Thursday, April 3, 2014

CSA

We joined a CSA program for the first time last year, and liked it so much we’ve joined again this year.  If you’re not familiar (I wasn’t until a few years ago), it stands for Community Supported Agriculture and is designed to help farmers and local consumers.

Basically, you (the consumer) pay for a share of produce in advance and then receive your share on a weekly basis once the growing season begins.  The benefit for you is that it’s usually far less expensive than what you would pay at the grocery store or farmer’s market, and you know where your food is coming from.  The benefits to the farmer are being guaranteed their money, having funds available at the beginning of the growing season, and sharing some of the risk.  There are no guarantees as to what or ho w much you will receive.  In a bad year everyone gets a little less.

Despite the fact that last year was considered a bad year (it rained incessantly, so some crops were ruined), having a CSA share was a really good experience for us.  We were able to sign up for a half-share, which is more than enough for two people, the pickup location was very convenient, and we both tried a few vegetables we had never had before.  We also ate a lot more vegetables than we ever had before.  The boxes varied some from week to week, depending what was in season, so there was plenty of variety.  The 
produce was organic, and was all very good quality. 

The first box was a little overwhelming, just having a lot of vegetables at once and not having a clear plan as to how to use them, but we learned to plan meals around vegetables and found some great recipes online.  We also had some great vegetable soup.  And we just ate a lot more vegetables, which was a very positive change for us.


It’s exciting to see what the box has every week, and try to guess what will be in the next box.  I also really liked that we were more conscious of eating vegetables while we were getting our box.  I’m really looking forward to this year’s share.  We should be getting our first box sometime in the next four to six weeks, and I can’t wait to see what it has.  

28 comments:

  1. We've belonged to a CSA for the past two years and have loved it!!

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  2. I would love to try something like this. There are so many amazing vegetable dishes, and maybe I am biased because I am not really a meat eater, but you can make some really flavorful things that even meat and potatoes types will love.

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    1. I grew up in a meat potatoes home, so it has taken a while, but I'm learning to make some vegetable dishes that we really enjoy. And it's fun to try new things.

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  3. I will have to look into this. Sounds like an awesome way to get some fresh produce. Used to grow our own but life is just too full right now to worry about a garden.

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    1. It's a great way to get fresh produce, especially if gardening isn't an option.

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  4. We get local organic produce delivered, and we love it. And it feels so good to be supporting local farmers!

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  5. Hi--Stopping by from the A-Z and a new follower!
    We're going to try CSA for the first time this year, and are excited about it. I never used to eat many vegetables, but then last year, I learned I am a diabetic. My diet has needed to shift to mostly protein and vegetables, few carbs. So I went through that same thing where I learned to plan my lunches and dinners around vegetables first, and then adding in a protein source. I love vegetables now.

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    1. I love being part of the CSA. I'm still working on eating more vegetables, but joining the CSA definitely helps with that. And you'll probably get to try some new ones, too. There were a few in some of our boxes last year that I'd never had before.

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  6. We have this program in Huntsville, I hope to jump on the bandwagon this year. I also want to start learning how to CAN, good way to preserve food. Good blog today!! I will be back!

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    1. You should definitely give it a try! I haven't tried canning yet, I'm not quite that brave. Thanks! :-)

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  7. It is like Christmas, only in a better way. How wonderful.

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  8. That's pretty awesome! I saw that you're from SC...we lived in SC for 9 years, and if you're in W. NC, you must not be too far away from me!

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    1. Glad to meet another South Carolina girl! :-)

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  9. Oh that's neat. I'll have to look into if we have one here! Being a vegetarian I so bet I could make that work for me :)

    Happy A to Z-ing!
    ~Anna
    herding cats & burning soup.

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    1. You should check it out! And then share some of your veggie recipes.

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  10. This is such a neat concept in being assured of organically grown vegetables. All of your positives in participating are food for thought for my sister and I who have recently acquired a 'certified organic garden' property. We will definitely be looking into CSA or something like it here in Texas. Thanks for a very informative post.
    Sue at CollectInTexas Gal

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    1. It is just nice to know where your produce came from, and not have to worry about what's on it.

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  11. Thanks for stopping by the blog earlier. That is a really neat idea. I had heard about them before but until I read your post I never really understood how it worked. It is a great way to try new things and incorporating new foods into your weekly meals.

    Sean at His and Her Hobbies

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    1. It is really simple once you find one that's a good fit for you. We really enjoyed trying new things and figuring out what to do with some of the more unusual veggies.

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  12. What a fantastic C post! We will be joining our local (as in it is 20 blocks away) organic CSA for the fifteenth year this spring. We have seen the gardeners (mostly Cambodian immigrants) English skills improve and have seen many move on from the program. Thanks for hopping by my blog today! I am very glad we connected.

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    1. Oh, wow! That's great that you've stayed with the same CSA for so long, and that they're so close to you.

      Glad to meet you! :-)

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  13. I'm not sure if we have these here; I'll have to check, but it does sound like a wonderful program and what a great way to eat more vegetables! Glad you decided to sign up for it again!

    betty

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    1. It is a good program, and we definitely ate more vegetables when we had that box coming in every week. I hope you're able to find one.

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  14. I have been wanting to try this for a few years, but I am a little nervous because we aren't huge vegetable eaters here. BUT my 3 year old does love vegetable soup so I always have that!

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    1. I'm still working on being a better vegetable eater. Joining the CSA helped, and Sheri Castle has a great cookbook "The New Southern Garden" that is very helpful in figuring out what to do with some of the vegetables.

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