Every other Wednesday, I anticipate the delivery of my CSA box or Community Supported Agriculture (food) box from Farm Fresh to You located in Southern California. It’s a subscription based service (with the option to continue as long as you want with no obligation) where I receive about 2 weeks worth of fruits & vegetables grown and harvested directly from local farmers. In my humble opinion, it’s like receiving a gift every other week from people who poured their hearts into growing such beautiful food! I feel like I’ve contributed back to the community by supporting their farming efforts.
Over the last 15-20 years, CSA has become a really fun way for people like myself to receive seasonal vegetables fresh from local and neighboring farmers. The box that I’ve selected is the “Regular Mixed box” which contains a good mix of fruits, vegetables, roots and starches. Every location’s produce may vary depending on geographic availability and seaonality. But this is what this week’s box looks like:
(This list is taken from Farm Fresh to You for the week of May 3rd-7th. The second column lists the location or farm where the produce came from. Neat, huh?)
|San Diego||Squash, summer Zucchini, green|
|Valley Center||Avocado Hass|
|Salinas||Bean, fresh Fava|
|Klamath Basin||Potato Klamath Pearl|
|Our Farm||Carrot Nantes|
|Our Farm||Radish Red|
What I love even more about it is the variety of fruits and vegetables that arrives at my door step, gently waiting for me to put them in the refrigerator and wait to be cooked. And, since the produce is organic and sustainable, it forces me to eat them as soon as possible before they go bad. This particular week, some fava beans arrived. Since I’ve never cooked them before, I’ll have to dig up a new recipe. How exciting! As for the rest of the food, I must to eat them within the next few days before they go bad as there aren’t any preservatives or pesticides.
Not only do I benefit from great produce delivered from local farmers… there are other advantages! In brief… (as stated on Local Harvest.org)
Advantages for farmers are:
- Get to spend time marketing the food early in the year, before their 16 hour days in the field begin
- Receive payment early in the season, which helps with the farm’s cash flow
- Have an opportunity to get to know the people who eat the food they grow
Advantages for consumers:
- Eat ultra-fresh food, with all the flavor and vitamin benefits
- Get exposed to new vegetables and new ways of cooking
- Usually get to visit the farm at least once a season
- Find that kids typically favor food from “their” farm – even veggies they’ve never been known to eat
- Develop a relationship with the farmer who grows their food and learn more about how food is grown
If this sounds interesting to you, consider joining a Community Supported Agriculture group. It’s like Christmas every week except you get vegetables and fresh fruits. I tend to supplement my box with other fruits, vegetables, meats and seafood from my farmers market (what can I say, I love shopping!), but if you’re on a tight schedule and don’t have time to go grocery shopping then this might work for you.
To find a local CSA near you, visit http://www.localharvest.org or search keywords “[your city] CSA” in Google.
If you already use one, which CSA do you use?