Should You Join a CSA?

Recently, I decided to join a CSA for the first time and thought it would be fitting to share some information about CSAs with you. If you haven’t heard of a CSA or you are potentially looking to join one, but aren’t sure, this post is for you!

What is a CSA?

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Basically, small farms offer you an opportunity to support them via a weekly or bi-weekly subscription. Some CSAs are offered by a single farm and some are made up of a few small local growers. All strive to provide fresh, seasonal, and locally harvested produce that doesn’t travel across the country to your kitchen.

Each week or every other week, receive a box of fresh, locally harvested fruits and veggies that is usually delivered to a your home or local pickup location. Most CSA’s have a few sizes of boxes to choose from, so you can decide what works best for you.

CSAs generally offer other benefits such as special events, trips/tours to the farm, and recipes included with each box to help you figure out how to consume the contents of your box. Specific inclusions will vary based on the CSA.

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This week’s leafy green selection

 

How do you find a CSA?

Usually a little internet searching will guide you to available local CSAs and how to join them. You may also find listings at your local farmer’s market or through advertisements in community media outlets (newsletters, local papers, bulletin boards, etc.). Gather a list of available CSA options, look at what each offers, and decide what works best for you based on cost, sizes available, and other inclusions.

Why Join a CSA over buying all of your produce in a grocery store?

  1. Community – Joining helps supports and sustain local small farmers who grow organic, quality produce rather than funding large corporations and possibly GMO’s. Joining also makes you a part of a local, healthy community with other like-minded individuals.
  2. Local – The produce is guaranteed to be locally harvested and thus very fresh, as the produce has not traveled for miles and sat for days or weeks before you pick it up at the store. This also means that there are more available nutrients in the food for your body to absorb.
  3. Cost-Effective – CSAs seem to be reasonably priced and provide tremendous value for the amount and quality of the produce you are receiving. I think it is far more cost-effective than shopping at a farmer’s market or organic produce at a grocery store.
  4. Quality – I have found the produce to be extremely fresh and taste incredible. I can tell the difference from the produce I purchase at local grocery stores.
  5. Variety – The produce differs each week and changes seasonally, allowing you to vary your diet and the nutrients you are consuming. It also allows you to try to experience various types of vegetables you may not normally buy on your own.
  6. It’s Effortless! – The produce is delivered and picked out for you. It makes it easy for you to decide what to eat that week and plan your meals based around what you receive (most CSAs post the contents of their box on their website prior to sending it out so you can plan ahead).
  7. It’s Healthier – As soon as I started receiving shipments I noticed myself figuring out how to include more vegetables into every meal. I had more options readily available and I try not to waste anything I do receive by letting it rot. The only way to avoid this is to consume all of the veggies!
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Kohlrabi…I had no idea what this was until last week!

Tip: Not sure how to cook what your received? Start perusing a few blogs, Pinterest, or check out a website called TasteSpotting. TasteSpotting allows you type in an ingredient (i.e. a vegetable), and pick from an array of recipes using that ingredient. It’s awesome!

Who Shouldn’t Join A CSA?

I’ve talked a lot about the benefits of joining a CSA, but let’s get real, it’s not for everyone. If you don’t regularly cook and eat at home or don’t intend to start, then you may just end up wasting the contents that you receive. If you are an extremely picky eater, and are not willing to try the different produce that comes your way, then this may not be for you either.

The idea is to consume a variety of local, seasonally varied fruits and vegetables in order to improve the quality of the food you are consuming and to increase the health benefits of eating a diet based seasonally available produce.

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Veggies galore!

 

Still Not Sure if You Should Join a CSA?

I would encourage everyone to at least try it for a week or two to see if it works for you and if you enjoy it. Most CSAs offer some sort of trial for you to test it out before making more of a commitment. Also, don’t worry if you travel or find yourself away from home for a few weeks…there should be an option available to put your membership on hold.

Personally, I get very excited every Wednesday when I venture over to the local pick-up location to get my box and see what I get to eat for the week! This likely results from my incredible obsession love of food! Have fun with it and use it as inspiration to get creative in the kitchen!

Are you a part of a CSA? What have you found to be the most beneficial part of being a member of a CSA? Share with us by commenting below!

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Cooking Inspiration from the Contents of my CSA Box | Fit To Wander

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