Thursday, March 1, 2012

Happy March

Boy, it sure feels like March took longer to get here than usual.  At least a day longer... (Ha!  Leap year jokes are funny!  No..? okay...)

March is my favorite month of the year.  First and foremost, it's my birthday.  Now, I know we're supposed to stop caring about our birthdays when we turn 21 and there are no more "good" ones.  And I think I'm probably getting to about that age when I'm supposed to start lying about how old I am and denying my birthdays.  But I adore my birthday.  And I celebrate it all month.  I have no shame saying... "Well... I shouldn't... but it's my BIRTHDAY!"  I use that excuse all month.

March is also great because it's almost spring.  Sure, in Wisconsin, "real" spring probably doesn't start until June, but the Vernal Equinox is in March so it's spring.  Can't fight the sun!

It also means that food is coming.  Like I said in my last post, I haven't really had a hard time getting food this winter, but spring, in my opinion, is the best time for food, whether you're eating locally or not.

My husband might disagree.  I think he would say the best time for food is fall.  Fall is, after all, the big harvest season.  We have entire holidays based on fall harvest gluttony (I don't use that word as a negative here...).

But spring food is something else.  Spring food is finally something fresh after a long winter.  Spring is asparagus, snap peas, arugula, radishes, and rhubarb.  It's almost strawberries.  It's dandelions.

And spring is almost summer.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

This year, I have a new adventure to explore.  I will be getting a CSA box.

CSA, for those of you who don't know, stands for "Community Supported Agriculture."  Basically, it's a really cool way for local farmers to support themselves and keep their farms going.  Instead of just going to farmer's markets, you can join a CSA, and get a box of produce every week.  They know they have guaranteed customers and income, you know you have guaranteed fresh produce.

I have never gotten a CSA before.  I've looked at them.  Especially last summer, when I was learning about and hitting up all of the farmer's markets in the area, trying to find the most food possible, I saw a few stands that had lines for CSA members only.  It made me curious.

Not so curious that I got one.  And really not so curious that I even asked them about it.  I was vaguely aware of what a CSA was, and that was enough.  I wasn't sure they were for me.

I'm still not 100% sure what they're about, and I'm still not 100% sure there for me, but this year I want to give one a try.  I will be attending the Local Farmer Open House at Milwaukee's Urban Ecology Center on Saturday March 17th from 11:00am to 4:00pm.  Afterward, I will be drinking green beer.  The event looks really interesting, even for someone who isn't necessarily interested in joining a CSA.  There will be opportunities to learn more about purchasing from local farmers - which, for the record, is not all that easy to figure out how to do on your own.  I'm sure there's a lot I'm still missing, so I'm excited to start using some resources.  There will also be workshops available on how to pick out a CSA, how to cook from your CSA box, and also about the benefits of supporting local farmers (like keeping pesticides out of our water supply).  It's gearing up to be an educational good time!  Which, since I am a great big nerd, tends to be my favorite kind of big time.

I'm embarrassed to admit that I've never actually been to the Urban Ecology Center.  Looking at their website, they seem to have a lot of great resources, and probably could have helped a good deal over the past year.  Again, and educational good time.  I have no excuse for not making it out there in the past.

So I'm forming a list of questions, and I intend to harass all of the farmers until I find the best CSA for me.  I'm excited.  It's an adventure!

I'll keep you up to date.

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