When I had a community garden plot in Washington, D.C., I was known to leave extra squashes and bags of basil on the desk chairs of my co-workers. In Denver, I gladly accepted dozens of fresh tomatoes from my neighbor Evelyn, who is great at growing tomatoes, but only likes them cooked. And now, in Madison, WI, I am hoping a friend coming over this afternoon will take some of my (a bit too) bountiful dill.
It’s one of the wonderful parts of this time of year–sharing the veggie and fruit bounty, the natural Vegcycle that gives us too much or too little and a chance to barter and trade to keep what we need. Today is also the day our first of the season weekly CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box arrives from Shady Blue Farms, which has emailed us to expect asparagus, rhubarb, cilantro and more, some of which we’ll gobble right away, some of which we’ll trade and some we will cook with neighbors. I’m plotting a rhubarb pie with a friend who will also get a delivery.
What’s new this year is the launching of several community web sites, a sort of Freecycle or Craigslist for veggies, to help match up those who have, say an over-abundance of Meyer Lemons and a need for tender pea shoots. We’ve become Internet friends with one, Veggietrader.com. Also check out neighborhoodfruit.com, and fallenfruit.com, a site that aims to map public fruit sources around the country and encourages people to treat them as common natural snack bars. It’s a great use of Internet community to cut down on waste and help us eat more fresh and beautiful food.