So You’ve Decided To Join The CSA
It’s that time of year again. I’m seeing flyers in coffee shops and boyfriends lugging bags of soil back from the hardware store and imagining people in urban areas everywhere shouting to each other at parties, “So, you guys doing the whole CSA thing this year?”
Was this the year for you? We forgot to do it, to sign up. I feel like I am missing out on something huge, like I am spending beautiful Saturday after beautiful Saturday not at the beach (also true).
Questions to ask yourself when deciding whether to sign up for the CSA:
– Whether you’re up for dragging your ass out of bed every Saturday before noon.
– Whether you have ample Tupperware and tote bags at the ready.
– “Do I have it in me to carry arugula to work in a sandwich bag?”
– “How badly do I need to be distracted from my own morality?”
– “And how much am I willing to pay for it?”
If the answer was, “Around a thousand dollars, and I hope the distraction is perishable!” then congratulations, you are now a member of the CSA. Now here’s what you do:
1. The first step is to Google the shit out of your CSA and worry it’s not the “right” CSA to join.
It isn’t. Someone you follow on Instagram has eggplant and you haven’t moved past last year’s broccoli. “Winterized” or no, this is bullshit. Let go of it. There’s nothing you can do now.
2. Attend an orientation. An orientation for getting food. Sure.
Ours was in a basement of a church. And by basement of a church I mean basement of a church that Sufjan practices in. A lady named Diane who looked like a really passionate gym teacher, possibly a former nun, was very emphatic about freezing tomatoes.
I knew I would come to disappoint Diane at some point, our blueberries mushed at the bottom of some god forsaken totebag, no hard plastic in sight.
3. Figure out a way to pay for the CSA.
What no one ever talks about is that CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. I’m kidding! Everyone talks about that. What really no one talks about is that you have to pay for all of it up front, like a vegetal IUD.
“It’s a lot of money, you know. We don’t have to do this. It’s a lot of money.”
You might, like we did, find yourself climbing out of your kitchen window a few times a day to throw the refuse into a compost pile you’ve set up in the backyard. To atone, probably, for our good fortune.
Step 4. Become these people, and feel really weird about it.
Or you know, there is always owning your decisions and enjoying your life without guilt.
Ha. Ha. Ha.
5. There is a volunteer shift.
While you may be tempted to sign up for it in late fall (“it’s so far away it’s barely real” “We’ll probably be on vacation every weekend in summer, so.”), do not. Late fall is cold and you’ll be standing outside, lugging crates of butternut squash to and from the back of a truck. “It’s like we’re farmers!” You won’t be able to use your arms for the better part of a week.
6. Be changed by the CSA.
Heading to the CSA every Saturday will make you feel, suddenly, like you could be dog owners. Like the dog thing would probably fit pretty well into your routine. Sit with that.
Become the kind of people who wake up “in time” on Saturday — who have breakfast and maybe sex and are out the door before 11:30am (“LATENESS NOT TOLERATED”). You’ll arrive just in time to scoff at every other insufferable bastard who is just like you, in line weighing their tomatoes, squeezing each one, as if life had meaning, as if we, the people behind them, weren’t now going to have to take home whatever was left.
7. Your life is now the CSA.
If you do join the CSA, this is basically the main thing you will have going on in your life, for the summer. People at work happy hour will ask you what’s new, and all you’ll be able to think is, “Oh god, I shouldn’t even be out right now. I have eight cucumbers in the crisper and they aren’t getting any younger.”
(Making quick pickles late at night gave me, if nothing else, an outsized self-regard. What are you doing, honey? Playing video games? Oh, because I am REVIVING OUR PRODUCE.)
Write this on a Post-It Note and hang it on the fridge:
Making pickles is really just taking cucumbers and putting them and spice water in a cute jar.
Or maybe this:
You didn’t just sign up to get a sack of guaranteed food every week. You signed up to make a fucking compote.
8. Hang in there.
You’ll spend November Google image searching types of squash and then you’ll be home free. Come winter you’ll glide into the grocery store every other day or so and cook something beautifully half-assed and kale-heavy. Put an egg on it, an egg from the ass of a chicken you haven’t met yet and are unsure about. You’ll reenter once more the season of buying lunch at work, liberated, finally, from the benign tyranny of Community Supported Agriculture.
In the meantime, embrace the smoothie lifestyle. For now, you are a smoothie-ist. This is your calling: efficiency with regard to the consumption of produce. Smoothies and tomato sauce. And ketchup. And a bag full of frozen tomatoes in the far corners of your freezer. You will not forget about them. You will remember them at the exact right moment, months from now. Fresh summer tomatoes in the dark of February!
What a thoughtful and together person you are. What an adult. You could probably own a dog and no one would even think twice.