Dreaming of Vegetables.

I don’t know about you, but this time of year my fridge is completely bare. At the moment, I’ve got a sad, lonely egg sitting in there with a container of leftover slaw salad, a bottle of white wine and a whole bunch of half-filled dipping sauces.

Maybe it was the state of the fridge that brought me to one of my favorite moments in the sloppy, early spring thaw out: purchasing the CSA share. Hooking up Midnight Sun Farm with a big fat check means we’ll have a fridge full of green (and red, and yellow, and purple…) all summer long, and a pantry of potatoes in the fall. I can barely contain my excitement – seriously.

Source: Wikimedia Commons, By Cslucas - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0
Source: Wikimedia Commons, By Cslucas – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

There are many reasons to invest in a CSA, but it’s honestly a personal decision. There’s nothing wrong with going to a farmers market and buying what you like – instead of risking the surprises that might be lurking in your share box (like kohlrabi or celeriac). Personally, I like the surprises. Here are a few other things that motivate me to drop the cash now for vegetables all summer:

Burpee's farm annual - the best seeds that grow including rare novelties (1895)  | source: Wikimedia Commons
Burpee’s farm annual – the best seeds that grow including rare novelties (1895) | source: Wikimedia Commons
  1. A CSA is really, really great for people (like me) who rely on seasonal employment. A big chunk of my livelihood drops off in the summer, and now I know that, if nothing else, the table will have plenty of vegetables.
  2. I don’t enjoy buying wilted, tasteless vegetables from Jewel. Buying local, organic produce tastes better, and considering the price of off-season, mealy tomatoes, the price differential is slim to none.
  3. Your body is designed to eat seasonally. Even though it appears we are¬†generally in an “I want it all and I want it now,” phase of evolution, eating by the seasons provides maximum nutrition for minimal effort. Plus, waiting for an in-season tomato is a lesson in patience, and always worth it.
  4. By contributing to Community Supported Agriculture, you get to skip the middle man (you know, the government), and go straight to the source. I give you money, you give me vegetables. My money is paying for labor and the stuff needed to make vegetables instead of fueling the tank of a semi on route from California. As much as I love California, and avocados, at the moment we could use a little investment into people and resources available in here Illinois (can I get an Amen?!?).
  5. Farmers are awesome.

Published by


Lauren Warnecke is a freelance writer and editor, focused on dance and cultural criticism in Chicago and across the Midwest. Lauren is the dance critic for the Chicago Tribune, editor of See Chicago Dance, and founder/editor of Art Intercepts, with bylines in Chicago Magazine, Milwaukee Magazine, St. Louis Magazine and Dance Media publications, among others. Holding degrees in dance and kinesiology, Lauren is an instructor of dance and exercise science at Loyola University Chicago.