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Tue Mar 25, 2014, 08:46 AM

Want to support local (and often family) farms? Want to eat healthy? Think about joining a CSA.

I often hear people decry the loss of the local family farms to big agra. Well, if you're serious about doing something about that I have a possible solution for you AND your local farms: CSAs. CSA stands for Community-Supported Agriculture. Here's the rundown:

A farmer offers a certain number of "shares" to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables and/or fruits, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a subscription and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.

I signed up with a local family farm that is certified organic. A few days before delivery, I e-mail in my order. The produce is delivered to a central location (some of them will deliver them straight to your house). The box contains fresh, ripe, LOCAL, organic veggies and fruits. When I pick up my produce, I hand in last-week's empty box which gets used again and again. So, the food has traveled less than 15 miles, I've used no plastic bags, I've used no more gas going to pick up my box than I use going to the grocery store, I'm supporting a LOCAL organic farmer and I get good, LOCALLY-GROWN produce. I'm eating healthy and being environmentally responsible all at the same time. AND, the farmer has a guaranteed stream of steady income. If you're interested, you can go to the website below, enter in your zip code and find CSA's in your area. If you're serious about wanting to save local farms, this is one way you can do it.


http://www.localharvest.org/


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Reply Want to support local (and often family) farms? Want to eat healthy? Think about joining a CSA. (Original post)
Le Taz Hot Mar 2014 OP
badtoworse Mar 2014 #1
Le Taz Hot Mar 2014 #3
JNelson6563 Mar 2014 #2
Le Taz Hot Mar 2014 #4
JNelson6563 Mar 2014 #6
Berlum Mar 2014 #12
Bluenorthwest Mar 2014 #14
mucifer Mar 2014 #5
Le Taz Hot Mar 2014 #9
Gormy Cuss Mar 2014 #7
Le Taz Hot Mar 2014 #10
mopinko Mar 2014 #16
Gormy Cuss Mar 2014 #28
LuvNewcastle Mar 2014 #8
Le Taz Hot Mar 2014 #11
LuvNewcastle Mar 2014 #15
Tree-Hugger Mar 2014 #13
SQUEE Mar 2014 #17
Le Taz Hot Mar 2014 #18
SQUEE Mar 2014 #21
geardaddy Mar 2014 #19
RC Mar 2014 #20
GoneOffShore Mar 2014 #22
albino65 Mar 2014 #23
byronius Mar 2014 #24
tea and oranges Mar 2014 #25
vlakitti Mar 2014 #26
Tracer Mar 2014 #27
mucifer Mar 2014 #31
Recursion Mar 2014 #29
onestepforward Mar 2014 #30
Brother Buzz Mar 2014 #32
Vincardog Mar 2014 #33

Response to Le Taz Hot (Original post)

Tue Mar 25, 2014, 09:05 AM

1. Looks likes there are several near us. I'll look into it.

 

Thanks for the tip.

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Response to badtoworse (Reply #1)

Tue Mar 25, 2014, 09:22 AM

3. Happy to help.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Original post)

Tue Mar 25, 2014, 09:18 AM

2. Great post!

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Response to JNelson6563 (Reply #2)

Tue Mar 25, 2014, 09:25 AM

4. Thanks, JN.

It's been a boon to us in several ways, not the least of which is it's making us eat lots more fresh fruits and vegetables. The asparagus I've been getting the last few weeks is to die for. SMALL stocks so there's less waste and VERY tender. There's a HUGE difference in taste when it's picked at the height of ripe.

And thanks for the K & R.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Reply #4)

Tue Mar 25, 2014, 09:33 AM

6. I think many don't realize

how much more nutritious fresh produce is over that which is several days old(er). I am very fortunate to live in an area with lots of agriculture, smaller farms. Booming farmer's market and a community that strongly supports buying local. Many of our grocery stores buy from local farmers and put up signs telling customers which local farm the items are from.

This idea though, that you post, is so awesome for those who do't live in a place like I do! This could be an excellent answer to some our nutrition woes.

Back atcha!

Julie

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Response to JNelson6563 (Reply #6)

Tue Mar 25, 2014, 09:47 AM

12. You also will know whether the food is clean, or has GMO

Information that is otherwise occulted by Big Food, Inc. (R)

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Response to JNelson6563 (Reply #6)

Tue Mar 25, 2014, 09:57 AM

14. I live in a place exactly like that, but by using a CSA I am supporting the

 

farmers of my choice in addition to getting great produce, I am also giving funds upfront in a business that is all about upfront costs and delayed returns. We have multiple farmer's markets, thriving farm stands and local markets full of local produce. The CSA programs help to support all that thriving and marketing and local shelf stocking.....

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Original post)

Tue Mar 25, 2014, 09:27 AM

5. I just joined one. I'm very excited.

I went from vegetarian to vegan a few months ago and joined a CSA this year. I'm excited. It's local and organic. There are several here in Chicago and the pick up place is two blocks from my home.

