Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Veggie Veggie Good

For the last 25 years, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has become an increasingly popular way for Americans to purchase fresh food directly from a local producer. The concept is based on shared risk—customers pay farmers up-front before the growing season in exchange for a weekly box of produce, fruit or meats throughout the season. In return, the farmers use the money to make sure product quality is as high as possible. It’s a win-win, for people tired of the selection at the supermarket or mega-store.

Fresh variety

Among the advantages of purchasing food through a CSA is the freshness of the products. Often produce available at chain grocery stores is grown in foreign countries and harvested  2-3 weeks prior to being placed on display for shoppers. Foods distributed through CSA are typically picked a day or two before the customer takes delivery. CSA programs typically offer a wide variety of seasonal vegetables every week, allowing participants to experience new foods and try new recipes.

While none of the farms listed below are USDA certified organic, every one of them claimed that they use only organic practices to farm their crops—many of these small operations simply don’t have the manpower or time required to keep up with the extensive documentation and paperwork required for USDA certification.

CSA programs are also an excellent community builder, bringing people together through a mutual love of healthy, fresh food. Many of the farms in the area invite CSA members to explore the grounds, meet the people who grow their food and socialize with other like-minded people in a relaxed setting.

Simple idea, huge impact

The idea is simple, but the impact on communities across the nation has been profound. Consumers have gained access to ultra-fresh, nutrient rich food and have also begun to develop relationships with the farmer who grows it. In the era of factory farming and chain grocery stores, small farms with CSA programs are making it convenient to obtain locally sourced food.

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