Shopping for Local Farm Fresh Produce at Olejnik Farms
Usually my husband and I have a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) membership for the season, but this year we had a lot of travel planned and didn't get a CSA share. When you join a CSA, you pay a farmer up front for the season. You share the risk with the farmer, but you also share the bounty and support a local farmer. You usually get a box of assorted vegetables (and maybe fruit or other products) every week throughout the growing season.
We recently moved so we've tried a couple of different farmers markets this year and found a ton of super fresh, flavorful inexpensive vegetables and fruit wherever we went. Another thing we love about both, the CSA membership and the farmers markets, is that there is a wider variety of fruits and vegetables than you would find at most grocery stores. It opens up a world of possibilities.
Growing up, we never had a CSA membership or went to a farmers market. I actually don't even think they had farmers markets the way they have them now. But, we lived in an area that was full of farms. We would go to the farm at least once a week and get just-picked veggies.
The town where I grew up has changed a LOT since I was a child. We were surrounded by dirt roads that are now paved. As a special treat, my dad would sometimes drive me down one of the dirt roads so I could look at the horses. The horses are long gone. When my older cousins babysat me, we would steal a couple of ears of corn from the farm next door, microwave it and eat it immediately. Talk about fresh. There is now a restaurant, bank, office building and condominium complex where that farm once stood. Most of the old farms are now subdivisions or shopping centers. So many things have come and gone, but one thing hasn't changed - Olejnik Farms - the farm we'd frequent when I was a child.
I love this farm for many reasons. The most obvious and closest to my heart is that it ties me to my past. I remember the good old days of dirt roads, a sky full of stars, and spending time with my family. Ever since my dad passed away last fall, I have been thinking a lot about my childhood. I often find myself wishing I could go back in time and savor those moments.
I also love this farm because the people are really nice. The people working the cash register have changed over time, but they are always kind, helpful and knowledgeable. I used to buy seedlings and flowers here and they could advise me on how to grow what I was purchasing. This doesn't happen in a lot of the big stores because the people just don't have that kind of knowledge. The food is always fresh and delicious and the prices are always great. Another great thing about this farm is that, unlike a farmers market, it's open pretty much every day during the growing season. Talk about convenience!
|Fresh Sweet Corn|
|Hungarian Wax Peppers and Poblanos|
|Farm Fresh Cucumbers|
|Assorted Winter Squashes and Pie Pumpkins|
|My Shopping Bag|
Here's what's left of my shopping bag (minus a couple of items we just couldn't wait to eat): sweet corn, green beans, radishes, winter squash, cauliflower, pie pumpkin, cucumbers, beets, poblanos, bell peppers and peaches (heirloom tomatoes, among other things, went in our bellies before the picture could be taken)
It all cost me less than $30!
Olejnik Farms is located in Macomb Township, Michigan at the Northeast corner of 23 Mile Road and Card Road. To find a farm, CSA or Farmers Market near you, check out Local Harvest if you live in the United States.
If anyone knows of a great local farm or a website similar to Local Harvest, please share in the comments.