Much of what I eat is not local. I probably will continue to have bananas in my daily smoothie. But, much more of my food will be local now.

For a box of veggies every other week it costs $380 for the 20 week season if you consider it's all local and organic, that's not bad.

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Response to mucifer (Reply #5)

Tue Mar 25, 2014, 09:37 AM

9. I'm finding all kinds of new recipes

(and making up several of my own) since joining a CSA. Yesterday I sautéed some rainbow swisschard, mushrooms, garlic and sun-dried tomatoes in a little olive oil and put it in a quesadilla along with a little cheese. It was out-of-this-world delicious.

My shares (10 each week) is $114.00 a month for local organic produce which I think is an excellent price. Luckily, I'm in the Central San Joaquin Valley and our growing season is year-round. Different seasonal crops, of course, but the deliveries don't stop in the winter as we have no hard freezes here.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Original post)

Tue Mar 25, 2014, 09:34 AM

7. Some CSAs sell locally produced meat or locally caught seafood too.

The common thread is local, family or other small scale production.

The one caution about CSAs is that you'll enjoy the selection more if you already eat a wide variety of vegetables and fruit OR if you are willing to try new food. I was in a CSA 15 years ago and was introduced to pea shoots that way, for example.

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Response to Gormy Cuss (Reply #7)

Tue Mar 25, 2014, 09:41 AM

10. Our area has a lot of Southeast Asian families

(mostly Hmong and Vietnamese) who have bought some of our local family farms and are continuing the tradition. They've introduced numerous varieties of fruits/vegetables to the area. So much so that our non-southeast Asian farmers have begun growing things that were introduced and have become popular. I LOVE trying new foods. Last week I bought some Japanese sweet potatoes at one of our local farmers markets. They're smaller and milder than a regular sweet potato but good goddess were they good!

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Reply #10)

Tue Mar 25, 2014, 10:02 AM

16. i wonder if they grow faster.

season is barely long enough here for them, and this will be a cold spring. hmmm

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Reply #10)

Tue Mar 25, 2014, 12:18 PM

28. The CSA that I joined on the East Coast supported Hmong immigrants.

All of the field workers were older immigrant Hmong women who had farmed at home. None spoke English and thus had a hard time finding work. The farm gave them the opportunity to earn a living and a sense of connection with their old way of living. The farm managers, all experienced American farmers, learned a lot about new crops from these women. The pea shoots, for example. The Americans were growing peas, the Hmong women knew that there were two crops on those plants.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Original post)

Tue Mar 25, 2014, 09:34 AM

8. I didn't find a deal like yours around here, but I did find

out about a big farmer's market in a neighboring town that I didn't know about. I'm going to check it out Saturday morning. Thanks for the post!

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Response to LuvNewcastle (Reply #8)

Tue Mar 25, 2014, 09:45 AM

11. Farmer's markets are an excellent alternative.

You're still supporting local agriculture and that's the whole idea. I also shop at our local farmer's markets because the farmer I trade with doesn't grow everything. I bought some fresh organic strawberries last Saturday that I think lasted a whole two hours.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Reply #11)

Tue Mar 25, 2014, 09:59 AM

15. Lol, fresh strawberries don't last long around here, either.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Original post)

Tue Mar 25, 2014, 09:53 AM

13. Our local organic farm is also a non-profit

They offer CSA to the general public and they also accept donations to help fund their Farm Share program, which allows low income families the opportunity to get CSA at a reduced price (which they can pay in installments using SNAP).

I can't link at the moment, but I want to give a shout out since they have helped my family so much, in addition to other low income families. The organization is called Greener Partners - they run a few farms in the Philadelphia suburbs.

I do believe this local farm also offers an egg CSA as well as poultry. I know some farms have meat shares, bread, dairy, and even flower shares (in fact, mine occasionally includes flowers in their CSA).

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Original post)

Tue Mar 25, 2014, 10:06 AM

17. I belong to two, am considering a third this year.

The variety and freshness has led me to a much more varied and interesting menu as well.
I had no idea what to do with a chard or bok choi, but one of the growers has it so I went out and found recipes.
I love the variety of squash, and have also discovered how many veggies you can flame grill, grilled Okra and asparagus.. mmm
All because of my local CSA.
We have also gotten in to canning and drying, there is so much for such a cheap price that I often can't use it all in a week.

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Response to SQUEE (Reply #17)

Tue Mar 25, 2014, 10:13 AM

18. Oh, I LIVE to can!

As a matter of fact, I'm pitching 3 different canning classes today at our local adult school. I actually pitched them a couple of weeks ago but I finally got around to putting everything on paper. I think (or hope) there will be an interest.

But back to canning. I negotiate with our local farms for "seconds," that is, produce that isn't pretty to look at and is harder to sell but still has the same great taste. They give me great prices on bulk purchases.

