I think one of the highlights of our year was joining a local CSA named Plum Creek Farms. I had learned about CSA’s a couple of years back but was a little gunshy to sign up because of the price involved. However after breaking down what we actually would get versus what we would actually spend on lesser quality produce and meats it was a decent savings from going all organic at a Whole Foods or even Heinen’s.
If you have heard the term CSA and were always afraid to ask it stands for Community Supported Agriculture. A CSA is building a relationship with a farm, essentially buying a share in that farm and getting a weekly bounty of in season, fresh whole foods. Our CSA at Plum Creek included at least a bare minimum of two full bags of local fresh organic produce (sometimes three), a different selection or cut of meat (Lamb, Beef, Chicken, Turkey, Pork), a dozen fresh eggs, and occasional handcrafted items like soaps, honey, jam, or even ice cream. Not once did I get something that was bad. Not once did I get something that wasn’t used, and honestly I still have produce and meats from this season in my freezer. It is an abundance of food.
I consider Plum Creek my extended family and I will continue my relationship with them for many seasons to come. Things taste different when they come fresh from the farm. Things taste the way they are supposed to taste when they come from the ground to your table. When you think about the long trip an Idaho potato makes just to get to you in Cleveland you are talking days and weeks before it even gets to the bin at the local Giant Eagle. My potato gets harvested, rinsed and put in my bag hours before I go to pick it up. My drive to the farm consists of a beautiful rural trip to Valley City Ohio. It takes me about 30 minutes to get there and 30 to get home. It truly was a pleasure driving out there every week just for the scenery. The anticipation of “what did I get” is half the fun. They will send out an email the day before to let you know but it was still cool to unpack those bags when we got home.
With a CSA, and I do highly suggest Plum Creek, you get very fresh produce. They pick only what is in season. They don’t pick anything that is not ready to eat. You get organic, good for you heirloom produce. I would buy extra tomatoes just to make sauce in tomato season that was to die for. They also provide the herbs for the seasoning of that sauce; fresh basil, oregano, etc. You also get to learn where your food comes from. I am pretty sure I ate one of the chickens that roam around the grounds and had fresh ice cream made from the milk of one of the dairy cows. You get to meet the family that provides all this food for you and they are great honest, hardworking people. A real family of generations of farmers. You also get to support the local economy by buying local. This is as local as you can get folks. Most important though you get to participate in a movement. The government might not be willing to set better standards for food by doing things like calling ketchup a vegetable, but you can control what you put in your mouth and your families mouth by buying fresh and local.
Our last pick up from Plum Creek was for our Thanksgiving feast. We got everything needed to make an amazing meal. We got a fresh heritage turkey, potatoes (sweet and regular), pumpkin for pies, squash, ice cream, celery, onions, herbs and spices, fresh bread, honey, jams, cranberry sauce, eggs and some homemade milk soaps. It was amazing and all part of our yearly subscription. Don & Amie Sprinkle and their family are amazing folks doing amazing things. Check them out on Facebook and learn more about their CSA at Plum Creek. If you every asked yourself which CSA should I join you would be hard pressed to find one as good as Plum Creek Farms.