Winter. Seriously. I went sledding the other day. The snow came up to my mid-thigh. I am of relatively short legs, but still, that’s a lot of snow. It was up in the mountains, true, but still, winter.
Winter is not a season that is kind to growing, so do not judge what I am about to show you on the basis of the summer bounty that may be gracing your outdoor balcony table while you freeze your freckles off in the weak sun and cool temps. As an aside: though you may think it is cold enough out to wear long underwear under your pants as you go out for a 2.5 hour walk on Sunday in Santiago, it is not, and man, is that ever sweaty.
Oh right, feria. So I have these friends (who took me sledding!), and they belong to the CSA Huellas Verdes. It’s a coop-CSA, so members do some volunteering, either on the farm in Colina (N of Santiago) or at the drop-off point as part of their subscription. You pay in at the beginning of the season, and get “dividends” 48 weeks of the year. My intro about winter was related to the fact that hey, it’s winter, and winter is not their biggest bounty.
Also, these friends are going to be out of town for a host and bevy of reasons, so they asked if I’d like to pick up their nibbles while they are gone. To which I said, but of course! The pickup was at this place in Bellavista. And the people (not pictured) were incredibly lovely.
There are 48 productive weeks per year, and this week was week 44. Here’s what we got (all organic or in transition):
3 sprouted red onions
bag of arugula (can’t remember weight)
garlic ramps or scapes or something
310 grams of broccoli (with leaves! good as gold here!)
half a yellow squash
one giant sweet potato
2 heads chilean garlic (not white Chinese garlic, much better)
green tomatoes (I could have taken as many as I wanted, I took the ones pictured here).
total cost (amortized): 6,600 CLP= $12.00
Members pay into Huellas Verdes for 320,000 a year (coming season) for 48 weeks worth of deliveries, which works out to about 6,600 CLP, or about $12 a week. I realize it’s a premium to pay for organic vegetables, and it probably wouldn’t get a family very far for the week (you’d have to supplement), but it’s grown by people you know (if you’re a member), and also, did you see that tender broccoli with those leaves? Gold, I tell you! The eggs featured (free-range, ten of them) in the photo are not included in the weekly shipment, looks like. There was a potato option, but my friends had not bought into it for this year, so no papas for me.
I belonged to a CSA in DC many years ago, and loved it. I like the idea of paying people well to do something that is good for them (presumably they like to work the land), and where I’m dealing directly with farmers, no brokers or middlemen in between.
I’m still not sure if I’d join for the season (you can also join to do your pickups every other week), but I’m more than happy to stand in for my friends while they are in places north. If you want to know how else you can get organic vegetables in Santiago, check out the Eco Feria La Reina report from a while ago.