Sunday, April 14, 2013

Top Ten Reasons to Join a CSA Farm

Strawwberries in Field
LEF Strawberries on the Vine
Strawberries in Basket
LEF Strawberries in the Basket

Ideas Collected from CSA Subscribers

Springtime is the perfect season to join a CSA farm.  CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture, is an arrangement where consumers subscribe to a local organic farm and receive a “farm share” of produce every week. You get a box of perfectly ripened local fruits and veggies straight from the fields, fresher and more flavorful that from any market. In turn, your CSA subscription gives the farmer resources to purchase seeds, soil amendments, and farm equipment, and assures him or her of recipients for the farm’s produce when crops are booming. Most CSA farms offer several box sizes and a choice of payment options. If you’re in the Santa Cruz/South Bay/Monterey area, I highly recommend Live Earth Farm, which has spaces for a few more subscribers this year. Our first boxes have included lettuce, cilantro, spinach and other greens, young carrots, beets, green garlic, and LEF’s legendary strawberries. I’m not exaggerating…you’ll not find any better strawberries anywhere. Folks from other US locations can find a farm on the CSA map provided by

Basket of Green Garlic from CSA
Green Garlic: Not Found in Supermarkets
Here’s a list of things that subscribers like about belonging to a CSA, according to an informal poll I’ve taken over the past couple of weeks:

Top Ten Reasons to Belong to CSA Farm

1. Local veggies and fruits in season are the freshest and most flavorful produce available.

2. All produce is organic, healthfully pesticide-free. More consumers buying organic reduces overall pesticide levels in the environment.

3. Eating locally grown food from nearby farmers creates community, putting you in touch with what is grown around you at different times of the year.

4. Receiving produce every week requires you to eat your veggies just about every day, a healthy plan. How many servings do you need per day? Check out the calculator at the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.

People on a Farm Tour
Most CSAs Have Farm Visiting Days for Members
5. CSA helps you discover new and unusual fruits and veggies. Sometimes even veggies that you think you don’t like are delicious when eaten fresh from local sources, or prepared in a way recommended by the farm. Most CSA farms email weekly newletters with recipes for the week’s produce.

6. Eating locally grown food reduces transportation costs and reduces our food’s carbon footprint.

7. CSA shares eliminate decisions and shopping trips to the market. This one was submitted by my lovely accountant Maura, who has been quite busy lately. Check her out if you are a local with personal or business accounting needs. After April 15. :-)

8. Buying from nearby farmers supports local small businesses and spends your dollars within your county or state.

9. CSA subscriptions increase the amount of organic produce that is purchased. This encourages agriculture business as a whole to move towards organic.

10. It’s fun. This is actually the #1 reason, cited by almost everyone, including me.

Mild Green Garlic: Slice and use like Onion!
Try it for a season! Support nearby businesses while enjoying plenty of fresh, organic, local produce. If you need to know what to do with all that produce, that’s what this blog is all about…check out my Recipes by Ingredient tab, or click on a veggie or fruit in the left sidebar. And do leave a comment if there’s another fruit or veggie for which you need recipes or how-to-prepare advice!

Photo of Tractor in field
LEF Plowing Under Cover Crops

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