Becoming a Part of Community Supported Agriculture

I’ve always wanted to have a garden of my own. Apartment living never really allowed for that – plus I moved around a lot over the last five years. Now, that we finally own a home, the conditions aren’t exactly favorable. Our house sits atop a pretty deep ravine, so there’s little yard to work with and what yard there is to work with is too shady for a full-blown garden. So, I’ve settled for three small pots of tomatoes on the deck.

Whether or not I’ll actually get to try those tomatoes this year is still to be determined. Some sneaky raccoons keep plucking the fruits before I can get to them. Those smug little guys even leave a trail of half bitten tomatoes from the deck to the woods. But hey, we all gotta’ eat, right?

So, in searching for an alternative to growing my own garden I found myself pulling into the back parking lot of a church, right up next to the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) truck. I must have been the last of the share members to arrive because there was only one lonely bag sitting in the vast bed of the truck, flanked by two people sitting with dangling legs. One step towards them and I found my arms loaded down with what felt like 100 pounds of vegetables – I could barely handle the weight when I was handed a carton of eggs. Smiling, I thanked them and wobbled back to my car.

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When I got home, I felt like my 8-year-old self ready to sort through my treasures after a successful Halloween night. I couldn’t wait to tear open the bag and see all that was inside. How funny that I could garner the same excitement over fresh produce that I was once bubbling over with when eyeing a bulging back of KitKats, Reeses and carmel apple suckers.

Producing healthy food, from healthy soils, for healthy people. 

The CSA tagline says it all – that’s why we decided to join. Our produce now comes from nine certified-organic family farms. On a weekly basis, we can choose to add a dozen eggs, grass-fed beef, honey, maple syrup, baked goods, extra veggies, etc. It’s kind of fun not knowing exactly which vegetables are going to end up in our weekly bag. Meal planning on the fly has caused me to get a little more creative in the kitchen, experimenting with new flavor combinations.

Just look at all the fresh goodies that came in our first bag! Last week, in an attempt to use up the last of the green beans and potatoes, we discovered an amazingly simple recipe: combine red potatoes, green beans, olive tapenade, garlic, olive oil and goat cheese.

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Another perk of the CSA is the community. We’ve absolutely loved being part of a herd-share for the past few months, visiting the goats and the people who help raise them, chatting about the latest cheese we’ve made with other members of the share. In a CSA, we can develop relationships with the farmers who grow our food and learn more about how the food is grown.

Most importantly, our little family is getting the nutrients and health benefits that we might not always get from store-bought produce. I’ll let my favorite author Michael Pollan spell it out for you.

He says, “Get out of the supermarket whenever possible. What you will find are fresh whole foods picked at the peak of nutritional quality.” [1]

In a separate article, Pollan expands on this idea, describing how most supermarket produce spends a few days riding cross-country in a truck causing “the nutritional quality of any kind of produce [to] deteriorate.” [2]

This is why he recommends eating both organic and local. So, for the next few months, we’re going to give it a try. We’re going to attempt to live off of what comes from our herd-share and CSA memberships, keeping trips to the grocery store extremely limited.

Wish us luck on this latest foodie adventure!

[1] http://michaelpollan.com/articles-archive/unhappy-meals/

[2] http://michaelpollan.com/resources/sustainable-eating-nutrition/

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