Earlier this year I applied to buy a half share of vegetables and a half share of fruit from a local CSA (Community Support Agriculture). This came about after learning a lot about sustainability via my dear friend Sam Schwartz. Just last week I signed up for a couple dry shares too. For $12 total, I will receive one pound of various beans every month until November.CSA’s are in such demand that often newcomers are put on waitlist or have to participate in one in a different neighborhood. That is what I had to do.
What is a CSA? Why should one be interested in such things?
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. At the beginning of the season, participants pay in full or in increments to receive a share from a local farm. The CSA that I participate in receives it’s food from a farm less than 80 miles away. Why does this matter? It matters to me because in trying to be an eco-conscious eater, it means I have to be aware of maintaining a low carbon diet.
Because I purchased a half share, I pick up my fruits and vegetables every two weeks. To some people, CSA’s seem like an expensive route to go. But if you take into account that my half share amounted to $200 and last me until November, you’d realize I am saving LOTS of money.
Not only am I saving money but my food is local, organic, fresh and in season. I know where my food comes from. It was picked straight from the ground, dirt and all and it was driven 80 miles for me to pick up. Does your food come from the ground or from a box full of chemicals and fake taste? Just saying.
A few of the benefits that I enjoy involve receiving EXTRA fresh food. Sometimes the lettuce is still “milking” and if you think you know what garlic taste like, you NEED to try it when it has JUST been picked. It is very different. I have become exposed to new types of vegetables. I had never heard of Squash Blossoms among many other things. I appreciate that my CSA have little sheets available each week that tell you about the various foods, explain how to store them an provie a few recipes. Sometimes there is even a chef on hand to show you how to prepare the foods. I’m not sure if its the case for all CSA’s but my CSA requires that you volunteer a few times to help distribute the food to the members as they pick it up each week. Over time I have gotten to know a few people who I woul have never known which is great since I’m new to New York.
To find out if there is a CSA near you, try Local Harvest. That is how I found mine.
The first time I volunteered at the distribution tent in the park, it was the most rainy day of the year and I came unprepared. I had on cute flip flops, a short sleeve shirt and a skirt. The tent leaked and the sign in sheet was soaked. It was also cold and after awhile I could not feel my toes or fingers. BUT, there was something so natural about it all. All the food was lined up, some still with dirt on it from the ground and the flavors were traveling all over the place. The rain, while cold was pleasant and added to this earthy ambiance that was going on.
The way I eat has evolved over time. My awareness has increased since becoming the “green advocate” at work and living a sustainable life from what I eat to what I purchase to how long I shower. Previous writings can be found in the links below. The photos below are all from my CSA shares.
Who knew that zucchini was also round?
Random tidbit. All the photos this week were taken by yours truly.