Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. How? A farmer offers a certain number of “shares” to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (aka a “membership” or a “subscription”) and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.
Tens of thousands of families nationwide have joined CSAs, and in some areas there is more demand than there are CSA farms to fill it. The government does not track CSAs, so there is no official count of how many CSAs there are in the U.S.. Local Harvest has the most comprehensive directory of CSA farms, with over 2,500 listed in their grassroots database.
What are the advantages of buying from a CSA?
What you like about CSAs
You’ll eat more vegetables, which we know is a healthy choice.
Your cooking will get more creative, which can’t be a bad idea. Can it?
You’ll eat organic, local food, and you’ll save money.
What you might dislike about CSAs
You lose your freedom of choice. You might not get to pick what vegetables are placed in your share each week. Each farm is different. Find out from the CSA you are considering just what to expect as far as choice goes.
You’re going to get some bugs. The produce is organic and bugs know good food when they taste it. Washing produce before use is always a good idea, no matter what kind of produce you buy.
I did a search using the zip code 95816 for local CSA Farms through the Local Harvest web site and eleven possibilities came up. The CSA farms were located in Dixon, Guinda, Capay, West Sacramento, Fair Oaks, Davis, Arbuckle, and Woodland. Information on these farms is listed on this link. If you live out side the Sacramento area there is a nice little search field on the Local Harvest site that you can use to look for farms close to you. Remember, it’s all about buying fresh from your local farmers.
As I stated in my previous post, going to the Farmers Market is my first choice when shopping for fresh produce. But, if shopping at Farmers Markets just isn’t fitting into your busy schedule, I definitely think that CSAs can provide you with a terrific opportunity to include really fresh, healthy produce in your diet. You’ll just have to lift it from it’s delivery box.
Eat healthy and support local farmers. It’s good for the local economy and it’s good for you.