out about this.
And maybe they still have some grape jelly....
* I spent last weekend at my parent's house, cat-sitting while they went and had fun at a cottage for Thanksgiving. Thus, no camera and no photo!