Hey guys! Happy What About Wednesday!
Quick update on the Whole30 front: we are on Day 8 and I’m feeling really good! I have tons of energy, barely any bloating, I’m not having crazy sugar cravings, and I’m not getting bored of any foods. Aka it’s going WAY better than my last time around. Keep up to date with my day-to-day happenings on my FB, Insta, or Twitter and remember to use the hashtag #GoingWholewithHeather!
So my CSA started last week and I’m super pumped for fresh, local produce every week from my local farmer! Shout out Blooming Glen Farm! With that said, I thought it would be a good idea to talk CSAs in this week’s What About Wednesday. You’ve probably heard the term “CSA” thrown around amongst your local-food-loving-farm-to-table-obsessed-hippie friends. But what exactly is community supported agriculture? Let’s get to it!
WHAT IS CSA?
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. It’s a super easy way for consumers like us to buy local, seasonal produce directly from our farmers. CSAs are an awesome way to support your local farmers, get fresh produce, and (my favorite perk) allow yourself to experiment with fruits and vegetables that you might not normally buy. Like kohlrabi. Kohl-whaaaaaaa?!
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Here’s the low down: each season a farmer offers a certain number of “shares” to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of fruits and veggies, but other products may be included depending on the farm. Consumers purchase a share (aka a membership or subscription) and in return receive an assortment of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.
Most CSAs run from May or June until October or November – that’s 24 weeks (or 6 months)! Some farms even offer fall or winter CSA programs. You can purchase either a full share (weekly pick-up) or half share (biweekly pick-up).
WHAT DOES IT COST?
CSA members pay for an entire season of produce upfront. Prices will vary depending on where you live, but most CSAs base their fee structure on the size of the share that you select (full vs. half) and the amount of produce in the share.
Full shares will typically run you about $600-800. This might seem like a lot of money to pay upfront, but if you break it down it’s only about $30 per week. Half shares usually cost about $400. This early bulk payment allows your farmer to plan ahead for the season, purchase new seeds, make equipment repairs, and much more.
Just think – the average produce at supermarkets travels about 1500 miles. With traditionally bought produce you’re mostly paying for packaging, shipping, and marketing. But if you buy local, your money goes solely toward producing high quality fruits & veggies. Plus, you’ll get to know your farmers and see where your food is really coming from. Sounds like a better bang for your buck if you ask me!
WHY JOIN A CSA?
- Buy Local // Cut down on the number of miles your food travels from the farm to your plate.
- Experiment // Explore new foods and learn to cook with them.
- Eat Healthy // Eat more vegetables and fruit and share healthy eating habits with your kids.
- Go Green // Help farmers take care of their land and preserve the soil.
Did you know that only 2% of Americans actually PRODUCE food in this day and age? The other 98% of us are completely separated from the source of our food. It’s so sad! Our great-great grandmothers would be shaking their heads #SMH. Luckily, CSA programs are a solution for us to start fixing this sad situation. Participating in a CSA helps us as consumers better understand where our food comes from and how the food on our plates came to be. Joining a CSA is also an opportunity to get to know your community, your farmers, and your land.
WHAT WILL I GET?
The variety of a share really depends on the farm that you choose to join. My CSA provides fruits, veggies, pick-your-own herbs, pick-your-own flowers, and pick-your-own fruits & veggies which change weekly. I love how interactive my CSA is – it’s not just going and picking up a pre-made box of produce. They make it fun and interactive, which is great for kids (and adults)! But every CSA and every farm is different! Some may offer additional egg, meat, dairy or bread shares provided by other local farms. And some CSA’s might even have local honey, cheeses, coffee, preserved products, or pickled goods available for purchase.
Here is an example of what one weeks worth of produce from a CSA looks like:
HOW DO I GET STARTED?
Ask around! You more than likely have friends, co-workers, gym buddies or a random stranger at Trader Joe’s who know a thing or two about local farms in your area that offer CSA programs or sell their produce at Farmers Markets. If not, you can easily find a CSA near you by clicking the link!
What are you waiting for?? Get out there and meet your farmers!
Do you belong to a CSA?
Have you ever gotten a mysterious fruit or veggie in your share? What was it?!