From the Farm to Their Table - The Meer Family

Written by Urban Ecology Center
    Thursday, 27 February 2014
From the Farm to Their Table - The Meer Family

“It’s like having Christmas every week!” says Lindy Meer of Milwaukee about being a member of a Community Support Agriculture (CSA) farm. “Our children are always very eager to open the box and see what has arrived. John Paul, the 8-year-old, loves opening the box because of all the crazy vegetables like the mutant carrots and massive cabbages or club-like summer squash. I also don't think that a pint of raspberries has lasted for more than 1.5 minutes after opening.”

For Meer and her husband and their four children, ages 1 ½ to 8, belonging to a CSA has financial and logistical benefits as well.

“We have found our CSA to be more affordable compared to purchasing organic vegetables at our local co-op. And that doesn’t take into account that the veggies are delivered right to our home. As for my cooking style, I much prefer being inspired by the vegetables I receive in my CSA instead of having to make a list and schlepp to the store,” says Meer.

The Meers have been members of their CSA for three years and a pick-up site for two years. Some of their neighbors became curious when they saw all the cars stopping by their house to get their weekly box of produce. The Meers took the opportunity to explain what a CSA was and now some of their neighbors have even signed up.

“We first joined a CSA because to support our local economy and ensure my family and I were getting produce that was pesticide and GMO-free. The freshness and tastiness of the produce was a very nice bonus” says Meer. “If you tried to compare the taste of a conventional grocery store tomato to that of a CSA tomato, it would be something like white copier paper versus a Monet landscape. No taste versus taste comparison can be made,” she continued.

Meer has also found that her children having a strong connection to where their food comes from has reduced their resistance to trying new foods, especially vegetables “immensely.”

“Our family’s palate has widened because the variety of vegetables that we have received. Visits to our CSA farm have also reduced our children’s resistance to trying new foods. At the farm visits, members are able to harvest some of the vegetables. They form connection between their food and digging in the dirt — which is fun — and then they get to consume the spoils of their ‘work’.”

CSA meers planting edit
Digging in the dirt a Meer family affair.

“It's really all about getting the kids involved from Step One, starting with picking the box up from the porch. And what kid doesn't like opening a present every week especially since the contents are a surprise? We have been able to help our kids understand the idea of seasonality, because the only things that they will see in the box are those that are in season. Thus, they understand why we don't eat winter squash in May” says Meer.

And for those few vegetables that still don’t quite impress her children, Meer has a few tricks up her sleeve. “I am convinced that any veggie can be put into a smoothie. My toddler will drink any kind of smoothie. I just ask him which color he wants. Orange; winter squash. Bright pink; chuck a bit of beet in. And for green, easy; bok choy, mizuna (a type of leafy green), spinach, you name it,” Meer says. “Or we try to prepare it in a delicious way butter and Parmesan cheese do wonders.”

2013 LFOH logoWant to get your food fresh from a CSA? Come to our Local Farmer Open House on Saturday, March 8th at our Riverside Park branch. Meet and sign up with farmers, learn how you can join a CSA farm (purchase a share of the harvest) and get a box of fresh produce each week during the season. Join us for this free event!

This blog post was written by Theresa Lins. Theresa is a Milwaukee-based writer and Urban Ecology Center “groupie”.  She has been active in promoting the Center and its programs for over 14 years.  Other than eating farm-fresh food, her favorite thing is to write about it and the people who produce it.

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