Working for a company committed to using the best organic materials, it’s probably not surprising I am personally committed to eating organic vegetables. Last week I picked up my first shipment of organically grown produce purchased through Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA.
Community Supported Agriculture is available throughout the U.S. and allows small farms to pre-sell shares of their crops directly to consumers before the growing season begins. Living in Ohio, I joined the Geauga Family Farms CSA (the term CSA is used to refer to the overall principle as well as the individual farm group), a collective of small, mostly organic farms located around my area. For the particular selection I bought, everything is guaranteed organic with the exception of the blueberries, pears and apples which will appear later in the year; other options allow you to only get organic produce.
Each week, I pick up my shares of vegetables and fruits at a local greenhouse (if you’re ever in Northeast Ohio make sure you stop by Lowe’s Greenhouse who graciously offers their site for produce pickup). The shares vary week to week and reflect whatever is ripe for harvest. Last week included colorful Swiss chard, rutabaga, leaf lettuce, one of the first cucumbers of the season and other produce, all organically grown.
With a CSA I directly support farmers in my community. CSA also means vegetables and fruits that are truly ripe instead of having been picked too early to allow for cross country transport, and if. By getting only what is ready for harvest, I enjoy vegetables grown in season. I also get vegetables I might be hesitant to otherwise purchase, expanding my food range and encouraging me to try out new recipes.
If you don’t grow your own food it’s easy to feel disconnected to the farming process. Like a local farmer’s market, CSA narrows that disconnect by connecting you to the natural growing season and allowing you to interact directly with the people who grow your food.
Plus, there’s a geeky anticipation to see what veggies will grace this week’s basket. I’m working on building up that wonder in my kids. If I can get them excited about vegetables, then I’ve really scored big with CSA!