In an ideal world, I would go to the farmer’s market every week to buy fresh, locally sourced organic vegetables. In reality, I get very busy on the weekends so getting to the farmer’s market is more of a special trip instead of a routine. This is where Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares come in. When you buy a CSA share, you play a flat rate for the season and your local farmer supplies you with a large box of fresh veggies each week. There are farms that deliver CSA shares to your home while others have a weekly pickup location. Some CSA shares include organic eggs and/or milk. These farm products are more nutritious than their grocery store counterparts because they are picked at full ripeness and often grown in nutrient rich soil without the use of fertilizers or pesticides.
Community Supported Agriculture shares support local farmers because they are able to budget for the year and they do not have as many vegetables going to waste when they are not sold. Meanwhile, households that pay for a CSA share are able to access fresh, delicious vegetables at a wholesale price. Many CSA shares include an invitation to gatherings at the farm. This all means that buying a CSA share is a way to support your neighbors and connect with your community.
My favorite thing about having a CSA share is getting some vegetables that I have never eaten before and discovering new favorite foods. Often CSA’s will include a recipe when they supply unusual vegetables like kohlrabi, bok choy and garlic skapes. These are flavorful and nutritious vegetables that rarely appear at a supermarket and provide opportunities to try new recipes and experience new flavors.
It may seem like spring is far away but now is the time to get signed up for a CSA share because they often get filled up by the end of March. Follow the link below to find a CSA near you.
To find a CSA near you:
We do a lot of dietary counseling at Third Stone Health. I always say that the only things that never change about nutritional science are that vegetables and exercise are beneficial. A common starting place that I suggest for people who don’t need a therapeutic diet but just want to improve their overall health or lose excess weight is to try to eat 5-6 cups of vegetables per day. This is a way to create positive dietary habits that increase nutrient intake and replace processed foods with whole foods. CSA shares are a way to move towards the goal of eating more vegetables and support your community members who are growing wholesome, delicious foods.