Thursday, April 14, 2011

Community Supported Agriculture

   What is Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)?

It is a way for consumers to purchase local, seasonal food directly from the farmer. Depending on which CSA you sign up with, you are able to speak directly to the farmer regarding their produce and how it is grown. The farmer sells certain amount of "shares" to the public and in each share (you are given a box or basket), you have foods that will include anything from vegetables, fruit to eggs and even bread! Every CSA offers different types of baskets.

So how does it work?

It's easy! Once you find a CSA that will fit your schedule, location and budget, you will contact them to get details regarding location of pick-up and fees. You will typically pre-pay for your shares each week (some will do bi-weekly, monthly and even the entire growing season) and you will go to the specified location at the specified time and pick up your basket! It's that simple.

Some CSA's will allow you to "pre-order" certain types of foods to customize your basket; which would mean utilizing every little bit of food. If you're not sure about purchasing a share for yourself, do what I did the first year, grab a friend and share a basket! However, once you realize the incredibly fresh produce and amazing flavors compared to store-bought produce (not to mention the convenience of having an entire basket of produce already sorted for you each week!), you will want the basket all to yourself (it only took me a few times to realize I could use the entire basket myself)!  Another bonus from joining a CSA, is that you  don't have to think about what produce you should buy when shopping, you pick up your produce and do a quick search online for recipes using the produce you have.  It lends for a wide variety of seasonal vegetables in your weekly nutrition that you may not otherwise try (this is how I learned to love kale and turnips!).

How much do these shares cost?

It all depends on which CSA you choose, but I've seen as low as $16 for a basket full of produce every other week up to $400+ for the entire growing season (approx. 22 weeks).

Where can I find more information?

Go to this website to find a CSA near you!
Or, ask around your circle of friends, you might get as  lucky as I did and find one right in your neighborhood!
We enjoy the freshest produce possible by being a part of a CSA

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