I have been completely MIA on this blog. I have had a record breaking amount of sad, no good, terrible, rotten stuff happen over the past 6 months or so. Nothing I wish to write about in detail, but maybe some of it some day. That being said, I just downloaded my pictures from my phone. Looking back at the last couple months, I still have SO MUCH to be SO GRATEFUL for in my life. My beautiful boys are top of that list. Great family and close friends are there on top, too. Having just run into some friends at a party, I was reminded that people actually like this little blog. I think it is a combination of people who are actually interested and people who like ammunition to poke fun. All and any type of fun is welcomed by me.
So having just had the RARE chance to spend the day solo with my just turned eight year old, I realized how flipping awesome it is to be part of a CSA. So flipping awesome I want to share the secret!
What is a CSA? CSA stands for community supported agriculture. CSAs or “farm shares” are all over the country, and gaining popularity as people get smart about the shenanigans going on with our food supply. We joined our CSA eight years ago. At the time, I was so excited because it was very hard to become a member at our farm. A friend moved, and we bought out her share. Fast forward, there now are at least four other organic or transitional farms that I know of in our small area. I love when that law of supply and demand kicks in for common good. Quality food for all!
Let me just tell you, for our family quality food is not the only good that comes out of the farm. Let me count just SOME of the reasons CSAs totally rock. I feel like I get way more than I give. Here are my top ten:
- Local food in season is fresher. It hasn’t been flown, shipped, or transported great distances. (Food hasn’t sat on cargo bins in extreme temperatures waiting to be consumed for long.)
- Because food grown locally is fresher, it has a higher nutritional content.
- CSAs are outdoors, forcing us busy Americans to get some good, ole fashioned time in NATURE.
- Kids make great memories picking veggies, fruit, herbs, and flowers.
- Kids play with friends while contributing to their family dinners.
- Kids learn. Not only do they learn the different types of plants, they learn how a farm works, the ideas of distribution, supply, etc.
- A fresh supply of seasonal fruits and vegetables allows for a healthy varied diet.
- A variety of vegetables leads to amazing new flavors.
- Kids love to help cook veggies they pick (Unpaid help in the kitchen!) and eat veggies they pick. (No tears over food!)
- There is usually an abundance of high quality food, which forces creativity to use it all. Juices, new recipes, and preserving are just a few of the things that can be done with the overflow.
CSAs are very affordable in comparison to what is paid for food in a grocery store. There is no middleman. The food is directly from the source. Try to find a local CSA. When doing so, always try to ask questions about how the food is grown. Our farm is certified organic, but years back certain crops were transitional. Fields need a minimum amount of years without the use of any chemicals to be certified organic. “Transitional” is the label given to the field as it cleanses its soil of toxins. Other questions to ask may be about the crops gown. Does the farm grow strictly veggies? Is there a fruit share available? Are there flowers? Herbs?
Some farms may not be labeled organic, but vegetables may be just as pure. Organic certifications are very expensive, so some farmers just opt out. The organic certifications are out there for “quality assurance”. I personally think it is backwards to have to pay extra for food without chemicals. But in reality, there is a bigger risk for the farmer to grow organic food. Crops have a greater chance of failing from insects or fungi when not treated with chemicals. So farmers may need to charge slightly more to make up for the potential loss of a income from a crop. In my humble opinion, that is a small price to pay for not having neurotoxins cover my family’s food. Here are some veggies with round up loves, enjoy! NO thank you.
Living in urban areas does not mean all hope is lost. Many CSAs deliver shares, or have alternate pick up locations. Explore all options. Some members of our farm pick up from other locations, but still come to the farm to take advantage of “pick your own crops”. These crops are separate from the fresh, already picked, ready to eat each week crops available in the farm stand.
Looking back on the years at the farm, I get choked up with great memories. Memories of taking both my boys, week after week. Memories of our red wagon toting not only our veggies, but my kids too. Memories of picking green beans at nine moths pregnant, along with two 9 month pregnant friends, doing the same. Memories of my children running through fields of flowers. Memories of eating picnic lunches after picking. I could go on and on…but I am going to end with something for a “to do list” JOIN A CSA.