Going Green: 3 Reasons to Sign Up for a CSA
why you should give community supported agriculture a try
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. This is a way of getting fresh fruits & vegetables directly from a local farmer or farmers by pre paying for a “share” of their harvest. In return, once or twice a week, you will receive a box of fresh from the farm fruits & vegetables for a set period of time during the growing season. Some shares even have local add-ons like cheese, milk, yogurt or bread.
1. everyone wins
Community supported agriculture is great for everyone but especially the farmers. Farmers get to focus on farming by selling direct. By selling direct we hope they are able to make more of a profit which can help them ride out increasingly rough weather patches (California we’re rooting for you). By signing up in advance the farmers know how much to grow which prevents wasted produce & labor. Buying local is better for the environment because the food isn’t traveling very far to get to its final destination. Most of these farmers utilize organic farming practices which make them better land stewards. Viable, healthy farmable land that is free of chemicals & pesticides is so important for our future. By buying from these farmers you are voting for these kind of practices with your wallet. We all know money talks. If we want to see more responsible food production we have to support it. For the consumer this is great because you can pick up a box of food, pre paid & ready to go right in the neighborhood. If you can walk to your pick up location; even better. Walking makes us happy & healthy. The farmer wins, the Earth wins & the consumer wins. Doesn’t it feel good when everyone wins?
2. you get to try new things
We all, in a way, get stuck in a cooking rut. We cook the same things over & over again. A CSA will keep you on your toes & force you to learn more about the food you eat! There is nothing like receiving a garlic scape that you HAVE to do something with to get creative in the kitchen. Since fresh food is best with simple preparations you won’t have to do much to make it taste delicious & you get to stretch your culinary chops & try new things. There has also been a trend towards heirloom varieties so you may get something super interesting that you’ve never even seen before. Last year at the farmers market I kept seeing crazy melons. I love it!
3. simplify life
Making a meal plan is a pain. Going to the grocery store is a pain. With a CSA you can have a well stocked pantry with grains, oils & vinegars & decide to eat with what you have on hand. There is something to be said about someone who can make a meal out of nothing. My favorite cookbooks for simple foods are Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking & any cook book by Alice Waters (I have & love In the Green Kitchen). Both cooks & their cookbooks favor fresh simple ingredients & technique over complicated recipes with numerous ingredients.
Where Do I Sign Up?
Be Well Philly recently wrote a great comprehensive article all about CSA’s including where to pick up, what they cost & what they offer. Be Well Philly: 2014 Local Spring CSA Programs Now Open for Registration.
I do want to bring your attention to the one coop that has the most pick up locations & the most options in terms of different shares. That is the one below which is the Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative. I also added in Greensgrow because it wasn’t up on Be Well Philly’s just yet because Greensgrow doesn’t start taking orders until March 4th.
This is a super comprehensive Spring/Summer CSA coop with full & half vegetable shares. If you register for a Fall share at the same time as summer they are offering $15.00 off. On top of veggies they have available a flower share, an herbal medicine share, egg share, cheese share, chicken share, herb share & a fruit share. This CSA has by far the most flexible options for pick up. There are over 60 in & around Philadelphia!
Deadline to Register for Spring/Summer: April 27th (so register ASAP!)
Starts: May 5th
Ends: October 27th
Pick Up Locations: Click Here for a Comprehensive Map with Pick Up Locations
Greensgrow is a local sustainable farm that offers full & half summer shares. The goods are mostly fruits & vegetables but can include a protein, vegan protein or cheese. We have the basic details below but more information from Greensgrow is coming soon.
Registration Starts: March 4th
Starts: Mid May
Ends: Early November
Pick Up: 2501 E. Cumberland Street on Thursdays from 3-7 & Saturdays from 10-3
Here’s to Spring & food you can feel good about!