CSA = Community Supported Awesomeness

csa

My Not-So-Little Box of Sunshine

Eat Texas Published in
Bonnie Published by

I stood there frozen, hands gripping the basket, staring at rows and rows of green and orange and red, overwhelmed, lost. It happened almost every week, whether I jotted down a list or no. When I finally made it to the grocery store, there was that paralyzing moment where my mind went blank and all I thought was, “What am I going to eat this week?” If I felt adventurous and had the time, I’d wander around the produce section playing with the possibilies, but in the end, I usually bought the same ingredients I did the previous week. The list said tomatoes, so I bought tomatoes. That is, until recently, when I discovered a fresher approach to feeding: the CSA.

What is it?

Community Supported Agriculture is essentially a subscription to your local farm, in which you receice, on a weekly or bi-monthly basis, a portion of whatever fruits and veggies are grown during each season–yes, produce DOES grow in the winter, too. “Plus” shares often include goodies like eggs, jams, pickles & pestos, and some farms include freshly baked bread or locally pastured meats. Not only do you get a slice of the weekly harvest, but your subscription provides the farm with a predictable income, no matter what Mother Nature may throw at them that year.

Why bother?

Seasonal = Fresh. The veggies come out of the ground that morning, just a few miles away, not in another country two weeks ago. I’m learning how to cook what my family has now coined “real food” with vegetables that a few months ago I would have walked right past in the grocery store. My money stays in the local economy, and I love knowing my farmer. Gary Rowland knows I get excited about oddly-shaped produce, so he sends the frankenstein turnips home with me. When I ask him about an unfamiliar vegetable, he not only tells me how to cook it, but sends me home with an extra one.

How to find local CSAs near you:

localharvest.org and eatwild.com will show everything in your zip code or within a radius. Nothing near you? Check out greenling.com, a delivery service that will bring the farm to you (if you live in the Dallas, Austin or San Antonio area), or look into your local farmer’s market or farm stand. Ask around and see what you can get. I just found out that the local feed store here sells farm fresh eggs–blue, white, and brown huevos for $2.50 a dozen! And it never hurts to ask your grocer if they stock any locally grown/raised/made goods. Hopefully, when we finish the book, we’ll have specific recommendations for your area of Texas.

What if I don’t eat that much?

Many farms offer half shares, or you could find a neighbor/friend/mother-in-law that would be willing to split the box. Your farmer might have another subscriber who would be willing to split, or you could donate the extras to your local food bank.

What if I don’t know how to cook what’s it he box?

Farmers will often include recipes with your share of goodies, but if I still don’t know, I usually go online (FoodNetwork is my favorite) and type in the name of the mystery ingredient, then choose from a variety of recipes. Or just send me an e-mail, and I’ll tell you how I cook it!

5 Responses to “CSA = Community Supported Awesomeness”

  • davatron5000:

    i’m be interested joining a CSA once we move. thanks for the post.

  • Trent:

    I don’t think I can overstate how important it is to support local food in this way. We should all be willing to pay good money for good food, grown or raised the way nature intended. The work and skill farmers, butchers, ranchers, bakers…etc provide is such a beautiful part of our culture. Let’s honor that by taking part in the process as consumers who are informed & willing to pay a fair price for real food.

  • Pam:

    I cant wait to move to HSB! I’m counting down the days for that and to start getting my own little box :)

  • Laurie:

    I’m so excited to find someone else, much less someone I KNOW, interested in local harvest. I hit my local farmers’ market every Saturday without fail, and pay the premium for “free range” (overused meme, I know) meat and eggs. The first time I had lettuce with dirt on the roots I was totally hooked. Look forward to the book!

  • Michael Rice:

    My wife, Tammi, used to run an organic co-op at tour church. We have to since shut it down. Man, do I miss it.

    We still make the drive into Houston every week to get our share. We also order meat every few months from paidom.com, a Texas based farm. It’s good stuff.