Community Supported Agriculture: Organic Food

As more and more people turn to organic food, it’s important to take a step back and ask where your food comes from and how it’s obtained. Let’s start with produce, shall we?

Large grocery stores are beginning to sell more organic produce; natural and organic high-end markets such as Whole Foods Market offer a considerable selection but are oftentimes pricey. What’s an organic convert to do?

CSA’s and Farmer’s Markets, my friend…

In this two-part Organic Foods post, I will give the lowdown on CSA’s and Farmer’s Markets: what they are, what you can expect from each, and where you can find them.  For the purposes of today’s post, I will focus on Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA’s.

What they are: Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a process that connects local farmers and consumers. Consumers subscribe to a “membership” to a particular farm or group of farms that provides them weekly or monthly shipments of produce, flowers fruit, eggs and other farm products. The customer either pays an an up-front season subscription or monthly fee. The season subscription is usually slightly discounted as an incentive.  Plan your finances ahead and take advantage of that option! With a CSA you are developing a relationship with a specific farm or farms. According to Local Harvest, This mutually supportive relationship between local farmers, growers and community members helps create an economically stable farm operation in which members are ####### the highest quality produce, often at below retail prices. In return, farmers and growers are guaranteed a reliable market for a diverse selection of crops.

What to expect: Look into the specific CSA to see what the membership options are. Some provide weekly memberships with a minimum number of weeks (for example $20/week for 4 weeks minimum); others you have to commit for the whole season and pay up front. With CSA’s you get great prices on produce and oftentimes they will include recipes on what to do with the food you have been provided that week or newsletters that include information about the farm. What you don’t get to do (usually) is choose the produce you want to receive.  You might be able to choose a half fruit/half vegetable type of option but you can’t put in an order for carrots, celery and rainbow chard in this week’s delivery (like how I threw the random rainbow chard in there?). CSA seasons usually run from late spring through early fall, so now is the time to start researching your options and saving your pennies to sign up before spring arrives!

Where you can find them: Check out Local Harvest where you can do a search that specifies CSA’s near your city or zip code.