What is a CSA? Delicious Organic, Locally Grown Food

What is a CSA?

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.

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2 Responses to What is a CSA? Delicious Organic, Locally Grown Food

  1. Minnesota CSA June 3, 2010 at 10:21 am #

    Great short article about CSA’s! As a relatively new CSA farmer myself, it’s been an incredible journey into the world of Community Supported Agriculture. I assure, you, it’s just as beneficial for the farmer as it is for the CSA member. The relationships we get to develop with our members and seeing what the benefits of local produce do for those people are just a few of the intangibles.
    And LocalHarvest is an outstanding resource.

  2. Diane MacEachern June 14, 2010 at 8:41 am #

    I’m glad we could show you some support. Keep up the great work, and thanks for letting people get closer to the farm through you!

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