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.