Whether you want to support your local farmers or just simply don’t like to grocery shop, a farm share is a convenient way to get fresh produce. Otherwise known as community-supported agriculture (CSA), this is the best way to obtain the freshest seasonal food.
Here are the major reasons to become part of a CSA farm share:
What Can You Get?
Literally, anything! Farmers will bundle together the fruits and veggies weekly or bi-weekly. Some will offer other items like fresh flowers and canned goods. The most common items include milk, other dairy, eggs, meat, fruits, veggies, and honey.
Why is a Farm Share Better?
Usually food is grown within a 100-mile radius, and you know where the food comes from. In fact, most farmers welcome you to visit their farms to see how fresh their food is. Fruits and veggies also at their peak level of vitamins when they're freshly picked. Some grocery stores get their produce from farms that are less particular about the nutrients and spray harmful pesticides. If you are curious about the growing process, just ask your farmer about their form of pest-control.
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Is It Cost Effective?
When you’re purchasing items straight from your farmer, you’re skipping the middleman (the grocery store). Even if you purchase items straight from the farmer at the market, sometimes they have to pay a fee to set up. Some farmers will also offer bulk discounts, if you buy a whole pig or a bunch of fruit. You can get creative with these opportunities. Learn how to can tomatoes and pickle cucumbers or freeze strawberries and blueberries for better tasting smoothies.
What About The Community?
Joining a farm share creates a sense of community. Getting to know your farmer and where your food comes from, and gathering recipes using the newest items in your subscription. Farmers love to talk about their products and can give you tips on how to cook your produce.
PS: It Does Take A Little Planning
If each week you have to have a bundle of specific fruits and veggies, a farm share might not be for you. Sometimes you don’t know exactly what you’re going to get and during harvest, not everything is ready for picking. You’ll have to get used to cooking green beans, kale, and brussels sprouts one week and the following week you might get three completely different choices. Planning for spontaneous dinners can be loads of fun! When you get your veggies, they’re not all going to be picture perfect. You may receive a basket of beautiful heirloom tomatoes, but get a bundle of oddly shaped carrots. That’s the nature of getting items from a farm, they aren’t always the prettiest—but they’re certainly fresh.
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How To Find a Farm Share:
Visit localharvest.org to locate farms in your area that offer subscriptions. You can also talk to your favorite farmer at your local farmer’s market to see what sorts of items they offer in bulk and who they work with to distribute their food.
Here's more ways to get the most out of your CSA, farm share, or farmer's market bounty:
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Tell us in the comments: Do you belong to a farm share or CSA? What tips can you share with us about smart food shopping, cooking, and more?
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