[repost] What is a CSA?
I got to go to an event last weekend at a fabulous home in my area on the edge of a forest with an expansive view of the Puget Sound, hosted by a local CSA called Snoqualmie Valley Farmer’s Cooperative, aimed at boosting their enrollment. Since our previous CSA farm has stopped offering weekly vegetables, my husband and I were eager to attend and find out about this cooperative sourcing locally grown vegetables. We decided to sign up and start the adventure again of weekly deliveries of local produce. As a result, I’ve decided to bring back up the front an old post that explains what a CSA is and why join one.
[September 16, 2011]
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. It is a program that lots of small organic farms across the country participate in to get their vegetables out to the community. Basically you are buying a share of the farm’s produce during the season. This helps the farmers with much needed funds early in the season and you get the fruits (or veggies) of their labors. It’s a win-win.
Different CSA’s work in different ways. We get our awesome organic veggies from Boistfort Valley Farm and they run their summer program for 20 weeks between June and October. Whatever is perfectly ripe and ready to pick that week goes in the box for delivery literally the next day. Because the produce is delivered so immediately, it tastes delicious! The flavor is really beyond compare. I remember when we first started with the program, I kept being amazed by this over and over, exclaiming, “These carrots are unbelievable!” The reason for this flavor upgrade is certainly the freshness, but also because this way, the farmers get to choose varieties of vegetables that are grown for the best flavor, not just for the best shelf life. Most large farms that ship to grocery stores need to have their vegetables last several weeks without going bad. With a CSA, the vegetables are picked at the peak of ripeness and are full of flavor.
Our farm sends recipes along with the vegetables and that is a great bonus. We’ve been subscribers for about 5 years but I tell you, in the beginning I was getting some vegetables that I had never even seen before! What was a kohlrabi? And so that’s what a rutabaga looks like! But with the recipes, I knew what to do with them, and I’ve never had a dish not turn out well.
The other great thing about subscribing to a CSA is that it literally forces you to eat your vegetables. I feel really guilty letting anything spoil in my fridge so I have great incentive to plan meals and get creative with what is in there. I mean, I know that in a few days I will be getting another box! I have been known to even have Veg Parties, making piles and piles of tasty vegetable dishes for my friends just to clear out a couple of weeks of produce.
It’s hard sometimes to get all the vegetables that we all know we should be eating. “Half your plate” is what the FDA currently recommends. Joining a CSA is a great way to make sure you get them. And organic, locally grown ones to boot! Find a CSA near you and join for the rest of the season.
To your health,
Holistic Health and Nutrition Coach