Happy summer!! One of my favorite things about summer starts next week! For the past few years, my family and I have purchased a share through a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). For anyone who knows my family, next week kicks off a glorious season that stretches well into fall. There are so many reasons to join a CSA.
Our journey started four years ago when I stumbled upon the opportunity to join a CSA through the farm around the corner from my house. They were starting their inaugural year of offering a CSA and the idea of supporting my local farm and getting fresh produce was very appealing. That summer, we enjoyed receiving not only our favorite produce items but also having the opportunity to try new vegetables and recipes. The farmers were very generous about sharing recipes and cooking tips and we became experts at freezing items to stretch the fruits of the farmers’ labor through the winter.
The next year, we were geared up to rejoin but that particular farm decided that the CSA life was not for them. I still loved getting their sweet corn but knew we wanted to belong to a CSA. We discovered another farm less than 15 minutes away that has offered a CSA for years and has the process down to a science. This farm has a team of volunteers, in addition to the farmers, that share so many ideas and knowledge. There’s a camaraderie that has formed among the members and it is wonderful to see people bring their children to be a part of the process.
Each week, the farmers and volunteers set up stations in the barn with a variety of vegetables and herbs to choose. They share how much each family can take while also allowing some choice. The first couple years, we had specific items we could take which allowed us to try everything. However, the summer that kale was trendy was also the summer that we discovered that it was really not our thing. It’s nice to be able to leave those items for others to appreciate while doubling up on the items that our family will enjoy. The farm also offers a “You Pick” option for items that are harder for the farmers to harvest (i.e., green beans and cherry tomatoes). Going to pick up our produce is a fun experience; it’s great to see people young and old, side-by-side laughing and enjoying the height of summer.
You might be wondering about the size of the share or the expense. I’ve found my farm to be very receptive to accommodating different sizes to appeal to a variety of budgets and families. They offer full shares and personal shares, weekly and bi-weekly. I split a share with my family and that may be an option that you could consider with family, neighbors, or friends. We’ve only done vegetable CSAs but there seem to be lots of options locally for meat and dairy CSAs as well. I am curious if anyone out there has experience with those. The farm also offers pickup flexibility by offering multiple pickup days. We participate in the main season which, at this farm, lasts 20 weeks. Initially, the cost might seem like a lot but, divided over 20 weeks between two households, it is actually very reasonable. We also find that we really enjoy it which I think is key.
Whether you find a CSA or a Farmers Market you enjoy or visiting a farm-to-table restaurant is more your thing, I hope you soak up all that the season has to offer.
Love it. Live it. Share it.