Friday, March 18, 2011

JOT #3: Community supported agriculture

Way back when, I lived in the city. We never went to the farmer's market, but craved organic veggies. Then a guy left a flyer one day advertising a box fully of organic fruits and veggies delivered to your door weekly or every two weeks for $20. Since then, I've been hooked.

Community supported agriculture refers to a system in which a farm or group of farms/produce-providers get together and divide their harvest among people interested in receiving their produce and supporting their farm. In essence, it's like investing in a share of the farm, with the difference that you get vegetables and fruit instead of stock certificates. You support the work of these small farmers, and they box up what they harvest and divide among the investors.

In practice, it's fun. You pay either up front, or installments, or even by the box or week or month. You choose your share - a half box, full box, weekly, biweekly, etc. Then you pick up the box at the farmer's market, a dedicated location like someone's house or store, or pay a bit extra to have it delivered home. Some CSAs allow you to even choose to exclude certain produce or switch them out for something you do like. Others offer only-fruit boxes, salad boxes, veggie boxes. Some even offer milk and meat.

I have been getting mine ove rhte winter, and whenever I want a box, from Full Belly Farm (130 miles), which also offers special order items for its CSA customers (dried peaches, anyone?), and for the summer or when I'm not traveling, I use Hidden Villa, since it's really close (less travel = less pollution/energy-expended) and less expensive as well. I love the surprise of what is coming next week - and the challenge of cooking something with a new ingredient you've never seen before. I like knowing that this will be the last week of kale and that I will likely be getting zucchini for the next month in abundance. I like the little newsletters that offer new recipes and tell me what's happening at the farm, and the invitations to farm events for CSA members.

You can find out more about CSAs and find a CSA you like by going to Local Harvest.

No comments: