My family has had a membership at a local CSA for a few years now, and I can’t imagine summer without it.
In case you aren’t familiar with it, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Members pay a fee which supports the farm, and in return the members get weekly shares in the form of crops. Here in Maine we get shares every week from June to October. We start with baby salad greens in early summer and ending with winter squash, onions, and potatoes in the fall.
There are so many reasons we continue to join every year. If you’ve been thinking about becoming a member of a CSA but aren’t sure it’s for you, here are 5 of my reasons you should definitely join a CSA.
Yes, I’m a vegetarian, and yes, I eat lots of vegetables. But even if you’re not (and don’t), there’s something special about the veggies from a CSA.
Vegetables in the CSA share are usually harvested on the same day you pick them up. Fresh-picked, local carrots, lettuces, tomatoes…nothing can compare. If it’s organic (as our CSA is), even better.
The variety of foods is also impressive, and it pushes you to try foods you might not have considered before (kohlrabi, I’m talking to you!).
Meet your farmer
If you have a question about your food when you shop at the grocery store, who do you ask? Who would know anything about where those apples grew or how early the strawberries were picked?
When you join a CSA, you can talk to the farmer directly. You can see where your food is growing and ask about pest control or irrigation or harvest times or anything you’d like. (He might even be able to tell you how to tackle that kohrabi!)
Pick your own
This may not be the case at all CSA farms, but ours has a u-pick field with herbs, flowers, and seasonal crops like peas, cherry tomatoes, and beans. It’s fun to get hands-on with your food way before you cook it, and a great way to introduce kids to vegetables by showing them where and how they grow.
Bring home a bouquet
Did I mention the flowers? OK, I just have to say that again. The U-Pick field has rows and rows of flowers for cutting, so you can make a bouquet every week all summer. Just walking in those rows is my idea of heaven.
Save on groceries
You know how expensive it is to buy fresh produce in the grocery store. Pound for pound, it is less expensive to buy fresh, organic produce at our CSA farm. Check with your local CSA to see how their prices compare. You might be pleasantly surprised.
Do you have a CSA farm in your area? Have you ever been a member? What’s your favorite part about CSA membership?
This looks so delicious! Agree that farmers are a wealth of information. Great post!
Thanks, Linda! I have gotten so much out of my membership. We’re especially lucky to have a great farmer with a wonderful family at our CSA farm.
I tried to join an organic CSA in my area but there is a huge waiting list. I love the idea of them. I hope I can find one soon. In the meantime I shop almost every day at my local farmer’s market.
Donna, I hope you can find one, too. I know that ours fills up quickly here and there are waiting lists. I love that it’s become so popular to be a member, but it’s hard to get in! Farmer’s markets are wonderful, too! Thanks for reading.
Yes! We run a CSA in our bison business and also buy using CSAs. Great food at a great value and we get to support our neighbors.
It’s true, there’s such a great sense of community through the CSA. Our membership gives us access to shares from lots of other local farms and fishermen, too, which is amazing. I think they even have bread and cheese shares with local bakers and artisanal cheese makers. Great opportunities for everyone to grow their businesses and for us to have access to great food!