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Community Supported Agriculture: Fresh, Direct and Delicious

csa-585Every Thursday morning, I place a large cooler on my front porch. By Thursday afternoon, the magical produce fairies have visited the cooler, leaving an abundance of fruits and vegetables—enough to feed two hungry triathletes for a week!
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) groups, those magical produce fairies, are a great investment for health- and eco-conscious readers. Sure, you can buy produce at the grocery store—picked 2,000 miles away, trucked across the country and man-handled by dozens of customers before ending up in your cart—or you can support local farmers by purchasing fruits and veggies that were picked just hours before being delivered to your doorstep.

What Is a CSA?

Community Supported Agriculture is exactly that—crops that are “supported” or funded by consumers. When you join a CSA, your fees go toward the planting, maintenance and harvesting of a farm’s crops. In turn, you get a share of those crops. Almost all CSAs provide a weekly or monthly share of fruits and vegetables; some even have dairy, eggs and meat! My own CSA has options to add on freshly ground flour, locally roasted fair-trade coffee beans and homemade jellies as well.
CSAs are usually affiliated with small family farms, though there are a growing number of schools, non-profit organizations and halfway homes that use farming for education and rehabilitation, then sell their harvests to raise money. So, yes, the kale you’re serving up comes with a complimentary side of warm-fuzzies.
Next: Finding the Right CSA for You.

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  1. Brittany says:

    I can’t say enough about how awesome it is to have fresh produce and to know who’s growing it!
    My best tip would be to invest in a cookbook for CSAs. My favorite is From Asparagus to Zucchini. It lists produce alphabetically and then offers a handful of recipes for each. There are other books too, but I’ve found that to be hugely helpful.
    Also, in my area the weekly CSA works out to be cheaper per week but being a family of two that’s a lot of produce. We split our CSA with our friends and alternate pickup weeks.