Are you familiar with a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)? You invest in a farm’s crop and for a certain number of weeks, determined by the farm, you receive a share of their yield. They have been growing in popularity fairly rapidly over the past 5 years.
We joined one for the first time this year, and let me tell you, we are LOVING it. Talk about a great way to enjoy the harvest. Many CSA’s offer half shares or in our case, we pick up a share every other week. We are gone enough during the summer that a full share every week would go to waste. The every other week schedule has been working very well for our schedule. In my mind, there are 4 major benefits.
The Benefits of a CSA
- Fresh local organic produce. This is something very important to my household. It doesn’t travel far and the produce is not full of pesticides.
- Meals are planned around produce. Because I’m faced with a fridge full of produce, that is how I plan my meals. I’ll start with the corn or the broccoli and go from there, guaranteeing a produce-packed meal. It also means I really need to plan so the produce doesn’t go to waste. I find planning for the most delicate produce first works best and the heartier fare can hang out in the fridge a bit longer.
- Supporting a local farm. In most cases, you pay for your share upfront. This helps the farmer with cash flow and gives them the ability to spend time marketing the food early in the year. Most farms will also encourage you to come for a visit and get to know them and their workers.
- “New to you” vegetables. I thought I had tried every vegetable out there, but with this CSA, I’ve been exposed to new vegetables. I love learning how to prepare them. My new favorite is Amaranth. Such a tasty green!
If you are looking to add more produce to your life, this is a great way to do just that. The fall is a great time to talk to farmers at your local farmer’s market and inquire if they offer a CSA. If you already know you enjoy their vegetables, this is a great way to ensure you’re getting the best of what they have. For additional resources on CSA’s, check out this great directory.
Have you joined a CSA? What are your thoughts?