Spring is coming…really. Now is the time to sign up for your CSA share – farm subscriptions are filling up fast! Community Supported Agriculture is a concept where consumers pay up front at the beginning of the season and then receive a weekly box of farm fresh, seasonal produce from approximately June into October.
There are many reasons why I love CSAs. I love to support local, sustainable agriculture. I love knowing where my food is coming from and what’s happening on the farm. Finally, thanks to the CSA, my husband and I eat exponentially more vegetables than we would ever buy on our own.
Try not to get overwhelmed by the number of farms to choose from. In my opinion, the main factor to consider is the pick up location. It must be convenient, and on a day of the week that makes sense for you. If you head out to the cabin every weekend, either a Thursday pick up will be perfect – you’ll have lots of delicious veggies to eat over the weekend – or not ideal, if the veggies sit and wilt in your fridge, waiting for your return. Also, think about splitting a share with a neighbor or friend.
Many farms offer farm access. These days, it seems few farms are requiring member work days. However, if you LIKE getting your hands dirty, most farms welcome the help. Many farms have festival days throughout the summer, which is a great outing for kids.
A CSA share is a great investment – and also a great value. The cost of my CSA breaks down to $12 per week each for my husband and me. It’s a good deal. My other key CSA recommendation is to pick up a copy of Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. This is one of my favorite cookbooks (and I’m hardly a vegetarian); not so much a collection of recipes as tons of really accessible advice on how to fix every possible vegetable. I guarantee that it will help you get the most out of your CSA share.
When not blogging about the Fringe, Kate works for the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, where she spends a lot of time talking to folks about sustainable agriculture and good food.