Fresh, local veggies in the summer. That’s what many of us live for. Some are lucky enough to have space to grow their own. Others can get their fill from a neighbor or a local farmer’s market whenever they want. But for those of us who are city dwellers, we’re frequently left with the battered and bruised scraps brought once a week to our neighborhood — usually on a Sunday when we’d rather be anywhere but the sweltering, smelly sidewalk.
Thankfully, there is a great alternative. The CSA (community supported agriculture for those of you who live under a rock). Oddly, I had never heard of one in Manhattan, and certainly didn’t expect it to be easily accessible or cost-effective. But then a friend (who never cooks but likes to pretend he might) mentioned joining one on the Upper West Side. I was intrigued but uncharacteristically let it go for several weeks. Then the warm winds blew in, and I wanted some fresh peas. I still haven’t found any (outside of Germany, an issue for me every year). But I decided to check out my CSA options so I didn’t have to go through this all summer.
To my surprise, I was quite late to the game — even if none of the shares started until mid-June. But I did find a cute one– Cream of the Crop– you can pick up your share of fresh fruit and veggies every Tuesday at a designated place and time. While it may be difficult for some of the working population, I’m sure you can spare 15 minutes once a week — or use some initiative to figure out how to pick up you share. Obviously, if you can find the time to use the amazingly fresh, local items you’ll receive, you can manage to pick them up.
Mine, through Cream of the Crop, starts in a couple of weeks and runs through November. At under $400 for a small share, it may not be that cheap but it’s not expensive compared to other local CSAs (most of which are closed already – and I am hard-pressed to believe that many people are cooking that much on the UWS). Anyway, for about 5 months of fresh produce, I think it’s worth it. Or at least it is in principle. Once I get my first round, I’ll cook something and let you know my thoughts.