The CSAs of Spring

CSA box

As we’re getting very close to May, I’ve been anticipating the CSA start-up this year.  (Just look at all those vibrant veggies from the CSA site photo!)  If you are not familiar with CSAs, it is an acronym for Community Supported Agriculture.  The idea is that individuals buy a share for the year in a local farm, and the dividends are produce and possibly other farm products, (depending on the farm).  The items in your box change as the season goes along (a span of several months), so you can expect peas in spring and potatoes in fall, but it really depends on what the farm plants and harvests.  You share the risks and rewards with the farmers.  If a crop is decimated by bugs, perhaps you do not get many tomatoes that year.  If the beans are super-prolific, you’ll get more than usual in your box.  In addition to being local, farms of this nature  may be organic.  A share in a farm like this can be a way to save money, as organic food in grocery stores (as you may have noticed) can be expensive (and possibly not local)!  Some of the cost of a share may be subsidized through your health care plan’s utility “health credit” (an example).  The plan may not pay for the full cost of the share or pay for it outright, as it may be a partial reimbursement.  CSA farms may even offer a “working share”, where time put in at the farm can pay for a share by itself.  The amount of food you will receive throughout the growing season makes it worth it- one can get quite a bit of produce each week.  My wife and I don’t typically need to buy many other vegetables during the summer months, when combining our CSA produce with that from our garden.  Belonging to a CSA naturally encourages eating more vegetables and fosters cooking creativity as more obscure vegetables may require a trip through a cookbook or online.  The hardest part of the whole process might be waiting for the season to begin!

“This week we have Swiss chard and fennel- now, what can I make?”

 

Finding a local CSA

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