Thursday, December 18, 2008

Community Supported Agriculture

While my days are currently filled with holiday preparations, slush and snow, I thought to check into my local organic farms and started investigating which one I would like to purchase a share of next year. The vision of taking the girls to pick up our box of fresh fruits and veggies on a warm summer day really gets me excited! I know that is a little weird, but I don't love winter and it started really early around here this year. Therefore, I embrace my visions of warmer days.

In case you are new to it, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a way for the public to establish a direct relationship with local farms to purchase a weekly basket of produce. By making a financial commitment to a particular farm, you become a "member", "shareholder" or "subscriber"of the CSA. Most CSA farmers prefer that members pay for the season up front and they are currently filling membership for 2009, although you can find some that offer a payment program or will accept monthly or weekly payments. The CSA season generally runs from late spring through early fall. The weekly produce you receive depends on what is grown at the farm you choose and what is in season.

So how do you find a local farm? Check out Local Harvest. This site allows you to enter your state or zip code to find farms in your area along with a description of each farm and contact information. In addition, you can find on-line stores, farmer's markets, restaurants and grocery/coops.
This is a great way to cut down on trips to the grocery store, get a variety of fresh organic fruits and veggies and support your local farmers. In addition, many farms also offer fresh, organic eggs, poultry, goat's milk, fresh flowers, etc. at an extra charge.

Note: The only criticism I have heard from people who have previously subscribed to a CSA is that there are often a lot of greens in the box that they don't know what to do with. My suggestion, put them in your Green Smoothie!

- Shannan

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