I grew up in the city of Toronto. My groceries came in fancy packages from large grocery stores chains. I spent little time thinking about where my “perfect looking” fruits and vegetables came from. Growing up I enjoyed delicious/healthy meals that my mom prepared. My mom grew up in a small town in northern Quebec, she seemed to have an innate ability to make delicious meals according to the seasons with only a handful of ingredients. Actually she would have learned a lot from my grandmother who had to be resourceful, spending a lot of time in the kitchen feeding her family of eight with much rich food from her small vegetable garden. I realize more each day how lucky I was to have grown up eating healthy food.
When I moved to Perth 12 years ago, I quickly fell in love with the quaintness of the town and the people! The Perth farmers market soon became my favorite thing to do every Saturday. I loved being outdoors, getting to know the vendors and seeing the pride they take in setting up their booths and displaying their products (Tanya’s gyspy wagon is my favorite). My family and I enjoyed lots of prepared food including homemade soup, sushi, sausages and samosas! I would also buy a few basic staples; lettuce, tomatoes, herbs and eggs. Truthfully I was a little intimidated with the abundance/variety of produce available.
A few years ago I’d heard about a “green box” program, where you get a variety of fresh vegetables from a local farmer on a weekly or biweekly basis. I loved the idea of supporting a local farmer but was a little hesitant. I worried that I wouldn’t know what to do with a box full of vegetables…there is little I dislike more than unnecessary waste! Over the last few years I’ve gotten to know the friendly farmer Erin of “Highland Gem Farm“. One day she mentioned her CSA program. I was curious so I went to her website to learn more. I finally decided to give it a go! I signed up for the CSA program; which stands for Community Supported Agriculture. What is a CSA exactly? Here is a good description from the Highland Gem Farm website: “Our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Program is what keeps us afloat with seed-money in the spring, a reliable production plan, and a relationship where you share in the risks and education of what each growing season offers. This is essential to building a vibrant local community where people are connected to the land, their farmer, community and food.”
I can’t say enough about it. I am learning so much! Erin sends an email letting you know what will be in the box the week before, there are also fun tips and recipes. The bi-weekly CSA is pushing me out of my comfort zone. I am trying new recipes and have started pickling if I have too much! A couple of weeks ago among the large assortment of fresh vegetables I received some turnips and beets, so I decided to pickle them. Last week I received lots white cucumbers (didn’t know there was such a thing), I was struggling to use them up, so I decided to make pickles. This week I plan on making zucchini relish, a treat I first tried at the farmers market!