CSA Variety

8 Reasons to Join a CSA today!

Spring is finally in the air and I for one am excited for the warmer weather and freshness ahead! I’m preparing our home with fresh flowers, changing to lighter linens, closets and of course seasonal foods.

One thing I love to do now is to join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), which is also known as a farm share. If you have not already made a farm share part of your kitchen, I highly encourage it.

Here are 8 great reasons to join a CSA, plus the 411 on what to expect and how to find a good one.

  1. Local produce is more flavorful. Transporting food across countries and continents can take days to weeks. Often produce is treated for preservation and then ripened upon arrival so it looks fresh, but tastes flat.
  2. Fresher food is more nutritious. After picking, produce continues to breathe which breaks down its minerals. Broccoli, mushrooms, peas and sweet corn break down especially quickly.
  3. You eat a greater variety of nutrients. Eating seasonally naturally rotates your palate, providing different vitamins and minerals.
  4. It saves you money. You can get fresh veggies for a family of 4 for about $30 a week. If you want less, split one with friends.
  5. If your CSA is organic, which I recommend, you avoid the “Dirty Dozen”. There 12 foods highest in pesticides, include spinach and berries. For more, click here. http://www.pbs.org/wnet/need-to-know/health/the-dirty-dozen-and-clean-15-of-produce/616/
  6. You lower carbon emissions. It is estimated that the average grocery store produce travels 1500 miles to reach you, generating more carbon emissions that cause global warming.
  7. You will be helping keep local farms alive. The guaranteed income stabilizes farm income and helps them survive in the face of industrial agriculture.
  8. Act now — CSA’s sell out in early spring!

Interested? Here’s the 411

How CSAs Work: CSA stands for community supported agriculture. You purchase a share of a farm’s produce for a period of time such as the summer or the summer and fall. Most payments are made up front.

What You Get: Each week you receive a portion of what was harvested that week. There are no guarantees, but squash, tomatoes, greens and berries are common. Some CSAs also offer eggs, dairy and even meat.

Quantity: Most CSAs shares are intended to serve a family of 4. However, unless you eat a lot of vegetables, consider splitting a share with another family.

Organic or Not: Not all CSAs are organic. Look around if this is important to you. My recommendation is to go for organic. Greens and berries carry high levels of pesticides and are considered part of the “Dirty Dozen” or the 12 foods to buy organic. Cliff notes version: anything that grows above ground and does not have a rind or skin that is removed before eating is likely to carry pesticides unless the farm is pesticide free.

Pick Up Locations: Consider this carefully. Most CSA’s require pick up at a central location. How far are you able to go each week?

Sold? Click here to find a list of mainly organic CSA serving Connecticut, or google “find a CSA in XXX area.”

Photo Credit: Flicker Charles Smith. Stoneledge farms CSA

Reprinted. First published in Greenwichtime.com