Last year, I joined Boistfort Valley Farm’s CSA program, and I enjoyed it so much that I decided to get a CSA share again this year. With much hesitation, however, I opted to sign up with a different farm this time around. This decision had absolutely nothing to do with the quality of produce and service at Boistfort Valley Farm. They were wonderful, and I highly recommend them. Their produce was all beautiful, there was lots of variety in each box and the farmers were sweet as pie. They really opened my eyes to how great a CSA can be. The problem was that there was simply too much produce in each box for me to keep up with. Their boxes are designed to feed a family of four. Since I was cooking for just the two of us, I found it impossible to use everything up each week, and I would inevitably end up throwing some of it out (and feeling completely guilty about doing so.) Plus, there was always so much produce in the house that I was never able to justify visiting our farmer’s market, something that I really love to do.

This year, because they offer a half-size share in addition to their regular shares, I decided to join Whistling Train Farm’s CSA program. Whistling Train Farm is located near Kent, Washington, a mere 20 miles or so outside of Seattle. On top of having a CSA program and a produce stand at several Seattle area farmer’s markets, Whistling Train Farm also supplies fresh produce to some a Seattle’s most popular restaurants including Flying Fish and Brasa. They even gained some notoriety a few years back as a result of famous Seattle chef Tamara Murphy’s “Life of a Pig” dinner. Feeling the need to have a deeper understanding of where the food she was cooking actually comes from, Ms. Murphy spent eight weeks closely following a litter of piglets at Whistling Train Farm, from birth through maturity and, ultimately, to the slaughterhouse and into her kitchen at Brasa where she featured them in a multi-course feast. She chronicled the entire journey here on her blog.

Whistling Train Farm operates their CSA slightly differently than Boistfort Valley Farm. As I mentioned, they offer both half-size shares and full-size shares. Whereas Boistfort Valley Farm’s shares consisted of a mix of fruits, vegetables and flowers, Whistling Train Farm offers separate shares for vegetables and fruits. That way, you can pick and choose what you want. I opted to do a half share of vegetables only. I like fruit, but I think I’d rather choose my own at the farmer’s market each week. In addition to the weekly produce shares, you have the option of buying one of Whistling Train Farm’s “egg punch cards” which are good for 10-dozen eggs. I think they sometimes have some meats available for purchase as well, but I’m not sure exactly how that works. The CSA application form also mentioned something about U-pick vegetables for members, which is something I might need to ask about later in the season.

Yesterday, I picked up my first box of the new season! As you can see from the photo, I got lots and lots of green stuff. Thanks to the persistently cold weather we’ve been having this year, the spring greens are really hanging around. I have a feeling it will be a while before we see any green beans or zucchini (and who knows when tomatoes will show up?) This first box of the season contained two big & beautiful bunches of spinach, a small bundle of pea shoots, baby bok choy, scallions and a bag of mixed spring greens. A nice, reasonable amount of vegetables for two people (and it was so much easier to carry home than the full shares I was getting last year – I practically carried it home with one hand!) As I expected, everything in the box was very fresh and very pretty. I quickly whipped up a meal of farfalle pasta with green lentils and spinach with a side salad of Whistling Train Farm’s spring mix before heading off to my knitting group meet-up last night. Tonight, I made a delicious stir-fry of pea shoots, bok choy and scallions and served it alongside salmon burgers. Yum! The 2008 CSA season is off to a great start!

1 Comment »

  1. Hello! I fell upon your blog while I was searching online for CSAs (Whistling Train Farm is one that was on my list to look into).
    I’d be interested to hear how you’re enjoying their CSA shares.

    I’ve enjoyed reading your blog and was delighted to see that you’re a knitter too.

    Look forward to visiting your blog again.

    Comment by Emiko — July 15, 2008 @ 3:26 pm

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