I try to always be on the lookout for “real food.” As a result, I decided to join a Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA farm. In a nutshell, a CSA farm is a partnership between “a farm and a community of supporters that provides a direct link between the production and consumption of food.” Or put another way, a group of people commit to buy and pay for a local farm’s crops in advance, kind of like a subscription. You can read more about CSA’s here. Every week you pick up your assortment of food you’ve ordered from the CSA at a designated location. I’ve decided to start with a small share of fruit this year and try it out. So every Tuesday I’ll have fresh fruit for my family. Our CSA is actually located in Colorado, where they have more water and a better growing season than in Wyoming.
Why have I decided to go this route? Here are some of the reasons:
- Quality – Moving from Michigan’s fruit belt to the plains of Wyoming has been an interesting food experience for me. While the quality of beef is fantastic, the produce is shall we say…less than desirable. (Pretty sure I was just spoiled most of my life, but still!) The farmer’s market season is pretty short in my town and the grocery store produce (in my own opinion) is not only of poor quality, but pricy to boot. Who wants to pay a lot of money for crappy hot-house berries with no taste? Certainly not me, if I have an alternative.
- Creativity – One of the fun things about CSAs is that what you get every week can change according to what is ready to be harvested. This has two benefits for me. 1. I’ll hopefully start eating things I wouldn’t normally think about (I can get stuck in a “food rut”). 2. I love cooking and this gives me the chance to explore new recipes and play around with new ideas. And I hope eating seasonal food will keep me more excited about cooking dinner after a long day.
- “Real Food” – I like to eat food with ingredients I can pronounce. Also, if your food is going to contain sugar, it might as well be real sugar (not chemical substitutes). Real fruit has the bonus of natural fiber to help your body process sugar more effectively. These two things put a lot of canned fruit off my list (plus it tastes funky. See #1 above.)
- Supporting the Local Economy – I believe it is important to support local businesses and my community. This is just another way to do that.
- Eating Local – There are many reasons to eat locally grown food rather than something shipped in from another hemisphere. Here are a few of those reasons.
I will post an update later on to let you know how my CSA experience is going and if I think it panned out the way I thought it would. In the meantime, what questions or thoughts do you have? Have you belonged to a CSA? What were the pros and cons for you? What other ways do you have to procure quality fresh produce? What are your ideas for cooking peaches, pears and apples? (Because I know I’ll have a lot!)