I’m currently flying north towards Pittsburgh for Thanksgiving, and since many of you will be doing lots of cooking this week, I thought it would be great timing to share a guest post about Community Supported Agriculture (CSA).
CSAs are a way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. Basically, a farmer offers “shares” for purchase to the public, which usually consist of a weekly (or bi-weekly) box of vegetables, fruit, and sometimes dairy/eggs/meat products, depending on the farm. It’s a great way to support local farmers, get delicious, fresh produce, and encourage yourself to experiment with vegetables and fruit you might not normally purchase! Click here to locate a CSA near you.
Without further ado — enjoy the guest post!
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Why I Love My CSA
A guest post by Gary Hansen
Fall is in full swing here in the Pacific Northwest, and that means our beautiful sunny weekend was followed by a cold, wet, blustery Monday. It’s the kind of day that makes you want to come home from work to some bone-warming soup and hot apple cider. And, that is exactly what I did. I made a wonderful autumn minestrone (click here for the recipe) almost exclusively using ingredients that were grown within 100 miles of where we live — winter squash, celery, potatoes, corn, onions, garlic — all from our local CSA farm.
My wife and I are coming to the end of our second summer with our farm, and we love it. Each week, our farmers truck up to the Seattle area and leave boxes of fresh veggies at various pick-up locations around town. In the summertime, they leave fresh flowers along with the vegetables. As fall hits, the flowers are replaced with carving pumpkins and jars of honey.
If you don’t already participate in a CSA, I would encourage you to find one in your area. They can be a convenient and affordable way to eat locally-grown, seasonal, organic foods. One of the great things about our weekly deliveries has been the opportunity to try new things. Having to resort to Google for help (what exactly is garlic flower, how should I prepare tatsoi? etc.) used to be a weekly occurrence. Now we’re getting to be obscure vegetable connoisseurs, thanks to the helpful guidance and time-tested recipes our wonderful farmers include in their newsletters.
Participating in a CSA also saves us a lot of time that we would normally spend shopping for groceries. Every Tuesday a week’s worth of vegetables is waiting for us. What’s more, these vegetables have a more positive environmental impact because they’re chemical-free and weren’t shipped from Chile, or even California. This encourages us to eat what’s seasonal, which in turn allows us to be more in tune with the natural rhythms the year.
Finally, I love the community that we get from our CSA. There’s a connection that we have with others as we run into each other at the pick-up site. Our food comes from the same soil. We all have a personal connection with the people who plant and harvest what we eat. Our CSA has changed the way we shop, the way we cook, and — if there’s any merit behind the saying, “You are what you eat” — who we are.
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|About the author:
When he’s not playing soccer or cooking something savory in his beloved cast iron skillet, Gary Hansen writes articles on career training topics for Guide to Career Education.
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Thanks, Gary! I really want to join a CSA (especially after touring a CSA farm while on the Stonyfield Barnstorming Tour) but haven’t gotten my act together yet — reading this is the motivation I need to start looking for one near me!
Do you belong to a CSA? Do you like it? Love it? Is it worth the money?