Crop-Share Testing Wrap-Up

The past six weeks of crop-share bliss have flown by! I cannot believe it has been six weeks since we started on this adventure. Since I originally created a post (https://creativecrops.wordpress.com/2011/08/19/hello-world/ ) about why I had wanted to get into the crop-share pilot program at our local ‘farm’ I thought it was only fitting to do a quick recap, see if we met our goals, see if we changed our goals and overall really sit down and assess the crop-share experience from our perspective, so here goes!

One of my top goals was to be more creative in my cooking and food choices and by golly have I succeeded! When I visit a regular grocery store I spend much more time in the fresh produce section. I am more knowledgeable and how to incorporate really fresh ingredients into the recipes we make and find myself really picking up a wider variety of foods to cook with in the upcoming week. Greg and I are being pressured to be more open-minded and try a wider variety of foods and while we don’t’ like them all, we have added quite a few new recipes to our ‘rotation’.  I definitely feel that our diets have changed for the better and we are much less wasteful in what we toss weekly.

While I have upped the number of fresh foods I am purchasing I have noted a sharp decrease in the number of foods we are throwing away. While there is still more waste we could be saving, we have really gotten much more creative with how to use the food that is almost on its way out. Case in point – we had some strawberries that were definitely on their last legs. At this point they would have been much too sweet for us to eat but with the addition of cream and our ice cream maker we had ourselves some really delicious strawberry ice cream with no need for added sugar. It was a great feeling seeing something that I previously would have chucked be used in an alternative way.

A hesitation I held about joining a crop-share would be that it wouldn’t be worth the money – I wouldn’t like the foods that I was given and thus was throwing my money away. I didn’t find this to be true. There were weeks when I didn’t like as much of the food as other weeks but most of those times Greg dug that food OR we shared with someone else. This is a crop share after all, and giving good food away to someone who will appreciate and enjoy it is a good way to go. Another bonus of sharing like that is that they often reciprocate by sharing the end product with you and it may change your mind about that particular item…

The quantity seemed to work for us. It wasn’t an overwhelming amount but we did find ourselves dehydrating, freezing or long-term storing bulkier items on a weekly basis. The benefit of that is that we now have some great fresh herbs including dill and thyme to use at a later date and have a nice stock-up of a variety of pasta sauce for the winter as well as some other good staples. It has made cooking at home much easier because it has changed our mindset. Now when we have a late night of meetings, sports and whatnot we can come home and defrost and reheat something we previously made, like chili, pasta sauce, or even chicken and couple it with some freshly steamed veggies that takes no time at all. In our past habits we would come home, feel we had ‘nothing’ to make and head out to pick something up. While the crop-share isn’t directly responsible for this, being that it only provides produce, it did help us open our eyes to this habit and change our mindset. We buy far fewer packaged foods (like hamburger helper – even though it is still delicious!) than we did pre-crop share and I know I personally don’t look for that ‘easy’ food anymore.

It’s a nice feeling to get a better idea of where your food has come from, getting to know the smiling face you see weekly when you pick up your produce and know that this purchase is supporting the local economy around you. I love shopping, but there are plenty of malls, I would much rather do my share and buy local produce to keep that farm as my neighbor instead of becoming neighbors with another strip-mall.

The crop-share worked for us! We really enjoyed it, we were excited every week to see what we would be getting and then paged through numerous cookbooks and online recipes to find ‘the one’ to try with that item. It was exciting, it was fun and it helped us get to enjoy each other’s company working towards a common goal – eating! This is something we are going to sign-up for and look forward to continuing to be a part of. Crop-shares may not work for everyone or every lifestyle but it is definitely something we are glad to pick-up weekly!

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by whit on September 30, 2011 at 11:57 am

    Blog to continue for Fall crop-share?!? I smell apple pie and pumpkin bread!! 🙂

    Reply

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