Friday, November 16, 2012

The Great CSA Experiment...

Beautiful Bounty!

In case you didn’t hear Prop 37 - The Ballet initiative in California that would have made labeling of all GMO containing products sold in the state mandatory by law - didn’t pass. A sad day for California and for the United States. Monsanto and other pro-GMO companies like General Mill, Dupont, Hershey’s, Nestle, Kellogg, Kraft and so forth spent over $44 million to lie, deceive and convince California voters to vote no on prop 37 instead of yes. When the initiative failed, Monsanto through a huge GMO party at their headquarters. It was a sad day for sure, but there is at least one good thing that came out of it. Awareness. I think people are more aware then ever about GMO’s, this election garnered so much publicity that it was hard to escape it, especially if you lived in California. People are aware, consumers are concerned and they’re fighting back harder now then ever. Monsanto won this battle, but I don’t think they will win the war.

The single most important thing we can do to show these corporations that we are not going to take it anymore is to vote with our dollars when we go to the store. Buy all organic from now on, or as much organic as you can afford. Boycott all of the companies that were against GMO labeling and helped fund the lies that Monsanto spread. Boycott all the organic brands that those same companies own - because General Mills and corps like them actually now own many organic brands. Another huge step would be to start making more things yourself at home with wholesome ingredients. Make your own breads, make your own jams, dips, sauces, and spreads. In the end it’s really cheaper and healthier for you to do that anyway.

Look at that Kale!

You can also join a CSA which is something My husband and I decided to do after we found out Prop 37 failed. A CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and they’re fantastic. Every state should have one just Google for CSA’s in your area. Typically what a CSA is, is local community farms growing organic produce and distributing it locally, they grow what’s in season, and for a certain amount of money either per week or per month you are delivered fresh local organic produce. This is great because it not only supports organics but it also supports local agriculture. It’s better for the planet, it’s better for us, and it forces us to go back to nature a little bit by forcing us to eat what’s seasonal. We as a species have completely lost our understanding for eating seasonal foods. We’re far to use to getting pineapple in the dead of winter, and sweet potatoes in the summer.

Beautiful Tat Soi

I have known about CSA’s for years, and I’ve always been curious to join one, but I always thought it was too expensive or I just wasn’t sure if it would be as good as some people said It would be. After prop 37 though my husband turned to me and said we had to do something different, and I agreed. We started buying only organic foods, something we didn’t previously do because some non-organic stuff was cheaper and some stuff just isn’t available as organic. We’ve decided now that if it isn’t available organic then it probably isn’t worth it and so we change our menu plan. This was great for about a week and a half until I realized that it was very expensive indeed to do as we were doing. We were buying less food to keep costs lower, but still you walk into a Whole Foods and see a pound of organic apples for $3 and realize a pound is only 2 apples and you start to wonder if there’s a better way.

Check out that Cabbage! It's bigger then the pumpkin!

Enter in the CSA - this is great for us for two reasons. 1) We’re getting good, local, organic produce that’s in season for a reasonable price. 2) We’re not supporting big Organic retailers like Whole Foods. With the recent GMO scandal surrounding Whole Foods, and then their complete refusal to financially support Prop 37 even though financially they were more then able to donate a significant amount to the cause without it making a difference to them, we’ve realized that Whole Foods isn’t the savior or angel it claims to be. It’s a business, and in the end the only thing that matters to it’s corporate goons is their bottom line. How much money are they making? That’s what matters. How can they make more money? And they will do anything and everything they can to keep their sales high, and keep people coming in. That includes deceptive marketing and flat-out lying. I honestly don’t trust them as a company, I don’t trust their integrity, and I don’t trust many of their products. If you go into one of their stores and start reading labels your mind will be blown.

Scarlet Turnips! and Pie Pumpkin! 

The solution for us then became to support them as little as possible. That’s why we chose to join a CSA. The one we picked is a local, Chicago based CSA that serves the greater Chicago and Milwaukee areas. They grow organic fruits and vegetables. They also have free-range eggs and grass-fed meats which I wish they didn’t have but for the omnivores out there it’s good for you to know that, things like that are also an option through a CSA. Their prices are reasonable, they deliver, and they make their driving routes as eco-friendly as possible. Which means they only deliver to certain areas on certain days to keep their fuel cost low. I like that. My delivery day is Friday, and so this morning I was excited to see the truck pull up to my driveway and a man with a large biodegradable box come walking up to my door.

Isn't that Tat Soi gorgeous? Yum!

Since I’d never ordered from a CSA before I wanted to order just a small amount first to see what it would be like. I ordered the vegetable double box which for $25 is suppose to provide enough vegetables for 2 people for the week. In the box I got garlic, scallions, parsley, carrots, scarlet turnips, sweet potatoes, kale, pie pumpkin, green cabbage, lettuce, and tat soi. Whether or not it’ll be enough for the week I’m not sure - we sometimes eat a lot - but we’ll find out next Friday how it goes. As for the quality of the produce, I couldn’t have asked for better. Everything looks super fresh, nothing is wilted, nothing is brown, and all of the veggies actually have a smell. Do you notice most of the time you buy stuff at the grocery store it doesn’t smell like anything? These vegetables are fragrant and beautiful. Also the carrots, the cabbage and the kale are huge. I could probably get 3 or 4 different meals out of that one cabbage! I am probably most excited about the Tat soi which I have never eaten before or even heard off. It’s a Chinese green apparently so I can’t wait to make something Asian inspired with it.

Depending on how well this box of veggies serves us this week I will probably order both another veggie box and a fruit box for next Friday. Check out CSA’s in your area, and keep voting with your dollars when you shop at the grocery store! If we demand better, companies will have to comply or risk going out of business.

1 comment:

  1. Your Veggie Box looks great, your right..more people should support local growers and choose foods that are seasonal & organic when ever able to, my husband I have been trying to do this by supporting our local farmers in our area, and you can bet in the long run it is cheaper & we feel better supporting them! Must say yourTai Soi looks interesting and very fresh! S.T.