Sunday, June 13, 2010

CSA-ing it for the Summer!

Not to be confused with CSI, or the CPA, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture- although I might rename it Continuous Salad Abundance, based on the status of my fridge over the past few weeks.

CSA's are great for several reasons.
1. It costs a lot less than buying organic produce at the grocery store
2. The food has literally just been picked, which equates to higher nutrient values
3. Joining a CSA supports local farming
4. You truly get to know where your food is coming from, who is growing it, and that it is going to be fresh

If this sounds good to you, let me fill you in on what may be the most old fashioned yet ingeniously green idea to become en vogue since the green movement started.

To create a CSA program, a farm decides to sell 'shares' of what they grow. For a set cost, community members become share-holders by paying up front for a share of what the farm grows. In return, each CSA share-holder receives weekly shares of whatever the farm harvests over the course of the growing season.

Farms may offer one or both of two share types. A payshare, means the member pays a predetermined amount and gets their produce each week, end of relationship. Farms can also offer workshares. Workshare members pay less, but pledge to work a certain number of hours at the farm over the course of the growing season.

My CSA has been providing me with huge amounts of organic produce each week! I have resorted to giving away about half of it to family and friends, which is fine because there is no way I could eat as much as I am getting. I have also been expanding my recipe repertoire because every week I have come home with things I have never purchased at a grocery store, like escarole, bok choy, and arugula. (bok choy salad and arugula pesto are two of my new favorite foods!) In addition to new things, I also have been getting seasonal favorites such as strawberries, snow peas, romaine lettuce, and spinach.

If you want to learn more about CSA-ing it or find a CSA, check out one of these sites, which provide more info and allow you to search for a CSA near you:
Local Harvest
Farm Locator

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