A CSA is just the thing for you if you can’t plant a garden. Even if you have a garden but want more vegetables than you can grow in your own little plot, you should look into joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture.) A CSA is one of the best ways for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer.
How does it work?
Here’s how it usually works: Sometime in the spring, you buy a “share” of the farmer’s harvest. You won’t know exactly how much food you will be getting. Much of that depends on if rain and warm weather yield a good harvest. But there is usually a minimum, say 20 lbs of food per week. That food is delivered each week to a central drop-off point. You will be get a box filled with tasty, freshly picked produce, usually organically grown.
CSAs are a win-win for everyone
CSAs benefit both the farmer and the consumer. Farmers market their food early in the year (pre-selling their “shares”), before their long days in the field begin. That means that they are assured a steady income. They get to know the people who eat the food they grow, forming a cooperative relationship with their customers.
You benefit because you get the freshest produce, with maximum flavor and nutrition. It’s a food adventure. Every week you get new vegetables, probably some you’ve never tried before. That means lots of fun experimenting with new flavors and recipes. The recipe page here at PHC has a whole section of recipes using vegetables. Be sure to check the Store for recipe books for different vegetables.
Children typically will eat more vegetables, even veggies they’ve never been known to eat, that come from “their” farm. And you develop a supportive relationship with the farmer who grows their food. You are an active participant in the process that weaves agriculture, local economy and stewardship for our environment into a healthy whole.
Find a CSA near you
More than likely there’s a CSA that delivers near you. Check with your local county extension or Google for CSAs near you.
For my ND/MN readers, you may want to try Bluebird Gardens. My friend Sue got shares from them last year. Here’s what she says about this CSA:
It has been a fabulous resource for food storage. Last year we went out to the farm in Fergus Falls (an hour away) and harvested 10 gallons of green beans, 120 ear of corn, 10 gallons of cukes, 20 gallons of tomatoes, dozens of squash, five gallons of broccoli, melons, 100 pounds of potatoes and more. That was all EXTRA! [In addition to the weekly shares.] We did not pay any more money for the produce we picked ourselves. Their pumpkin patches are massive! It is very family orientated.
There. What more could you want? Supporting a family-run business, getting good food, grown organically and sustainably, good prices and a bountiful harvest. I encourage you to find a CSA near you and join. You’ll be glad you did.