South central farmers’ CSA

Today is my birthday. But I promise this post is not just a thinly-veiled attempt to get nice birthday wishes in the comments (HINT, HINT). It’s also about vegetables.

You see, one of the gifts I received was a CSA box from the South Central Farmers’ Cooperative, one of my favorite farmers market stands. I am always happy to support the group of people who fifteen years ago took a hopeless plot of land in South LA and transformed it into a huge community garden — only to lose it all in 2006 to a developer now planning on using the land for a Forever 21 warehouse. (See the 2008 Academy-Award-nominated documentary The Garden for the full story.) But I never knew they had a CSA program.

All I had to do was show up at the Atwater Village Farmers Market on Sunday and tell the friendly SCFC volunteer my name, and I was handed a big box filled with organic vegetable goodness. It really did feel like a gift, opening up the box and pulling out my bounty:

Head of purple lettuce
Bunch of huge carrots
Bunch of spring onions, white and purple
One summer squash
One round zucchini
One scalloped squash
One bitter melon
About a pound of beans, green and purple
Bunch of beets
Bunch of purple amaranth
About a pound of new red potatoes
Handful of papalo (Bolivian coriander — I am totally unfamiliar with this)
Handful of unidentified herb

They offer a few different pricing options on their website, the most flexible being the $15 weekly box — only $15 for all of that! — as well as 16 pick-up locations all over the city. At the market I bought a mixed bag of summer fruit to supplement the vegetables and now I am set for the week.

I will definitely be buying South Central Farmers’ CSA boxes for myself in the future. It’s an appealing option for those weeks when I don’t have the time or energy to wander through the market on a Sunday morning or when I want to shake things up a bit with some ingredients I wouldn’t necessarily choose on my own. Or just when I want to open up a box of surprise vegetables and pretend it’s my birthday all over again.