It’s true-the best organic food is the food that is grown closest to you
I am finally reading a book that I have wanted to read for years-The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan. As I read it I am continually reminded that we, as a culture, have lost sight of where our food comes from. We live in a country where the supermarkets neatly package our food and the foods we buy are ready for immediate consumption. Most food travels far to reach us- from another state or another country. At the market there is no visible connection to the earth that grew our potatoes or the tree that gave us our apple. The grocery store knows no seasons-you can buy tomatoes in May although they were grown in August and watermelon throughout the year. There are many times that I am grateful for the year round availability of produce, but the need to reconnect with the land and participate directly in food production still lingers. So what’s a gal to do?
My Own Attempt at Gardening
For years I have been trying to carve out a small patch of earth to grow a garden. My hope is to provide my children with some sense of where their food comes from. I tried several spots in our yard but none were hit with enough sunlight for anything but weeds to grow. I finally settled on an unsightly spot in our front yard that allows for a few small tomato and bean plants to grow. This year I decided to support a local company, Growing for Good, to help me set up my garden. The owner, Meighan Matthews, did a fabulous job planting tomatoes, beans and cilantro in our small garden patch. My kids are having a wonderful time watching for ripe tomatoes or beans and collecting them for dinner. We are enjoying the fresh vegetables so much, so we decided to join a CSA.
What is a CSA?
Community-Supported or Community-Shared Agriculture (CSA) is also known as “subscription farming.” You buy a subscription from a local farmer and you receive a “share” of fresh, locally grown or raised fruit and/or vegetables. Some farmers also offer CSA subscriptions for farm-fresh eggs, and/or meats. If the farm is close by you can pick up your share at the farm. Most often the CSA sets up convenient pick-up locations in and around the area you live. Our CSA is not close – we are very fortunate to have a neighbor who organized a pick-up location at her house.
CSA’s are a win- win for both the farmer and the consumer. The arrangement cuts out the costly middle-man, leaving the consumer and farmer to deal directly with one another. The farmer receives payment early in the season which helps with the farmer’s cash flow. The farmer knows who is eating his/her food and the consumer knows where it is coming from. Joining a CSA allows people to reconnect with their food while eating seasonal, fresh, organic food that comes from a local farm. When unknown fruits and vegetables show up in our share we use it as an excuse to try new foods and new ways of cooking. The share is huge-providing food for several meals during the week. I still head to the grocery store to supplement, but I don’t buy as much as I normally would.
Our CSA, Heavens Harvest, is wonderful. They have established a reciprocal buying relationship with a number of other farms which enables them to provide a farm share option year round. In addition to a vegetable and fruit share they also offer fresh eggs and cut flower shares.
How to find a local CSA
If you would like to find a local CSA in your neck of the woods take a look at LocalHarvest
You can also visit your local farmers market for fresh, locally grown produce.
Where do your fruits and vegetables come from? Tell me all about it……