At the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, we’ve been getting a lot of greens in our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares. But as it turns out, our willingness to enjoy (or even just to tolerate) the unexpected results of the growing process helps keep small farms economically viable, particularly during agricultural disasters.
Our CSA is an arrangement where customers subscribe to a weekly share of produce from a local, organic farmer. Unlike shopping in a supermarket, customers receive whatever seasonal produce survives the myriad of environmental dangers that threaten a crop – insects, weeds, fungi or lousy weather. Because of the unpredictable contents of a CSA “shopping cart,” CSA members typically exhibit a great deal of culinary adaptation and flexibility. This season was no exception – when we were expecting winter squash, we instead received bundles of delicious leafy greens. For some this was a blessing, but others had exhausted their repertoire of kale recipes and began yearning for more variety.