Monday, June 22, 2009
This rainy afternoon, I trekked down to Boston's City Hall to pick up my first ever CSA share. I was excited to see what we had scored and to meet my CSA farmers/providers as well. The City Hall farmers market is a bit small but for someone, like me, who lives in the city and doesn't have access to a car, even tiny markets like this one in a T convenient place make a huge difference.
I joined the Silverbrook Farms CSA. I didn't know much about them other than they had several pick up days and times and the locations were also in T accessible locales. I wanted to join Stillman Farms CSA but they lack convenient pick up places unless you happen to live close by and very limited days/times. I was bummed because my friend Caroline, who moved to CA, raved, raved, raved about Stillman's CSA. Infact, her great experience was the catalyst for me wanting to join one too.
So off I went! I walked passed the four other stalls and made a mental note to stop by each of them on my way back home. When I finally arrived to the Silverbrook Stall, I noticed it didn't seem as lush or showy as the other veggies stalls. Infact, they lacked fruits. I noticed that the other two vendors had cherries and strawberries out. No matter, my CSA peeps won me over with their earnest and friendly nature. I introduced myself to them. They were quick to apologize that there would be no strawberries this week, as had been previously announced, due to the weather but that they were giving us freshly made strawberry jam instead. In my bag went fresh eggs (!), cheese, a huge head of lettuce, kale, chard and an alien looking veggie that looked like a cross between a green turnip and lettuce. I was pleased with my portion. So many veggies! I was a little sad that there weren't any fruit-y type veggies but again, no matter. My CSA peeps were extraordinarily nice and friendly. I'm delighted at the prospect of going every week to see them!
I walked back to the various stalls and stopped by a bakery stall for a company called the Danish Company. The man working there was wonderfully friendly too. I asked if he had any gluten or wheat free offerings and he showed me the almond macaroon and the coconut one too. I bought 1 of each to try. The size of the almond macaroon was a little small compared to Modern Pastry but it was very good as was the coconut one. As he wrapped up my cookies, he asked if I'd be interested in buying gluten/wheat free bread. I said absolutely and that I'd be back each week for the my Silverbrook CSA. He brightened over the prospect of me coming back each week and mentioned that he had talked to the Silverbrook CSA kids about doing a collaboration with them. I said that I thought that'd be a great idea. I bid him farewell and told him I'd be back next week.
I was so happy over my positive interactions that I decided that I wanted to at least check out Stillman Farms booth. They had the first stall and it was apparent that they took what they did seriously. Besides a large offering of strawberries they had maybe four different varieties of beets, plus a freezer full of meat. I saw chorizo and was so tempted to grab some to go with the eggs that I had gotten from Silverbrook. But I held off. The two people working the booth didn't seem really interested in helping me at all. I stood there for a bit and waited. I finally asked the man about some beets. He answered my question but wasn't very friendly. It was clear that Stillmans was like the "cool" kids of the farmer's market. They didn't have to be charming or friendly. They knew they were the poo. Finally I decided, I'd buy some beets and strawberries and I mentioned to them both that I wanted to join their CSA, to which the answer came back, "well we're just so popular..." Really, seriously that's your answer?!?!
"Um no," I said, "I just couldn't make the times and locations of your pick up. I wish you'd do the CSA pick up here". The woman (who was a bit nicer than the man) said something about there being a 1000 something or other and it's just too hard to coordinate. No worries. I'm not complaining. I then went on to explain that my friend Caroline who moved to California was a big fan and she was the one who told me about them. I figured flattery would get me in good with the cool kids.
Not so much. Instead they faced each other and said, "wow that's cool that someone who moved to California is still talking about us". Um, yeah. Hello, remember me? I'm right here. Hello?!
Ok, I get it. You guys are all farmers and that's what you do. But the best way to describe the Stillman farms people would be to call them the Mean Girls of the Farm Stand. They seemed a little stuck up and kinda over it. Maybe it was the crappy weather. I'll certainly go back and buy things from them and give them another shot but I'm kinda glad I didn't join their CSA. If Stillman Farms are the Mean Girls of the Farmers Market, then my little Silverbrook Farms would be the Band Geeks or in Mean Girls, they'd be the Math Team. And well, as a former band geek, I think I've found my peeps.