Love visiting the farmers market and getting the freshest produce of the season? Then it's definitely worthwhile to consider buying a share in a local community supported agriculture, or CSA. When you take part in a CSA, you're literally getting a share, or part, of your local farmer's crop. You can find what farm shares are available in your area at www.localharvest.org. Are you still not sure a CSA is for you? Here are five reasons a CSA could be a fabulous way to feed your family this year... or however long the farm offers the CSA!
It Supports Your Local Farms
For starters, small, local farms are all over the country, and many of them rely on the help of their community to not only survive but also thrive. Buying from them at farmer's markets is one way to support their farm, but a CSA is a sustainable form of income for the farm. Having people who have shares in their farm can also help them get financing, should they need it, to grow.
You're Getting The Freshest Seasonal Produce
Whatever kind of CSA you choose — some offer weekly, others monthly — the box of goodies is going to be packed with items that have just been harvested. That means you're getting the freshest of the freshest fruits and vegetables. That alone is reason enough to participate in a CSA. That said, there are other kinds of CSAs too — some even come with poultry and cheese, for example, and some farms work with other farms to offer you even more variety. These CSA boxes from your local farm also take the choice out of shopping. You get what you get, and you know what you'll be eating is the freshest possible. And that leads to the next reason...
It Teaches You To Get Creative With Your Cooking
Since you won't be picking what arrives in your box, don't be surprised when you receive an ingredient that you're not quite familiar with. While this can be intimidating — and some may see it as a reason not to get a CSA — it can also be a wonderful and fun learning opportunity, both for you as the cook as well as your kids. A bit of reassurance, though: If there's a vegetable you can't figure out what to do with at all, just opt for soup, which works for just about every veggie.
CSAs Save You Money
Even when you visit a grocery store or farmer's market with a list, chances are you'll veer off of and end up buying a lot more of one item than you can eat (for example, a whole basket of strawberries). CSAs can stop you from doing that as it will typically provide you a small amount of a wide variety of items. It also often averages out to less money per week than what you'd spend when you peruse the market or store.
Elizabeth SanFilippo is a freelance writer, who enjoys trying new foods from all over the world. But her favorite city for culinary treats will always be Chicago. When not blogging about food, she's working part-time at a culinary vacation company, The International Kitchen, based in the Windy City, as well as repping Younique cosmetics and skincare products. Some of her writing can be found at Examiner.com.
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