For a long time I would go to the local farmer’s market and buy fresh vegetables. I usually went to the same farmers and bought the same things every week. It was delicious, but I got burnt out pretty fast. While I was there, I learned about a CSA and decided to investigate. Here’s what I learned and why I decided to try this new way to buy my veggies.
What is a CSA?
CSA stands for community supported agriculture. The simplest way to explain how a CSA works is that a local farm organizes a bunch of buyers and we all pay at set fee and split the farm’s harvest. Each farm that has a CSA will vary on size and produce grown. My CSA is limited to 250 people. So for 20 weeks a year, I get my cut of what’s being harvested. I pay a set fee (upfront) and every Saturday I go pick up my box from the farm (right down the road) or I can go to the farmers market and pick up my weekly bounty.
Over the course of the 20 weeks, my box included a wide variety of fresh, local vegetables such as…
Tomatoes, cucumbers, several varieties of lettuce and other greens, herbs, kale, beets, spinach, swiss chard, turnips, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, radishes, onions, collards, potatoes, bell peppers, hot peppers, squash, zucchini, eggplant, green beans, cantaloupe, sweet peppers, sweet corn, tomatillos, watermelon, sweet potatoes and even fresh garlic and other awesome herbs.
Questions to ask about your CSA
1. What do you grow? If you don’t like most of the veggies, don’t do it.
2. How many weeks does it last?
3. How many people will a week’s worth of veggies feed?
4. Do you have different sized boxes to choose from?
5. Am I required to volunteer? In my research I found that some farms require you to help at the farm for a few hours during the season. I chose a farm that didn’t have that requirement.
A CSA is great buying healthy foods AND trying foods you normally wouldn’t eat. I was finding new recipes to incorporate all the things I was getting each week. Every CSA is different, but I had enough left over each week to freeze quite a bit and we have been enjoying them all winter.
It works out perfectly for my busy family because it’s great to not have to worry about veggies. Sometimes they even throw in easy recipes to try with the veggies I get.
Don’t know where to find a CSA? Ask around at your local farmers market and you will probably find one. I just signed up for mine and I can’t wait for my first box this year.
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