Spinach, Salad, and the Seasons

What a dozen seasons as a shareholder in a small farm can teach even the most accomplished cook

Greg Reynolds, David's old partner at Riverbend Farms, who now sells wholesale to co-ops and restaurants, once told me that, as a CSA farmer, he felt a lot of pressure to put something new and interesting in the box every week. Of course, Greg also told me that he didn't know how anyone who subscribes to a CSA could make the vegetables—7 to 25 pounds, with Hog's Back—last through the week. I suggested that just maybe his field-laborer-sized portions of squash and kale were a little different from my cube-toiler portions. He seemed nonplussed.

David at Hog's Back grows more than 40 crops—a tremendous feat of management and diversified farming skill. He puts 8 to 12 kinds of vegetables in the boxes every week, more variety than I have ever picked up at the supermarket. What's more, he puts things in that box that I simply can't get at the supermarket: fresh-ground cornmeal, vine-ripened melons, those spectacular heads of lettuce, and an assurance that my spinach is still good for me.

Hog's Back Farm; W8937 Moritz Lane, Arkansaw, Wisconsin, 54721; 612.756.0690; www.hogsbackfarm.com; david@hogsbackfarm.com. Directories listing other CSAs may be found at www.localharvest.org/csa/ and landstewardshipproject.org/csa.html

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