Summer will be here before we know it- gardens are teeming with life, and some of us crazy health nuts are ready to get the garden going. I always imagine it looking full and bright, with leafy greens, bright peppers and tomatoes popping up all over. In reality, gardening at my house is a different story.
I mean well. I want to grow my own food- I want to have my crap together (which includes waking up early to make sure the garden gets watered before it gets too hot) but to be honest it’s been a bit of a sad effort the past few years. They are always a little brown and ‘thirsty’ looking, sometimes eventually withering away… Of course, I have young children and my yard isn’t fenced in, so watering the garden has often consisted of me tossing the hose aside every 30 seconds because my kids are running directly towards the road and certain death. It’s not pretty.
But this year is going to be different! I am going to grow big, amazing, beautiful food and we are going to run out to the garden and harvest our dinner as we prepare it. This is all going to be very quaint, people. Like Little House on the Prairie.
But just in case it’s not, I do have a trick up my sleeve. (And it’s not one of those super long, ridiculous scarves either- lamest trick ever!) It’s my trusty CSA!
So what’s the hype with CSA’s anyway?
First of all, what is a CSA? It stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Basically, families buy a ‘share’ directly from a farm or co-op of farmers and then every so often (typically weekly for produce) the produce is delivered to a drop site where you can pick it up. It bypasses the grocery store middle man and allows farmers to work directly with YOU!
Here are some of my favorite benefits:
1. The food is SUPER fresh!- like as in they pick it in the morning and deliver it same day. You won’t get that at your grocery store!
2. You get to meet the farmer(s) who grow your food- most farms will host visits and/or events where you can check out the farm, maybe help out, and see first hand where your food is coming from!
3. There are lots of new foods to try- and often farms will help give you ideas about ways to deliciously prepare them.
4. You save money. It’s true- it is often much cheaper to buy this way rather than from the store because there isn’t the same mark-up.
5. It’s easy! All you do is send payment to the farm and every scheduled drop you pick up your box of goodies!
Why do I think CSA’s are the best secret to eating healthy? Well, for me committing to a veggie share meant that I was going to have to figure out ways to prepare new foods and eat more produce! I don’t like to see things go to waste, so it has been a great challenge to figure out how to put everything to good use and work into my diet as a stronger staple.
Think you don’t eat enough veggies to make this work? Look around! There are lots of farms who do partial shares. Or you can find a friend to share pickups with. Alternately, there are lots of different types of CSA’s including meat, egg, herbs, fruit, etc. as well as the common veggie options. Some are even a combination of categories!
If you are interested in participating in a CSA share, I highly recommend signing up for one soon. Spots often fill up before the harvesting even begins. Check out Common Harvest for farms near you offering this delicious option.
Have you gotten a CSA before? What did you think?