Thursday, May 27, 2010

So Long, Pre-Washed Salad Greens

So, Matt and I are members of a CSA.

What is a CSA, you ask?

Over the last 20 years, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has become a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. Here are the basics: a farmer offers a certain number of "shares" to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (aka a "membership" or a "subscription") and in return receive a box of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season

Being CSA members has lots of benefits: plenty of farm-fresh seasonal goodies, street-cred with the hipster-enviro set, feeling of community involvement, cost-savings, etc.

There is, however, ONE HUGE DRAWBACK.

These are my salad greens, chilling in the newly-christened "drying zone" before I use them.

I would describe my family as early-adopters of the pre-washed, bagged lettuce movement. Circa 1998, my mom had like 10 bags of that stuff in our fridge at any moment. You never know when the neighbors might drop by for...salad. (Big Secret -- it all went bad...every time...but that just gave her reason to buy more). It's like she was on a mission to single-handedly keep the Dole Fresh Lettuces division in business.

Well, the apple doesn't fall far from Fresh Express Spring Mix, and I quickly became a pre-washed, bagged salad addict when I went to college and started buying my own groceries.

All was well in Lettuce Land, until the CSA. See, it's lettuce season and I feel compelled to buy the farm's lettuces...which are so far from washed that I actually once found a lightening bug in a head of romaine.

To make matters worse, I don't have a salad spinner (why would I...this is 2010, not 1950), so once I painstakingly wash this stuff, then I have to either: a) eat it sopping wet or b) swaddle it in paper towels until it's all dry. Realizing that both of those options are ridiculous, today I tried leaving it out on a dish towel (the drying zone) to dry for a few minutes, all-the-while taunted by images of the SuperTarget shelves, packed with industrial-farmed, carbon-steeped, water-wasting, flown-in-from-CA, glorious bagged lettuce goodness. I guess sometimes we know we're doing the right thing because it feels so hard.

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