Yes, I said it. Thank God it’s Thursday. During the summer, Thursdays have a special meaning for me because it’s the day my CSA makes deliveries from the farm. It’s like Christmas every Thursday from early June until October when I open a box of fresh, organic vegetables. YUM! Here is a sampling of some the vegetables I received in one of my boxes earlier this summer:
Now some of you may be gong what? What is a CSA? CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and if you haven’t heard of it, please take some time and investigate it now. Most CSAs will have already sold their shares for this season, but it’s never too early to sign up for next year, right? LocalHarvest has some great information about CSAs and even has a tool to help you find a CSA near you.
So what do I like about being a member of a CSA? Where do I begin?
- I eat a MUCH healthier diet: Subscribing to a CSA gets you thinking about “what’s for dinner” totally differently. Rather than beginning with some protein and then maybe thinking about some side dishes, you start your planning with whatever is in your weekly box. Vegetables become the central part of planning vs. some afterthought. It’s amazing how this small change gets you eating so much healthier!
- I’m more connected to nature: It’s easy in today’s grocery driven food world to become totally out of sync with what eating local means. After all, there are very few varieties of produce that aren’t available 365 days a year. But eating local not only is good for the environment but reducing your carbon footprint, but it also is good for you since your eating “ultra-fresh” food picked exactly when it ready vs. days or weeks in advance.
- Exposes you to new and different foods: Do you feel like you’re in a food rut? I know I have. Subscribing to a CSA really helps you mix things up. The days of just a salad or some broccoli as a side will be long gone. For example, I have found that I LOVE greens (all types) and now with some help from recipes my CSA provides, I know how to cook them lots of different ways. With something new in your box every week, you will become much more adventurous with your veggies. And, if you find something you don’t like, you can always find a neighbor or a local food shelf that might love the vegetable you’re just not that crazy about.
- Develop a relationship with your farmer: This is my second year with my CSA, and I feel very connected to the farm and my farmer. From their weekly emails about happenings at the farm, to hearing the good, the bad and the ugly side of what the weather and mother nature can do to crops. It all makes me more educated about where my food comes from, and caring more about how it is grown.
So, if you want to eat healthier or you want to be kinder to our Earth, check out CSAs as a way of getting back to nature and improving your diet.