It’s the beginning of February and most Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs are already or beginning to offer shares for the spring season. CSA programs are relationships between farmers and their consumers. With a CSA you subscribe to a share or half-share, support your local farmer and receive fresh seasonal produce. Often once you are setup you can shop the farmers market online, pick from a selection of fruits and vegetables and have them delivered to your areas farmers market. Some markets may even offer fresh eggs, cheese and meats. How awesome is that?!
Eating local is good for our communities and good for our health. By purchasing local, you are keeping money spent in your community and are fueling your local economy. By eating locally grown produce, you are getting food that has often just been picked from the farm. 😀 We were at the grocery store yesterday and my kids wanted to pick some fruit. My son sees bright red strawberries and turns to me and asks, “are strawberries in season, I thought they came in the spring?” He checks the label and sees the strawberries came from Mexico. While it is nice to have all types of fruits and vegetables year round, when you take the time to realize how and how long it took that produce to reach the grocery store you start to see why store-bought produce doesn’t always look so great and only last a few days.
Fruits and vegetable contain the greatest about of nutrients when they are picked ripe. Typically produce in our grocery stores is picked before it is ripe. Picking fruits and vegetables before they are ripe means they have less time to develop their full spectrum of vitamins and minerals. In addition, transporting produce across states and countries means storage and exposure to heat which can degrade the foods nutrients.
For me, the benefits of buying local means I reduce my carbon foot print and the amount of fossil fuels being used for transportation. Best of all shopping through my local farmers market allows my family to receive fresh seasonal produce. 😀
Now selecting a CSA like choosing where to go on a date. You have to decide which one, what time, whats offered and what quantity you need. In my area we have markets that are open just about every day of the week. The selections are amazing…you can find asparagus, beans, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, sweet corn, cucumbers, eggplant, lettuce & salad greens, okra, onions, peppers (hot and sweet), potatoes, tomatoes, radishes, turnips, summer squash, Swiss chard, and herbs such as basil, chives, cilantro, dill, parsley, sage & thyme. Fruit offering are apricots, apples, berries, melons, peaches, pears, plums, grapes and even honey.
In my area spring/summer shares often are received for about 20 weeks. Half shares usually feed 2-3 people per week and full share feed 4-6 people per week. Prices for shares and quantities vary so check with your areas farms for details.
Farm-to-table foods are often organically grown but it’s best that you have to check with your CSA to verify their growing methods.
Find a CSA Farm
Search National farm databases by city, state, or ZIP
- Local Harvest
- NewFarm Farm Locator
http://agmap.psu.edu/ Search the Business category for the term Community Supported Agriculture or use the Advanced Search search to find a local CSA.
- Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association CSA listings
- Wilson College, Robyn Van En Center CSA Farm Database
- The Eat Well Guide
- Why Wednesdays? – Why I Eat . . . Local – #6 (moveeatcreate.wordpress.com)
- CSA membership offers a bounty of seasonal veggies (hamptonroads.com)
- 5 Eco-Friendly Ways To Save Money On Your Grocery Shopping (mysweetgreens.com)