What a wonderful Saturday. It started out gloomy with a cloudy sky and on and off rain and now it is bright and sunny. Not sure what the temperature is, but warm enough for me just to wear a pair of leggins a long sweater. I’ll take it!
Matt and I also signed up for our first CSA woot woot!!!
A CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Basically a farm will offer ‘shares’ to the general public for purchase. A share often consists of a box of vegetables and sometimes other goods such as local honey, cheese, bread, etc. This can also be viewed as a membership to the farm where you get first dibs of produce. Each CSA varies in how it is run. Some give you a set share each week, with substitutions or no substitutions depending on the farm. Last summer when I volunteered with the Columbia Heights Farmers Market, I often saw people picking up their shares from a specific vendor. All they would have to do was go to the farmer/vendor and then would be given a basket full of fruits, vegetables and whatever else came with their share. It looked so cool, and I knew I definitely wanted to be a part of it this coming summer. The crazy thing is that many of them are already booked! CSA’s are huge in DC (one of the many reasons I love this city!). Gratefully we did find some with openings and Matt and I signed up for the CSA with Bending Bridge Farm.
This CSA is a little bit different than others. Instead of getting a fixed amount and types of vegetables each week we can choose our own. They even have a web-store where you can choose before you go. This is such a great idea! I also love that our pick-up location is right near the Whole Foods that we shop at. So after we pick up our local products, we can swing by Whole Foods and pick up our extra ingredients. The other main thing that appealed to us is that we can skip weeks. In other words we are not responsible for each week and or lose out if we miss a week. This is a huge factor as we already know that there are 3 weeks that we are not going to be around. If anyone knows me, I absolutely hate wasting food. My major pet peeve. So Matt and I started off with putting $250 into our account, and the only stipulation is that we spend at least $20 each week. That will definitely not be a problem! We LOVE our fruits & veggies! Our first CSA pickup starts March 11th. Can’t wait! I will definitely be writing a post on our first CSA share.
With all this said you are probably thinking ‘What is the point of joining a CSA?”.
There are many benefits to the farmer and consumer of joining a CSA.
Benefits to the Farmer
- Helps them to market their food early in the year
- Farmers receive payments early in the year which helps them to purchase the equipment they need
- They get to know their consumer
Benefits to the Consumer
- Get super fresh products
- Get local products
- Be more inclined to try new fruits and or vegetables
- Knowing that you are directly helping local local economy
This leads me to my next point of the Benefits of Local Food
- More Nutrients
- The less time that food passes between the farm and the consumer, the fewer nutrients it will lose.
- Many vitamins and minerals are heat, light and pH sensitive. Fruits and vegetables are exposed to excessive heat, light and pH when in the truck traveling hundreds and thousands of miles, in the ware house, and sitting on the shelves of grocery stores
- Local Fruits & Veggies are picked at their peak freshness, which makes them contain more nutrients
- Last Longer
- Local Fruits & Veggies are picked more recently, which means you will have more time until they become moldy/smelly!
- Local foods are often safer because local farmers take pride in their foods and do not use harmful substances such as:
- Antibiotics are used to prevent sickness in animals. This can be harmful in humans as it encourages bacteria resistant pathogens.
- Recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH)
- Taste (the most important part!!)
- Local crops are picked at their peak of freshness
- Farm made products, such as cheeses and jams are hand-crafted for the best flavor
- Food traveling hundreds (or even thousands) of miles is older, has been stored in warehouses, super market shelves and traveled on planes/trains and cars before getting into your mouth
Sorry for all the text in this post, I’m just so excited!
There is something that the CSA share can’t help to make…
Check out this site from Local Harvest to find farmers market’s and CSA’s close to you.