WHAT IS COMMUNITY SUPPORTED AGRICULTURE (CSA)?
First things first: CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. I’m so jazzed about CSAs that I want to explain what they are and share with you 5 reasons you should join a CSA this Summer! CSA programs are a way for consumers to support a local farm by purchasing a “share” before the growing season in exchange for farm products later in the season. In purchasing a CSA you are effectively sharing the risk (and rewards!) of the growing season with the farm. During the growing season, subscribers get a weekly or bi-weekly box of sustainably grown farm fresh food – usually produce but also eggs, meat, and other farm products.
5 REASONS YOU SHOULD JOIN A CSA THIS SUMMER
Farm to Field freshness
Is there anything better than a perfectly ripe, freshly picked tomato? Joining a CSA means you have fruits and vegetables at the height of freshness, directly from the farm, grown and processed in a small scale manner. Freshness and quality from sustainable local farms can’t be topped. Knowing how and where my food is coming from is a top priority I don’t have to worry about during CSA season.
Supporting SUSTAINABLE Agriculture
The majority of CSA farms are sustainable organic farms. These farms use sustainable methods of crop rotation and natural pest management to ensure a great product without degrading the environment.
Supporting local farms is a way of voting with your dollar by keeping your food spending away from factory farms.
The large share box we purchase averages about $33 per week. For us, that seems perfectly reasonable for a large amount of super-fresh fruits and vegetables. To purchase all the items in our box individually would cost way more than $33 and for me – that’s a big win! If the CSA share price is too high for one payment, many farms offer a payment plan, so be sure to ask.
Relationship with Farmers
My family has participated in the Willo’wind Farm CSA program for several years. Willo’wind is an awesome family-run sustainable farm with vegetables, pastured pigs, eggs, free-range chickens and grass-fed beef. Our family feels great supporting a small farm run by great people. A CSA share is more than just an opportunity for fresh organic food, it’s a chance to get to know your farmers – even from the city.
New Foods to Try
How often do you get to eat kohlrabi or try garlic scapes? Most CSA farms grow a huge variety of fruits and vegetables so your box is bound to be full of interesting new foods to try. Our box can be filled with oodles of kale. kohlrabi or a bumper crop of tomatoes. I LOVE the challenge of using the lesser known vegetables and the race to use them before they go bad. Batch cooking and preserving are a CSA subscribers best friend!
INGREDIENT GUIDES FOR CSA FOODS
- Kohlrabi 101 – How to Cook, Eat and Enjoy Kohlrabi
- Garlic Scapes 101 – How to Cook, Eat and Enjoy Garlic Scapes
- Bok Choy 101 – How to Cook, Eat and Enjoy Bok Choy
FINDING A CSA NEAR YOU
- Canadian CSA Farm Directory
- United States of America CSA Farm Directory
- United Kingdom CSA Farm Directory