If you’re looking for delicious natural, organic food, consider signing up for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. CSAs are a great way to enjoy fresh, seasonal produce all summer long while supporting your local farmers. If you’re interested, the time to sign up is now.
Here’s how CSAs work: A farmer sells a certain number of “shares” in winter and early spring, before the growing season really kicks in. Customers pay for their share upfront, then receive a box of seasonal produce each week for the duration of the season. CSAs typically include vegetables, but may also include fruit, flowers, eggs, or dairy products. The picture above features a CSA that sells at my farmers market. Doesn’t everything look yummy?
Why participate in a CSA?
- Eating food grown close to home is one of the best ways to shrink your environmental footprint. Rather than being flown across the country (or even the world), your CSA produce may have been grown mere miles away from your door, thus saving a tremendous amount of transportation energy.
- Local, seasonal produce is more nutritious than its mass-produced supermarket counterparts. Because the goods won’t be traveling a long distance, farmers can give priority freshness and taste rather than shipping and shelf life when selecting which crops to grow. The result? Vibrant, vitamin-packed fruits and vegetables.
- CSAs help to build a sense of community. You will get to know your farmer and might be given the opportunity to tour the farm.
- CSAs bolster your local economy and help keep small family farms afloat. Faced with competition from giant agricultural conglomerates, the family farm is becoming increasingly rare these days.
Are all CSAs organic? Many CSAs are USDA certified organic, but not all of them are. Make sure to talk to your local farmer about their pesticide use, because many opt to not use chemicals on their crops even if they cannot afford the complicated and expensive organic certification process.
To find a CSA program near you, visit localharvest.org
These cookbooks are filled with delicious recipes that will help you figure out what to do with all the veggies you get from your CSA.