It's likely that if you're reading this, you know what a CSA is, but if you don't, it stands for Community Supported Agriculture. In short, for each season, you buy a share (or partial share) offered by a farm, and in exchange, you get a basket of goods (usually each week). The basket is generally composed of fresh, seasonal produce, but many CSAs also include farm eggs, meat, honey, jams or other products made by the farmers. Each farm offers a little something different (as well as options for pickup times and places). A good list of CSAs available in the Nashville area can be found on LocalHarvest.
So, not only do you get a guaranteed bounty each week, CSA members also usually get the best of the bunch. Several times I've been to the West Nashville Farmers Market and noticed a voluptuous bounty at the back of a booth only to be told that it's off-limits except to members. It makes sense, but it's not quite enough to get me to join. Y'see, as much as I love fresh produce, I never want to have more than I can use.
That's why this story in The New York Times really resonated with me. The panic that can come with the never-ending influx of fresh produce. Yes. Like the mail, it doesn't stop (until it does, at the end of the season, that is). I've heard about it from others, too. I believe Nicki Wood once lamented there was only so much she could do with 5 pounds of yellow squash, particularly knowing that 5 pounds were coming next week, too.
And then there's this:
“All this produce arrives with a deadline,” said Benjamin Elwood, a lawyer in St. Paul. “It’s like when a DVD comes from Netflix. You feel like you have to watch the movie ASAP in order to get your money’s worth, but the pressure makes you not want to watch it.”
To help her students truly embrace vegetables, Ms. Welsh says that she has learned to address kitchen psychology along with cooking skills: less-experienced cooks have a persistent sense of responsibility toward the expensive, carefully raised produce that they buy and the corresponding feeling of guilt when that produce isn’t used to its full potential.
Yes, yes, a thousand times, yes.
Read the whole article. Not only does it offer advice on how to overcome vegetable anxiety, there are also some great tips on storage (as in, don't store fruits and vegetables together) and how to get the most out of the week's bounty. Helpful tips even for those of us who just take our chances with what the farmers offer us at the markets.