Monday, June 7, 2010

CSA: Community Supported Agriculture

We got our first box of fruits and vegetables from our CSA membership on Saturday and I thought I'd give you a peek. Lovely is it not? Everything looks so fresh and green smells wonderful!

So, what is a CSA?

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture (also called a CO-OP). At the beginning of the summer (the first of May was the cut off for ours) you sign up and buy a "share" (or in our case half a share) of what a local farm produces. We paid a set amount (ours is about $13 a week) and we will receive 8-12 pounds of fresh, organic, local produce each week for approximately 20 weeks. And by fresh, I mean FRESH! As in most of the items in our box were picked the morning of delivery. They can range in size from a few members to a few hundred. Ours has 54 members/families this year.

This is what our first box included:

  • about a half a quart of fresh strawberries

  • a bundle of radishes

  • a bundle of green onions

  • a nice sized bag of salad mix (this is a weekly item)

  • 3 containers (like you would buy herbs in at the grocery store) of fresh Arugula, oregano and cilantro

The first few weeks boxes won't contain much but as the season progresses, the will get more and more fruitful!

In some ways I am a little nervous about the contents of these boxes as we will be introduced to some vegetables we have never tried before and I will have to get creative in the kitchen, trying new recipes and new ways of cooking these new foods. But at the time time, I am excited at this prospect as well. We have the opportunity to expand our culinary palate and push our "boundaries" a little when it comes to what we "think" we like and don't like. It also means I will have to get creative with the meal plans I make each week. From now on, I will get the CSA box on Saturday, search out recipes for the new and interesting items on Saturday, plan the next weeks menu on Saturday and Sunday and then grocery shop on Sunday or Monday. Phew! I am soo looking forward to this!

So, what some more information on CSA's?

Here is a link to a more detailed description of what a CSA is. Make sure too use the "Find CSA Farms" search to the right to see if there is a CSA near you to possibly look into.

Most CSA's are now closed to new members for the year, but maybe seeing mine this year will get you in the frame of mind to look into one for your family next year. They are a great way to help support your local farmers and a wonderful source of fresh, healthy, and sometimes organic foods!

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