a healthy living must: summer csa

 

csa's are something you hear a lot about in the trendy world of local, organic and healthy food - but not a lot of people know what it actually means. what is a csa? why should i get involved, or buy into one? and is it really worth it? let me give you my thoughts, and i assure you, the right csa is more than worth it!
 
our first csa box of the summer - awesome! 
 
what is a csa?
csa stands for community supported agriculture - a farmer/farm offers up certain numbers of farm shares to the interested community. interested folks can purchase "shares" (think of it as a subscription, almost) of the farm and in return they will receive boxes of fresh, seasonal crops on a regular basis.
 
why should i get involved?
1) you'll get locally grown produce, super fresh pre-purchased and ready for you throughout the summer. doesn't get any better than veggies & fruits that haven't traveled hundreds of miles to get to your plate.
2) the food you'll get is so delicious - you will taste a noticeable difference between the produce you get from a csa and produce from the grocery store. everything just tastes better when it's not blasted with chemicals to keep it fresh (no loss of flavor, no loss of vitamins)!
3) you'll be supporting local farmers and your local economy, keeping hard working people in business. 
4) it's a great way to try new veggies. we often stay in the "comfort zone" when choosing veggies and fruits to bring home, especially when you pay for them in the moment. but with a csa, you pay ahead, so what you get is determined by what can be grown in season, meaning you get exposed to new things you may have never tried, considered or even heard of! variety is the spice of life, no?
5) there can be other fun perks - like getting to visit the farm (talk about an educational experience) or getting invited to a fall harvest party later in the season. getting to know more about where your food comes from can be an adventure in itself, and a great way to meet others in the community.
 
 
this is some weird veggie (pac choy) brandon and i hadn't
tried before, courtesy of our csa! 
 
 
is a csa worth it?
the right csa for you and your lifestyle is totally worth it. 
 
the first csa i bought into was crazy expensive - it took 6 girls to buy into one share for the season! it also was not a convenient system; every week we had to drive out into the country, 20 minutes to pick up our produce. produce was not pre-sorted, so we had to measure out and pack up each item we were allotted for the week. it was a pretty big pain in the butt and a large time commitment. 
 
the csa brandon and i bought into this year, on the other hand, is freaking awesome. they had multiple schedule options (weekly, bi-weekly) to buy into. they also gave us the option of picking up at their farm or at the weekly farmer's market in town (hello convenience! we love the farmer's market, two birds, one stone). they provide recipe ideas (great for those unknown veggies) and host a big end of summer party to which we get free passes. plus, the price was unbeatable; id="mce_marker"75 for a box full (1/2-3/4 bushel) of produce from july-october (4 months!). i'm so geeked about the csa this year and i'm really excited for the rest of the surprises we'll get throughout the summer!
 
things to keep in mind:
 
  • this is fresh produce, and you'll get a lot of it. make sure you're prepared to use it so your food doesn't go bad! plan out some ideas ahead of time and be flexible in getting creative with your meals.
  • every csa is different: different fees, membership programs, crops, etc. really shop around to find a csa that excites you and will work with your schedule. if you don't think you can commit to a weekly pick up at a farm 15 minutes away - find another csa! 
  • all this produce takes up space in the fridge. plan accordingly :) 
 
i love taking part in a csa. i love supporting local farmers and helping our environment by buying locally produced foods. buying into a csa is one small thing i can do each year to support my desire to be a healthier person on the inside (better produce for my body) and on the outside (feeling good by helping the community around me). my advice to everyone is to explore the option of a csa in your area - you never know what you may find and just how much you may enjoy it!
 
here's to a summer full of awesome veggies,
 
alicia

-- AC

I'm Changing My Habits, for Good: www.inhealthyhabitswetrust.com

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