Oct 12, 2012


Finally, I made it to the Okanagan. The timing couldn't have been more perfect. I was craving a getaway from downtown, so I welcomed the long road trip with friends. The weekend was filled with laughter, relaxation, incredible landscapes, good wine, great food.

A few of the highlights from the trip (and things to be thankful for, not just because it was Canadian Thanksgiving):

-The Cottages at Secret Point. A little slice of heaven. A couple from my POV here and here.
-We saw these guys while we were there.
-Just when I thought this meant the night couldn't get any better, we saw the Northern Lights!!
-Dinner at RauDZ was practically worth the entire drive itself. Don't be fooled by the name - this is easily one of the top 5 restaurants I've eaten at in BC.
-Paddling out on the water in front of the cabin, with views like this = good for the soul.

Oct 11, 2012


As summer comes too quickly to a close, I try to brace myself for another winter in the Pacific Northwest. Dusting off the happy light, and stocking up on more liquid Vitamin D, this week I also say goodbye to the amazing summer CSA produce I've been receiving. Luckily, I am also getting an extended season veggie share that will go through November - hopefully that will help me ease into winter a little bit more gently. In light of this change of season, I wanted to pay homage to just how fantastic my CSA has been.

After living in the Garden of Eden San Francisco, I got extremely spoiled by the bounty of amazing produce year round, and also by never-ending CSA availability. In Vancouver, the produce is definitely more seasonal, and signing up for a CSA is no different. Last summer, I was late to the game, and wasn't early enough to reserve a spot on any farm. I spent months kicking myself. This year, I made sure to be on the ball and got my CSA from Close to Home Organics, which operates out of Glen Valley Organic Farm Co-op.

For my weekly delivery, I chose a full veggie share (split with friends - 4 people total), and a full fruit share (also split 4 ways). A lot of farms offer half shares, so depending on how many people you're feeding, this might be a better option. As I already mentioned, we are also getting the extended season veggie share, which runs for a total of 8 weeks.

For the 16 week summer season veggie share (from mid-June through to the first week of October), the cost was $605.60 ($9.50 per person, per week). The full fruit share ran 12 weeks and the cost was $400 ($8.30 per person, per week). I was at the Kits farmer's market last weekend, and saw that four peaches were going for $7.50 - that week the full fruit share was 6 pounds of peaches. Even as I write this, it's hard to conceptualize the difference, but let's just say I know I ate more than 8 peaches that week. There is also a price break if you sign up before certain deadlines. I can't tell you how cost effective it's been! If I had to guess, I'd say the produce I've received from the CSA has been 95% or more of all of my produce for the summer season. It's also awesome, because with all the produce in the house, being healthy and cooking a variety of foods is basically mandatory (bonus: being discouraged from eating out as much).

Just so you get an idea of the wide variety of produce that you get in a season, here are some things I've received (just to name a few): strawberries, rhubarb, blueberries, apples, raspberries, celeriac root, spinach, frisee, chard, collards, sorrel, squash, pumpkin, fava beans, yellow beans, green beans, multiple varieties of cabbage, onions of all sorts, leeks, cucumbers, heirloom tomatoes, brussels sprouts, sweet corn, painted indian corn, broccoli, zucchini, watermelon, beets, carrots, potatoes.

If all this wasn't reason enough to sign up for a CSA, I feel good that I'm connecting to a local farm. I'm doing something good for myself and my community. One of the things I really love about Close to Home Organics is their email updates. Not only do I generally get a heads up on what will be in the CSA box for the week, but they also send recipes when the produce is off the beaten path, and give updates about the goings-on at the farm.

I couldn't be happier with my CSA, and if you've never gotten one, I'd highly recommend giving it a shot.