We love trying new and interesting veggie trials and getting feedback about them from members like Kathy. Last year we grew an unusual cucumber by the name of suyo long. They were very productive and quite tasty when fresh. We didn't grow it this year because not that many people ordered it and it didn't keep as well as the regular one we grow.
ALISSA How long have you been a member with Three Sisters CSA Community Farm?
KATHY I think five or six years - it has been a while.
What was the impetus for signing up?
We had been part of another CSA, we’d gone to the UEC to check out other offerings and we saw Three Sisters. Then we saw them at the TOSA market the following summer. The biggest thing was home delivery. Our lives were getting really hectic at the time, and a couple of times with a previous CSA - the pick up was at the Farmer’s Market in West Allis - it became tricky to pick up the box or get other people to pick up.
Plus the vegetables always looked good, and the taste is wonderful as well.
Have you ever met Jeff and/or Kelly in person?
At the farmers market that one year. Every now and then we see Kelly when she drops off our food and we get to talk with her.
What’s one thing you remember?
She has a GREAT, warm personality. She just oozes positivity. It’s nice to have positive people, even if it’s a brief encounter - it's just very pleasant.
In three words or phrases, how would you describe the experience of seasonal eating you have through your CSA share?
Convenient - you can’t get past the convenience for such fresh vegetables.
When other people ask you what it’s like to be a CSA member or why you do it, what do you usually say?
The freshness of the produce, and the taste - you can’t beat the taste compared to some of the grocery store items. And some of the unique offerings. The convenience of having it dropped off for us means we don’t have to go shopping. You get the best of the FM with the convenience of it being dropped off. And I do like that we are able to choose what you’d like in the box for the most part. It’s an easy way to plan, knowing what’s coming. It’s just a good value all around for us.
Do you get most of your veggie needs met through the CSA box?
We do. We’ve downsized, now it’s just the two of us. But it’s still nice to get a box for a family of four because we can share with other family members and friends. We rarely add to what we get (from the store.)
What is your favorite CSA food item?
Our favorite item from Three Sisters, which isn’t available this year, were some unique cucumbers. They were striped and kind of curly. It had a nice flavor and few seeds and just looked good in a vegetable tray because of the shape.
I think their carrots just taste fabulous. That’s probably the one we look forward to the most because they do taste so good. Otherwise we have enjoyed everything we’ve gotten from them. And the tomatoes have been tasting fantastic this year.
Is there a CSA food item that most confounds or stumps you when it comes to cooking or eating, or used to before you knew what to do with it?
Fennel is always tricky. We’ve tried some recipes but have yet to find one that we really have liked. It might also have to do with what we’re willing to make in a given week. Sometimes we get ambitious with recipe ideas and plans, but then life gets in the way and we don’t have the energy to make a specific thing.
What is your favorite thing about being a member of Three Sisters Community Farm?
I do enjoy the newsletters and the personality of Kelly and Jeff coming through.
It just feels like you are contributing to the common good by supporting them and their philosophy of farming. I like hearing about the community support as they keep building on their vision.
Do you have a funny anecdote related to a CSA experience? Confusions, misunderstandings, strange vegetables?
One time somebody told me to try beet greens like you would Swiss Chard. It wasn’t the greatest experience. I did not see the similarity at all.
What about being a CSA member is most important to you?
I like the local aspect. I like supporting the small farmers.
What’s the most delicious meal you have had recently?
The one that sticks out was probably an eggplant, tomato, cheese and egg sandwich in pita bread. We were out in Boston, and it was from one of the food trucks there. It’s the most filling, delicious, fresh tasting egg sandwich I’ve ever had. We’re still trying to figure out how they did it.
You’re on a quest to recreate it?
Yes. Each time we get closer, but it’s still hard to replicate. It’s really all about the proportions. The hardest part is finding good pita bread. It’s hard to find one that holds together without everything spilling over.
(Kathy is taking recommendations for good pita bread brands!)
What’s the strangest thing you have ever eaten?
We were in Tonga, and we had a fish dish which was marinated in some type of lemon juice (versus being cooked.) I couldn’t even tell you what it was - it must have been a local fish. That’s probably something I would not choose to have again.
What is your favorite place to have a meal?
I enjoy the cookouts that we have. Just a nice potluck. I like to see what people bring.
What is one thing that is bringing joy into your life these days?
I do quilting, and I bought a long arm quilting machine and it’s just great. Sharing that with other people has also been great, and sharing the learning experience.
What is one thing that is giving you pause, or reason for concern?
We’re losing a form of communication where we can listen and discuss serious things without getting upset. And getting real facts, it’s so hard to figure out what is fact and what is opinion and where they start mixing in.
Cucumber or Zucchini?
Cucumber, because the crispness and the freshness and the amount of water they contain.
Is there anything you would like to share about seasonal eating, local food, CSA membership or anything else related to these topics that you have never had the chance to say?
It’s just nice to support a community farm. Farming is such hard work. Every year we go to pick strawberries and cherries, and you just get an idea of the kind of backbreaking work that is. Farmers are underappreciated and I like that we can support them with the CSA.
Kathy's Recipe Recommendation to recreate the food truck Pita Sandwich
Jeff Schreiber has been farming organically for 10 years. In 2011 he started Three Sisters Community Farm with his wife, Kelly.