Jeanette, the blogger behind Jeanette’s Healthy Living recently joined a CSA. Thanks Jeanette for sharing all about CSA’s, the importance of buying locally grown produce, and the amazing photos!
(Submitted by Jeanette from Jeanette’s Healthy Living)
This summer, I decided to join a CSA (“Community Supported Agriculture”) group after considering this option for a few growing seasons. So, what is a CSA? A CSA allows consumers to buy local, seasonal produce directly from a farm.
The way it works is simple: the farm offers a certain number of “shares” to the public. Consumers buy a share and are then the recipient of a box of fresh seasonal produce every week throughout the farming season.
Although a friend of mine had encouraged me to look into a CSA several years ago, I wasn’t quite ready. I wanted to try growing a few containers of tomatoes, peppers, and zucchini, supplemented by additional variety from the farmer’s market – that way I could pick and choose what I wanted. In addition, I enjoyed the weekly ritual of visiting the farmer’s market every Saturday morning and perusing all the farmer’s tables to see who was offering the best produce and prices.
However, this year I decided to give a CSA a try. I fully expected to be placed on a waitlist as CSA’s can only sell a limited number of shares each season to ensure there’s enough produce to go around. I was pleasantly surprised to find that there was no wait this year for the CSA that delivered to my town.
So, why did I decide to finally give a CSA a try? After a few years of half-eaten tomatoes snatched off my plantings, and looking at the eyesore of containers of tomatoes, peppers and blueberries sitting on my patio table to protect them from the plethora of wildlife in my backyard, I finally threw in the towel. The idea of being guaranteed a box of fresh organic produce on a weekly basis was enticing to say the least. In addition, I liked the idea of introducing my family to a wider variety of vegetables that they might not otherwise try. Also, since the produce I receive comes straight from the farm, I know that a limited number of hands have touched these precious fruits and vegetables, and that these jewels have been picked that morning, so they have not been exposed to any chemicals to speed the ripening process.
Unlike produce from the supermarket, CSA fruits and vegetables have skipped the large distribution warehouses, and have only traveled a short distance, making less of a footprint in the process. Buying directly from a local family-run farm where people care about the handling and quality of their crops makes me feel good that my family is eating the cleanest, most nutritious produce, while helping to keep a local farm in business.
Each week, I look forward to picking up my CSA box – it’s like getting a surprise birthday present every week. I never know what’s going to be inside the box, but I know it will be something fresh and nutritious. I also know that I will have fun thinking up new ways to serve up all the fresh vegetables and fruits to my family and expand their palate. In fact, my kids are starting to get just as excited as me when the box arrives home!
With strawberries at their peak, I wanted to share a recipe for Strawberry Lemonade Fizz, perfect for a hot summer day.
Homemade Strawberry Lemonade Fizz
- 1 cup organic strawberries
- 1/2 cup organic lemonade
- 2 tablespoons honey or 1 tablespoon agave nectar
- 1 1/2 cup club soda or sparkling water
- fresh mint leaves, for garnish
- Puree strawberries, lemonade and honey in a blender. Divide between 2 glasses.
- Add club soda and stir.
- Garnish with mint leaves. Serve immediately.
Makes 2 servings.