April 6, 2015
I had thought of trying out a CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture, for a few years before my husband and I finally decided to take the plunge in the summer of 2014. We were hooked from the start. Have you thought of trying one but are unsure of what to expect or what exactly it is?
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a system in which consumers purchase a share, stock, membership, or subscription—whatever you want to call it—during a particular season. A basket of seasonal vegetables and/or fruit will be given to the consumer weekly during that season. Some CSAs may also include flowers or eggs as well. The product varies with each season, location, and crop outcome. For example, it is possible to receive smaller baskets because a late freeze damaged a crop. It is also possible to have an abundance of a crop because it did so well! (Remember, that negative outcomes, although possible, are unlikely as this is how these people make their living so they have to be good at it to live comfortably.)
A CSA has advantages for farmers, consumers, and the local community. Farmers can market and sell upfront and focus on farming (imagine that!) during the season. They save money from not having to package and ship produce out of the community and from avoiding costs of paying any “middle men” to help distribute the goods. Consumers save money by buying directly from the farm. Prices in grocery stores include the costs of packaging, shipping, unpackaging, and stocking, etc. In addition, consumers get high quality fresh food with all the benefits ~ from vitamins to taste. Finally, the community benefits because money is staying within the local economy, people are eating healthier, and the farm is supported.
So, why will you love it?
I loved our CSA simply because I have never eaten better. Yes, I had to put a little effort into finding recipes and cooking but we also ate a lot of fruits as snacks and vegetables raw, which was easy. My kids discovered things that they love such as fresh peaches and blackberries to green bean fries, and kale & brussel sprout salad. I ate less sugar than ever and my husband’s high cholesterol numbers went down for the first time since he was put on medication in 2010.
This year we signed up for our CSA for every season, from April through the beginning of December. It is going to be a new way of living and planning and I am so excited to taste it!
Ready to check out the specific ones in your area? This is a great site for finding about CSAs near you!
Sources: Local Harvest