Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Joining a CSA

I've been meaning to write about this for some time.

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Its a nifty little arrangement wherein you pay a fee and get weekly deliveries of in-season produce all summer long from a farm near you. Usually, CSAs are started within your community/town/city and they require a certain number of people to participate. The delivery point may be a community center, or sometimes its a local farm market.

The reason I'm writing about this now is because enrollment usually happens in late winter/early spring so the farm knows how many people it will be providing food for. The money you paid goes directly to the farm, aside from (normally) a small administration fee to the CSA. The produce is usually organic - not to get into that whole gigantic, messed up issue, but it must be addressed.

For some people, organic produce is a high priority. In my opinion, local produce is more important than organic produce. Before you get super hung-up on "organic", consider that small, family run farms sometimes would rather devote their energies to consciencious farming than to the expensive and grueling process of becoming "certified organic". Let us not forget that "organic" doesn't mean grown without pesticides - it means grown without the use of SYNTHETIC pesticides. And frankly, there are organic pesticides that are far more poisonous than synthetics. Most importantly, in a CSA, the farmer is a member of your community and if he/she can look you in the eye and tell you that the produce you are about to eat is safe, well, thats worht a lot more than the government telling you that the farmer jumped through the right hoops and paid enough money to be "certified organic".

(shudder. I hate the organic debate.)

This will be our second season in the Sunnyside CSA. We end up paying something like $21 a week for our share, with the season running from the week of Memorial Day (weather dependent) to the week of Thanksgiving. Its a little high, to be sure. And you might struggle with the price, so I wanted to share my experience and maybe it will help you decide:

Is joining a CSA right for you?

1. You have to like vegetables. A lot.
2. You have to like cooking.
3. You have to be willing to break out of your cooking comfort zone and try new recipes.
4. if you have a lot of cook books, or like searching for recipes on the internet, you'll be in heaven.
5. you have to want to eat at home most nights of the week.
6. You like to be challenged in your cooking.
7. You want to eat more salad. Lots more salad.
8. You'd spend around $20 a week in fresh produce anyway.

there is no set amount for what you receive, like a weight or something. My CSA provides something like 6-8 different vegetables every week. I love to cook and my husband and I both love vegetables, so between the two of us, we had almost zero wasted produce for the entire six months (but remember, we also have a rabbit who ate his share!). I defintely learned a lot of new recipes. And we definitely ate a LOT more salad. I don't think we got a single delivery that didn't have lettuce, arugula, or some type of salad green in it. I liked being given vegetables I wouldn't normally buy and finding ways to cook and enjoy them, but I know this is something that would freak out some people.

The good people who set up our CSA went the extra mile and have a meat vendor at our pick ups, which was so great. The meat guy isn't affiliated with the farm where the vegetables are grown, but they raise natural meats with minimal processing - and again, local is the key.

My CSA also offers a fruit share for an additional cost. I think this is what we enjoyed most, because getting seriously good, ripe fruit at a grocery store is next to impossible. When we had too many plums, we threw them in a bottle and infused vodka with them - a delicious way to use up a windfall!

Ready to find your CSA? Start by googling "CSA" and your town. Try your local health food shop, community center, or visit your local farmer's market. Visit Local Harvest, which will help you find a CSA in your area. This would be a great place to start looking for a farm if you want to organize a CSA in your community. And do it soon - most CSAs are full before the seeds are even in the ground!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


This is a volcanic vent:

This is my own personal venting:

1. I may be the only knitter in the US that doesn't love the Yarn Harlot. Nope, I don't. I think that her whole ordeal with the Vintage sock showed how her opinions sway other knitters, and I didn't like it at all. I have three kits for Vintage sitting at home right now. Is it a complex pattern? Oh, heck yeah. But is it something that an average knitter can handle? You bet it is. And I think that her melodrama over the whole thing intimidated lots of would-be Vintage knitters. She knows how powerful her opinion is - and in this case, she used it to frighten perfectly capable knitters into believing that Vintage is some kind of insurmountable project and she is some kind of conan-type warrior for doing it.

I think the whole hoo-ha over some people posting that the socks are ugly is - whatever. I think its riduclous that some readers get so defensive about it and feel they need to protect her. What she knits IS NOT sacred. Its just another knitted item. She is just another knitter with a sense of humor and the standard skill set that every genuine knitter acquires over time. She IS NOT EZ. She has not "unvented" anything or made any major contributions to the craft like the BSJ or phoney seams or (insert your favorite EZ pattern or technique here).

I'm not talking smack about the Harlot. I would happily say any of this to her face. I think she has done the craft a disservice, and I especially think she's done the Tsock Tsarina a disservice. And I think that any knitter who thinks he/she can't do something just because the Harlot struggled with it needs an attitude adjustment.

2. I am so sick of people! Argh! Thats what being in the city does to you. I'm sick of people who stop at the top of the subway stairs, sick of people who stop mid-stride on the sidewalk, sick of people who don't dress for the weather, sick of people who can't walk in high heels and wear them anyway, sick of their litter, their pushiness, their lack of, I could go on like this. Seriously. But I won't because I already feel a little better.