Btw, I highly recommend a book called "Ball Blue book guide to preserving." It's amazing the things you find that you can can. One of my favorites is making and canning my own beef, veggie and poultry stocks. If you look at the commercial brands, virtually all of them contain high-fructose corn syrup. For the life of my I can't figure out why HFC needs to be in a stock but there it is.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Reply #18)

Tue Mar 25, 2014, 10:30 AM

21. I have also expanded into curing meats and corning.

I just corned a deer brisket last month, and made an incredible pastrami, in tandem with my girlfriends purple cabbage kraut, which she got from our CSA shares last year, made some of the best Ruebens we have ever had.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Original post)

Tue Mar 25, 2014, 10:17 AM

19. We love our CSA

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Original post)

Tue Mar 25, 2014, 10:22 AM

20. We do every year.

 

This year, it is Schenker Family Farms, McCune, Kansas

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Original post)

Tue Mar 25, 2014, 10:49 AM

22. Thank you for posting this. We host a CSA in Philadelphia.

The farmer we deal with has several drops throughout the city.

We've been dealing with this farmer for 4 years and he produces excellent vegetables. One can also order eggs and yogurt from him.

Prices for the season are excellent -

http://www.wimersorganics.com/home.php

The website gives the drop off points.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Original post)

Tue Mar 25, 2014, 10:50 AM

23. Great Post

 

We luckily live in an area that has several CSA'a, three farmers' markets and a place called "Local Roots" which is a cooperative that showcases local produce, grass fed beef, free range chickens, eggs, and dairy from grass fed cows. Many of the farmers here have been growing heirloom vegetables, and most are spray-free. We have a large Amish population and get home made items from them. Ironically, Amish produce isn't necessarily organically grown, with many spraying more than other farmers. There are still some who use organic methods, and they get our business.

If you have these types of organizations in your area, please support them. If they have enough business, they will stay in business.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Original post)

Tue Mar 25, 2014, 10:58 AM

24. Awesome link. I'm going to do this. Thanks.

Good lord, I live in CSA paradise. Why haven't I done this before?

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Original post)

Tue Mar 25, 2014, 11:27 AM

25. Thanks for Posting

Haven't done CSA in about 9 years. But b/c of your reminder, LTZ, of how much good it can do farmer, community, & consumer, will try again.

I don't mean to discourage anyone. Here, in Seattle, we've had rotten luck. Carrots starting off in spring sweet & tender, but by summer's end - woody & hard. Green beans so overgrown the only recipe for them was Stock or Compost.

Will carefully check our current CSA choices & look for reviews. It's great in theory. We're willing to hold up our end - paying, cooking, eating, we just need a farmer willing to hold up theirs.

If anyone knows of a responsible CSA in Seattle, please pm me!

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Original post)

Tue Mar 25, 2014, 11:45 AM

26. Michael Pollan's books

on eating and nutrition issues woke us up.

Now we belong to the Full Belly Farm CSA, up near Sacramento, to which in turn Mr. Pollan also belongs.

CSAs offer a fine and mind-opening experience.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Original post)

Tue Mar 25, 2014, 12:06 PM

27. We joined a CSA and it was good ....... BUT!!

Our CSA was at a farm in our town and we joined with two other families -- to split the cost and share the veggies.

At first it was like getting a birthday present every week! But after a couple of months, even with splitting up the produce with the other two families, we just couldn't keep up with the amount of food.

Could two people eat the 6 heads of lettuce in the fridge before the next batch arrived? No.

How many carrots per week can you eat before turning orange?

Kale. There was a cartoon I saw that had the mother serving dad and son saying something like: "It's Braised Kale with Kale Soup with Kale Chips, and you'll eat it and like it."

It's a great idea, but I think for us, going to the local farm stands is a better choice.

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Response to Tracer (Reply #27)

Tue Mar 25, 2014, 06:55 PM

31. 'Get a Vitamix and then you can have smoothies each morning with your greens

But, I find I need a banana in there for sweetness. That's not to local. Oh well.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Original post)

Tue Mar 25, 2014, 12:22 PM

29. I've joined several, always loved them

In the Boston area, there's even a community supported fishing fleet.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Original post)

Tue Mar 25, 2014, 12:25 PM

30. I'll be starting my 4th year with my CSA.

I found them through the link that you posted.

Mine is a partial share (plenty for 2 people) and it's $240 for 10 weeks. My farmer also grows organic and I've had so much fun learning how to cook vegetables that I've never eaten before. http://allrecipes.com/ has been my go-to site

Because of our mild weather, there is only a 1 month break. I can hardly wait for tomato season to begin!

He has 16 drop off locations in the Houston area if anyone is interested.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Original post)

Tue Mar 25, 2014, 07:18 PM

32. We are happy with Farm Fresh To You

Now, if we can just get them to pick-up and re-use the damn boxes we put out every night before delivery like they promised to do (delivery dude, get a flashlight!).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farm_Fresh_To_You

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Original post)

Tue Mar 25, 2014, 07:30 PM

33. Too bad the closest to me is 144 Miles

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