Imagine opening up a large box to see heaps of green leaves pushing out the top. Digging a past the green, you feel a smaller box and pull it out, strawberries! Bright, red, fresh strawberries! Your excitement is building. Reaching in again to the box you find onions with the roots and greens still attached, a little bit of dirt clinging to the roots. Your smile widens as you pull out fresh radishes, bright and asking to be eaten. And of course at the bottom of the box, more greens, bringing your green collection to include, Kale, Lettuce, Mustard and Turnip Greens. All this food, that came straight from the fields earlier that day, was picked up in a box from a farm down the road.
That, my friends, is the CSA experience. But oh there is so much more than that!
We picked up our first CSA of the season this past week. I was just finishing up a salad made from those delicious lettuce leaves, when I thought about sharing it with you all today. (Not the salad, but the low down on a CSA.) CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. The basic idea of it is that an individual or family buys a “share” in a local farm’s production. They do all the hard work of planting, tending, growing, and harvesting the delicious crops. You get to send them some money at the beginning of the season and then wait with intense anticipation each week to behold and eat your precious produce.
There are several reasons that I recommend joining a CSA. First off, you get loads of fresher-than-you-can-get-anywhere-besides-your-own-backyard produce. I am all about eating some veggies. And the fresher they are the more nutrients you will get out of them. Typically, (another reason to join!) small time farmers that offer CSA programs are utilizing mostly organic methods to their production. They most likely are not certified organic because that takes a lot of time and money that these farmers do not have. But what is the best way to grow fresh, delicious food? Organically! You will have to ask your local farmer how they do things to know for sure, but they will be more than happy to share what they do. What better way to know where your food comes from than to talk to your farmer? And yes that is another reason! Knowing your farmer and where your food comes from is extremely important. Our food comes from the earth, not the grocery store shelves.
Buying a “share” in the local farmer’s CSA program also helps out a local family. These people love what they do and it helps them with the upfront costs of setting up the season’s crops. I’m all about supporting local businesses. I believe that is the best way to boost our nation’s economy. (Another topic for another day!) Joining a CSA also helps you connect with others in your community that are like minded in their desire for fresh, local produce. Who knows, you might make some friends!
This is our second summer season as part of a CSA. We joined a different farm this year, because they have a more convenient pick-up location. (Literally only ten minutes from our house, if you know where I live that is a HUGE blessing!) I’m not promoting any specific CSA with this post. I just thought I’d share keep sharing the Good Food Word. Fresh, local produce that supports your local farmers is definitely Good Food!! You can do a Google search for local CSA programs in your area. I’ve noticed it growing in popularity as people are becoming more aware of the need for local food. But it really isn’t that much of a novelty. Didn’t our grandparents and great-grandparents rely on the same way of getting their food? Hmm. Things to think about.
Enjoy your Thursday!