From David McAuley. Email him at david[AT]borderstan.com
Community Supported Agriculture in Borderstan: The View from Mid-winter
Kuhn Orchards supplies Borderstan with fresh fruit and vegetables throughout the winter via its Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. At an ungodly early hour every other Saturday, the Kuhn Orchard trucks brave the winter dark from their home base in Cashtown, Pennsylvania, to deliver cases of locally-grown produce in the parking lot of St. Augustine’s Catholic Church at 14th and V Streets NW.
Kuhn is familiar to many Borderstanis as a fixture at the western end of the summer U Street farmer’s market. However, during their winter deliveries, Kuhn won’t take your money. Following standard CSA practice, you have to pay the entire cost of all the winter’s deliveries (this year $385) up front. There are 11 deliveries between December and April. Kuhn tries to work with customers, but when you sign up for the CSA it is basically understood that, most of the time, you will take what the CSA offers. CSA membership is not for wimpy eaters.
The unusual items are the best part of CSA membership. They push the casual home cook out of the rut of long-used recipes. In December, a CSA delivery included sunchokes, otherwise known as Jerusalem artichokes, a root vegetable that looks like ginger and tastes like a cross between a potato and a water chestnut. Since Kuhn Orchards wants you to take their less-well-known items enthusiastically, joining members get an information pamphlet with idiot-proof recipes featuring these items like, in this case, Cream of Sunchoke Soup. It was delicious and a great conversation piece with the dinner guests.
Familiar or not, CSA produce is a great remedy for the mid-winter food blahs. It is literally straight from the farm. The fresh and vibrant tastes are like a little slice of summer and puts supermarket produce to shame. It’s too late to join the CSA in the heart of Borderstan this year, but we’ll post information this autumn about local winter CSA membership when it comes available.
For more information about Kuhn Orchards and their CSA program is available at their blog here.