Thursday, February 24, 2011

Community Supported Agriculture...

It is almost salad season! I got the email yesterday from my CSA announcing that salad season starts in 4 weeks. We have had very warm weather as of late so things must be starting to bloom which makes me so very excited!

Last summer, I contacted a local farmer about purchasing a CSA share. This was my first experience with a CSA so wasn't sure what to expect. Basically, a CSA is a way for you to get fresh off the farms fruits and veggies. The benefit to the farmer is that it helps his cash flow as you typically pay a month at a time or sometimes for the entire season up front. Last year was not only my first experience with a CSA but also the first season my farmer (as he has come to be known at our house) did a CSA. Fear of the unknown on both parts I suppose. I was afraid I might get nothing but squash every week but took a leap of faith.

I was pleasantly surprised to get a variety of items each week. Granted, there were quite a few weeks where there was more okra than I knew what to do with but overall I began looking forward to picking up my bag each week to see what we were given. The weeks varied with the growing season. Throughout the summer (May through October), we received fresh eggs, basil, watermelons, eggplant, squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, and many other things some of which I had to google to find out what they were. As the summer drew to a close, I was sad to see the CSA end.

I first heard about CSAs by reading your blogs and then googled it to find one near me. Local Harvest has a great site with CSA information and a CSA locator if you are interested. A CSA can include anything from fruits and vegetables to meat. Established CSAs tend to sell their shares quickly. They obviously have limited crops so they limit their shares accordingly. Some CSAs deliver each week while others require a pick up. To me, this is an important factor to consider. I initially went with a Saturday AM pickup but found that it interfered a bit with my Saturday morning runs and tennis matches so changed to a mid-week pickup for this year. Costwise, it was about the same as what I spent weekly on vegetables at the grocery and I got a lot more. You do not choose what you get in your bag. As my friends with kids like to say, "you get what you get and you don't complain". I always saw it as an adventure, you don't know from week to week what you will be eating. I cannot say enough good things about my CSA, it was well worth the experience. If you are at all interested in a CSA or just curious as to what might be in your area, be sure to check out Local Harvest.

6 comments:

Krista (kristastes) said...

I love my CSA share - they are great!!

Amanda said...

Awesome - I don't even "cook" salad. Bad I know, but so glad you're doing it again this year :)!

Ewa said...

CSA is an awesome invention, if I can call it that. In our chaotic lives though, we cannot do it. We would miss too many weeks so we stick to our farmer's market, all local, many stands organic.

Lauren said...

I haven't ever done a CSA but really want to look into one for this year. It sounds like such a great way to get your veggies and experiment with many different foods.

KT80 said...

We have never joined a CSA either, but I am an avid supporter of local foods. Farmers' markets are wonderful! There are so many popping up, it's great to see. www.localharvest.org is a site that lists markets across the country, as well as other local food resources. -KT80 www.traininglikeagirl.blogspot.com

Gotta Run..Gotta Ride said...

Having watched Food Inc. and other such informational programs i am now more focused on eating produce while "in season". Never heard of CSA but will check it out.

Read up on some of your other post.... welcome back to Master's. Sounds like it will work well for you again.