3. but then there are some specific people that I really, really don't like and who are going to burn in hell one day for all the awful things they say about and do to people that I love and what I especially don't like about them is how they are so full of themselves and never think they do anything wrong even though they are rotten to the core, pathological liars who for some reason are convinced that they are the queen of the world and try to rationalize their enormous, inexplicable egomania by calling it high self esteem even though they lie about every single thing to make it reflect better on them and omit parts of the truth that don't flatter them and worst of all, lie to their children and spread hate and untruths to close and harden their little minds and souls and use them to find personal glory. Whew...that has been a long time in the coming.

4. I am due (over due, if you ask me) for a raise and promotion. My boss has requested it for me but we don't know if I'm going to get it. The company has been wielding the axe for a good two months now - I think its been put away, for the most part - and I think its a load of crap if they try to use the declining economy as an excuse to shortchange those of us who survived the cuts. And if I don't get this raise and promotion, I don't know what I'll have to do and it really has me worried and sad.

I felt like that volcano while I was writing that! Phew! Let's mediate the anger with some really nice chatter about yarn:

I was reading a post on Ravelry about Tilli Thomas yarns and if they are worth it. I've never bought any, but I was curious, so I was reading through the posts and someone said, "I wouldn't buy Tilli Thomas because of what they did to Sarah's Yarns. Google it." So I did and truly, Tilli Thomas treated Sarah's yarns really shabbily. I was pretty unlikely to buy TT anyway (not being much of a bead person), but the important thing is that I found Sarah's Yarns as a result!

Sarah's is not only right here in NYC, but she sells lots and lots of fine, coned yarns for weaving in lots of colors at a tremendous discount. I ordered lots of nice, plain yarns for warping and color play and now instead of getting pangs of guilt whenever I walk by my loom with its ratted mohair warp, I get excited to cut off the rats nest, and use it as weft after I've warped with some beautiful, smooth Jaggerspun Zephyr!

Also: plugging away on the shawl collar, it remains excellent subway and TV knitting. But also, my resistance wore down and I cast on for Serendipity, the pattern for the Rockin' Sock Club. Love the yarn, the way its striping, and how fast the pattern is going.

And if I were at home, happily working away on it, I wouldn't have had to write this rant. But I guess it would have come out eventually anyway. Volcanoes have vents for a very good reason: so they don't explode!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

And knitting, always knitting.

I just looked at my blog and couldn't deal with seeing that politics post at the top so I'm writing another post even though you really *should* read that article I linked.

I finished the BSJ! I will photograph it soon. Loved, loved, loved knitting it. Even with the dye coming off on my fingers. It is so cute and was such fun to knit. EZ was a genius. I would love to have a big enlargement of that photo in The Opinionated Knitter of her, Mary Walker Philips and Barbara Walker. Its like the holy trinity of American knitting!

And those coilless pins from Schoolhouse Press are the bomb, yo! I love them and since, generally speaking, I hate stitch markers, thats saying something. Can't imagine working the BSJ without them.

I also cast on for the Megan Shawl Collar cardigan from Webs. I'm making it in Valley Yarns Florence and I am loving that yarn. Its just....lush. So soft and airy and I love it so much. I wish I was knitting it RIGHT NOW.

I feel like I've just been such a productive knitter lately. Maybe because I've been working a lot of small projects, but I also think my knitting speed may have improved a bit too.

Have I mentioned lately that I LOVE knitting?

Don't you LOVE knitting?*

*=its been a long running joke between me and the man that sometimes when I'm knitting, I turn to him and say "Don't you love knitting?". Hence, the subtitle of the blog. And the question at hand. Because seriously, don't you LOVE knitting????

Monday, February 4, 2008

a word on politics

I won't be voting tomorrow in NY's primary, I refrained from registering with a party. Thank goodness.

I'm not a super political person. I don't know who I'm going to vote for. I'm definitely not going to start blogging politics (unless its to complain about how sick I am of hearing about politics).

But if you found my blog by accident, or you came here on purpose, or whatever, you should read

this excellent article

on the ridiculous, unfair and sexist double standard that is being applied to Hillary Clinton and her presence in the election.

And please, pass it on - no matter what you believe, no matter what your political affiliation, people need this kind of perspective on the name calling, lampooning and hate mongering that is being bandied around so lightly.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Pickin' em up and layin' em down

That about describes my knitting habits lately. Since January 1, I've finished:

2 pair of socks - really big MEN'S socks
1 ipod cozy
1 men's winter hat
(plus warped 3 projects on the loom - finished 2)

And started, last night, finally, a Baby Surprise Jacket! I am loving it so far - after only 8 or so ridges - but this could be because I've been knitting so much in the round lately its kind of nice to have a change.

I'm using On Line Supersocke Walking and the freaking dye is coming off on my fingers! But it makes a lovely fabric, perfect for a baby that will be born in late spring - warm from wool, but a rather loose fabric. And it feels great. Its nice to knit baby things from sock yarn since, of course, sock yarns are generally easy care.

As is so often the case when I start a new project, I don't want to do anything but knit. But here I am at work, with the knitting just inches away in my handbag, just sitting there.

I knitted a few rows at lunch to tide me over.