Saturday, November 5, 2011

What is CSA?

CSA, or Community Sponsored Agriculture, is a great way to support local farmers, encourage a greater variety of local plantings, and get high-quality really fresh food for your family.

It's simple to do. For most farms, you pay for a share (up-front, so the farmer has money for seed and such) and then each week during the growing season, you pick up your portion of the farm's harvest. Some farms have a half-share option for smaller families; most farms have a swap area, so if your portion has something you don't like, you can leave it for someone who does and maybe you can pick up something you want instead. Many of the farms are organic (or headed that way.)

Friends of ours who have done this for years say it's cheaper than the grocery store in the long run, especially when compared to the price of organic produce. I'm just excited to get the really fresh food and support my local farmer.

Our farm has a winter option this year, using unheated greenhouses and certain crops. Our first week's harvest: 2 bins of potatoes (about 6.5 lbs worth), 9 fat lovely onions, 2 huge bunches of broccoli rabe, 2 bunches of Asian salad greens, and all the parsley and oregano we could cut. The salad greens were the star of dinner last night, and one of the broccoli rabe will go with some chickpeas & garlic for dinner tonight. I'm thinking potato pancakes and a fritatta later in the week for some of the potatoes. That's one big advantage of a CSA: eating seasonally. We get what is picked now, and we have to make meals based on it.

Our farm is Mendies Family Farm in Roosevelt, NJ. So far, we just love it.

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