I am in love with fresh fruits and vegetables–especially those locally grown, whether from a local farm or my grandmother’s garden. Have you noticed how different they taste from what you typically purchase in the store? Fruits and veggies lose flavor and nutrients as they travel from whatever their source of origin (California, Brazil, etc.) to your grocery store. No wonder why so many people don’t like to consume greens–what they normally purchase really does lack flavor! I notice this often when I buy strawberries or tomatoes from the supermarket.
I NEVER noticed the difference when I was eating food just to eat. I wasn’t always stuffing my face and belly to the point of overeating, but I never really noticed food. Now I do. And, as a result of this, I started looking up CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) and hope to participate in one this season. Unfortunately, one is already booked, so I’m waiting to here from another that’s a few extra miles away. Here’s how it works:
You become a member and pay a fee (ranging from about $350 for a half share to $600+ for a full share). In return, you are guaranteed a portion of whatever produce (sometimes also herbs and flowers) the farm produces each week during their growing season. You don’t get a say in what you get–it’s whatever is in season and whatever the farm grows (they typically publish or provide you with a list of what they grow).
It’s a great way to get exposed to new fruits and veggies (many farms actually provide you with recipes either through their website OR upon request). It’s also an opportunity to eat affordably, organically and locally. It supports the local economy and small business/small farms. I am looking at purchasing a half share which should provide enough produce for 1-2 people for the week (admittedly, I may still need to get some staples–like onions–at the store). It will average out to $15/week. Seriously? I spend $25+ on my weekly produce now! Because I spend so much money at the grocery store, I tend to avoid “risky” picks like some of the more exotic options out there. If I joined this CSA, here is what I’d eat:
arugula * salad greens * beets * broccoli * cabbage * carrots * cauliflower * celery * collards *cucumber * eggplant * garlic * green beans *green onions * hot peppers * kale * kohlrabi * lettuce * mustard greens * peas * potatoes * radishes * spinach * sweet peppers * swiss chard * tomatoes * turnips *fresh herbs * fresh flowers (some edible ones too!)
Other places I’ve researched also include asparagus, berries, rhubarb, mushrooms, various types of squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, yellow or red onions, brussel sprouts, corn, various types of melon and grains.
Is anyone seeing a downside to this? I certainly don’t!
To find out about a CSA near you, go here!