We are lucky to have had Laura's help on a regular basis for 2 seasons while we rented land at Sauve Terre Farm in West Bend. We've bunched a lot of carrots, pulled a lot of weeds and picked a lot of cherry tomatoes together for 3 sisters CSA boxes. She has become a good friend who continues to support our work in many ways including contributing the the community loan project, helping us create and analyze the responses to our end of season survey and providing endless moral support. Thanks Laura!
LAURA I work at Marquette, as the Associate Director of Institutional Research, and discovered that Jeff and Kelly offered a dropsite on-site. I decided to give it a try.
ALISSA How long have you been a member with Three Sisters CSA Community Farm?
This is my fourth season.
Have you ever met Jeff and/or Kelly in person?
I have, I was a worker share for two seasons.
What did you like most about being a worker share?
I was renting at the time, and didn’t have the ability to have my own garden so it was really great to be able to do some touching of dirt, getting into nature. It was also nice to be able to do that once a week to get out of my office. To be in the summer air and have that connection to food.
In three words or phrases, how would you describe the experience of seasonal eating you have through your CSA share?
To the people that do the growing
To the land
To the food that I eat
When other people ask you what it’s like to be a CSA member or why you do it, what do you usually say?
So far I have not tasted any produce that’s better than Jeff and Kelly’s. I love to cook, and it’s so easy to have a giant box of vegetables dropped off every week at my workplace, that I can choose, so that I know what fun things I’m going to be eating every week. In terms of body, mind, and soul it feels very healthy all around.
What is your favorite CSA food item?
It seems like every week it changes! It’s hard to pick a favorite, but I can pick a favorite farm. Three Sisters vegetables are my favorite vegetables ever.
Do you have a “box unpacking ritual” each week?
Not really because I get my box at Marquette, so I have to bring two cloth bags to the place at Marquette where it is, and unload everything and then get it home as quickly as possible. I usually do some chopping up of things right away if I can, to quickly be able to use. But it’s an exciting day!
What is your favorite thing about being a member of Three Sisters Community Farm?
Finding people like Jeff and Kelly, who are so dedicated to doing it right and to be thoughtful stewards of the land. My grandparents were farmers and it’s sort of like finding them again but with vegetables. I know I can trust the source of the food and it’s delicious. Jeff and Kelly are really doing something positive.
Did you spend a lot of time on your grandparent’s farm as a kid?
We lived just a mile down the road from them, so the farm was my babysitter growing up. They owned a small dairy farm and my grandmother had currant bushes and apple trees and a huge garden. We would just get dropped off there, so that was our rosy childhood! There was a time when their farm was almost completely self-sustaining; my grandmother told me once that there was a time when she didn’t go to the grocery store for anything except flour and sugar.
Do you have a funny anecdote related to a CSA experience?
I like the times as a worker share where, someone - usually Jeff - would pick a vegetable from the field to see if it was ready, just to try. One time he picked a melon to open, and he had a knife and he just cut it up and passed it around. It was so fun to just be eating a melon in the field in Wisconsin.
What about being a CSA member is most important to you?
Eating locally. It’s important to me to eat seasonally and locally, and understand how my habits affect the world.
What’s the most delicious meal you have had recently?
I have some dietary restrictions so I cook a lot at home. In the summertime it’s probably meals from the grill. We grill a lot of fish, and veggies from Three Sisters. Recently we grilled a lot of scapes, which were delicious. At home I have a big herb garden, so we add lots of herbs. Sitting outside with a glass of rose and a delicious meal...it’s pretty awesome.
What’s the strangest thing you have ever eaten?
I remember the first time I ate seafood that still had eyes on it - it was shrimp with legs and eyes on it. I was in Ireland, studying abroad. I don’t think Ireland is really known for their seafood, but that’s where it was!
What is your favorite place to have a meal?
Besides my own kitchen...I was born originally in Cape May, New Jersey and they have the best seafood, I do love good seafood. Also South Jersey, when I was growing up, was farm county and there were fresh peaches, melons, corn.
What is one thing that is bringing joy into your life these days?
My garden. I’ve been in my house for about a year, and we are transitioning our backyard into an edible paradise. We have a long way to go, but it’s amazing to take a cup of tea out there in the morning and see some of the changes that are happening.
We just ate our first tomato, and they were seeds I saved from 2014 from the last time I had a garden! It was a moonglow. Then one raised bed is all herbs, so it’s so nice to have those fresh herbs on everything.
What is one thing that is giving you pause, or reason for concern?
I’ll echo most everyone else and say politics. And climate change. I can’t listen to the morning news anymore.
OK, Cherry Tomato or Beefsteak Tomato?
I love all the tomatoes, but the cherries are so nice because you can snack on them, and bring them everywhere. You can cook them or put them on salads, they are just so versatile.
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?
I wish that everyone had the time and opportunity to try being a CSA member, because you learn so much about how vegetables can and should taste and how easy it is to get things locally vs getting them from, say, Florida.
And I definitely promote trying the worker share, or getting to the farm a few times to check out what they are doing, especially now with the new land. The pollinator habitat is so cool.
Jeff and Kelly are just so innovative, and you get a better appreciation for how much work, stamina and drive farmers have to have to make it work on a scale. Farming is not just one skill, it’s strategic planning and running a business and being organized. It’s pretty cool.